Can Too Much Praise Hurt Chances for College Admission? (College Basics)

New studies indicate there is backlash to praise of student achievement and intellect. The old philosophy was that high praise equaled high achievement. The reason–if students felt confident, they would be more able to learn and compete. Unfortunately, although this approach has been practiced for decade, we are not seeing much academic growth. In 2006 the Brown Center on Education Policy Report revealed U.S eighth graders did only middling well on their math scores compared to their counterparts around the world but had high confidence in their mathematical ability. The question arose, why would these children work harder to improve their skills?

Read the article for more insights on the results of high confidence on academic success.

Liberal Arts Colleges Where the Most Accepted Students Enroll (US News)

Students may spend weeks, months or years stressing over which college to attend.

Many colleges stress over the same thing, working to maximize the percentage of accepted students who decide to enroll.

This figure is called yield, and a higher percentage can indicate a more desirable school for admitted students. ​

Among the 223 ranked National Liberal Arts Colleges reporting yield data to U.S. News, the average percentage of admitted students who enrolled in fall 2013 was 29.2 percent. These colleges award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts.

When it came to individual colleges, yield ranged from 85.2 percent at the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy to 5.9 percent at The King’s College in New York.  ​

Another service academy, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado, which is also ranked among National Liberal Arts Colleges, reported a high yield rate as well. Of the 1,486 students accepted, 77.7 percent chose to enroll.

Read Susannah Snider’s article for the list of liberal arts schools where the most students enroll

High, low or in between? What your student’s PSAT score means (University Parent)

Later this month, PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) results will arrive at high schools across the country. Some 3.5 million students — including virtually every high school junior — sat for the same PSAT exam last October.

The arrival of PSAT test results is a start-your-engine moment for juniors in the run up to applying for college. While they have no bearing on next year’s college applications per se, the results of this colossal test provide a comparative reference no other pre-college assessment can touch.

That said, the importance of the PSAT can be overplayed, pulling us parents into a reactionary mode we almost always regret. As with all steps in the college application process, a measured and realistic response garners best results. High, low or in between, your student’s score is no reason to pile on stress. It’s also no time for a “so-what” way of thinking.

Read Robin Nobel’s article for more about what your student’s PSAT score means.

How to prep for the SAT and ACT for little or no money (Market Watch)

Sure, the cost of higher education keeps getting, well, higher, with a private college now running more than $40,000 for tuition and room and board per year. But there’s one related expense that may actually be getting more affordable.

Namely, the price of prepping for the SAT, ACT and other college-entrance exams.

Today, students have plenty of affordable — and even free — options when it comes to perfecting their test-taking strategies or simply picking up a few more key vocabulary words. Begin with homegrown websites, such as The Critical Reader andEriktheRed, which provide help at little to no charge. Add to that major test-prep companies, such as The Princeton Review and Kaplan Test Prep, which offer cheaper ($50 and under) printed and online training tools for motivated students who may not need the structure and support of classroom coaching.

New lower-cost options even abound for those who want the most personalized attention, as in one-on-one tutoring. ArborBridge, a California-based tutoring company, has just introduced truePrep, a service offering private SAT coaching for $75 an hour. By contrast, some companies and individual tutors charge hourly rates of $300-plus for private instruction.

Read Charles Passy’s article for affordable ways to prep for standardized tests

Going to a public college isn’t as affordable as it used to be (The Washington Post)

Michael Bayne has done everything you’re supposed to do to avoid taking on too much debt for college. He lives off-campus to save money on housing. He’s always working at least one job — sometimes two. And he enrolled as an in-state student at a public school, Arizona State University.

But it’s not nearly enough. The $2,500 in grants Bayne received this semester covered less than half of his tuition at ASU. A decade ago, the same amount of aid would have been enough to pay his entire bill.

“My parents don’t have money to help me, so to help pay for tuition, pay for books, pay for everything, I work a full-time job,” he said. “And I still have $17,000 in student loans.”

It used to be that students such as Bayne could attend a public university and graduate with little or no debt. Then came the recession, when state governments slashed funding of higher education and families began paying higher tuition bills.

Now, even as the economy ­recovers and taxpayer revenue is pouring back in, states have not restored their funding, and tuition keeps rising, leaving parents and students scrambling to cover costs.

Read Danielle Douglas-Gabriel’s article for more  about the realities of public college costs

9 Unique College Grants and Scholarships For Prospective Students (Main St)

With education fees at record highs and outstanding student loan debt topping $1.2 trillion nationwide, prospective students are staring down the barrel of burdensome college debt. Sure, President Obama’s recent goal to make community college free for all students and his college ranking system based on affordability and ROI are steps in the right direction. But  free tuition, or even tuition assistance, would be an immeasurable gift for many. As such, it’s the responsibility to those in school or getting set to matriculate to apply for opportunities that will lessen the financial blow of a college education.

“Scholarships reduce the student’s debt and work burden,” says Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president at Edvisors and author of multiple books on college planning.

Of course, scholarships and grants can also help ensure a successful college career in the first place.

“Scholarships also increase college enrollment and graduation rates,” Kantrowitz added.

Unfortunately, many students who are currently enrolled in college or are planning to attend soon are unaware of all of the scholarship and grant opportunities that exist across the board. While many scholarships require a solid grade-point average to qualify, and some grants are particular toward certain income amounts or club affiliations, there are quite a few others in existence with different requirements that practically go unnoticed. Even if a grant a grant is relatively modest, that money is sure to come in handy when it’s time to buy books or tackle living expenses for the semester.

Read Ciara Larkin’s article for 9 grants and scholarships to see if you qualify


How to Talk to Your Parents About Paying for College (Her Campus)

The time has finally come. After touring countless college campuses, spending hours writing your application essays and waiting anxiously for those acceptance letters, there’s only one thing left to do: have “the money talk” with your ‘rents. Although talking about how you’re going to pay for college with your family may be awkward, it’s an important part of the college process that too many high school students overlook. Luckily, we’ve talked to collegiettes and experts alike and broken it down for you step-by-step!

Paying for college is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. As pre-collegiettes, it can be hard to navigate financial terms, paperwork and other important information when you haven’t had to deal with it before. Even if you’re planning on paying for college on your own, your parents can serve as a valuable resource to guide you through the financial process. However, you’ll never know what advice or input they have to offer if you don’t ask.

Read Brianna Susnak’s article for advice on how to talk to your parents about paying for college