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5 Big Announcements in College Admissions So Far This Year

It has been a busy start to 2022 in the field of college admissions. It's only been a month into the new year and there have already been major announcements from the U.S. Supreme Court to the struggling testing giant, the College Board.

These court and policy decisions will have a lasting impact on the next generation of college-bound students. Here is what you need to know and how this will affect you:

1. The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the affirmative action cases against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. 

The plaintiff, Students for Fair Admission, argues that Asian American students have been discriminated against in the admissions process. I saw this with my own eyes when I worked for an Ivy League university. Asian Americans were held to the highest standards when it came to their high school records, test scores, and other pieces of the application. 
However, if affirmative action is found to be unconstitutional, colleges will not be able to factor race into the admissions process—even when it's done with good and pure intentions. That may lead to a sharp decline in the number of Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans being admitted to elite colleges. Higher education is supposed to symbolize opportunity for all. Yet someone or some group is always being limited, kept out, or discriminated against. No group is off-limits and that tells me the field of college admissions has a lot of work to do in order to make this process fair. 

2. The Coalition Application will join forces with the college counseling platform SCOIR. 

Several years ago, the Coalition Application was created by a group of deans of admission as an alternative to the Common Application. To be honest, it never quite took off. There are only 162 colleges that accept the Coalition App compared to over 900 colleges that use the Common App. 
The Coalition App needed a lifeline and they astutely picked a rising star to partner with. There are limited details on how this will work. It appears that if a student attends a high school that uses the SCOIR software, the new partnership will allow a more streamlined approach for them and their letter-writers to submit materials to member colleges.
It used to be that Naviance was the only game in town when it came to college counseling platforms. But over the years, many high schools have ended contracts with Naviance in order to implement cheaper alternatives like SCOIR. We will have to wait and see if the Coalition App finally takes off. For now, it looks like they "scored."

3. Speaking of applications, Common App just announced that the prompts for the main college essay for 2022-2023 will stay the same as this past year.

I am never fazed by this, though. The truth is that these prompts (whatever they are) are so incredibly open-ended that any topic a student chooses to write about will match up to one of the options. However, it is nice to know that some things aren't changing for this coming year!

4. The biggest news of 2022 comes from the College Board who oversees the SAT.

Starting in 2024, the SAT will be digital and an hour shorter than the current test. I wrote last week's blog about the changes afoot. A lot can happen in two years, though. By then, standardized tests may no longer be necessary for many students given the number of test-optional colleges.

5. Finally, there was news out of Michigan last week as 58 high school seniors were notified in error that they received a full merit scholarship from Central Michigan University.

Every year there is at least one college that sends out the wrong decision letter to a group of applicants. It is usually an acceptance letter to students who had already been denied or should be denied. These colleges only apologize. They never own it and absorb the mistake like CMU did. CMU's mistake was an expensive one, but the fact that the university still offered students a "full-ride" might be a positive sign that some colleges are willing to do the right thing.

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Applying to college is one of the most complex processes any individual will face in their lifetime. Policies are changing every single day. While I don't agree with all of them, it is my goal to sift through the jargon and make sure families understand how it will impact them. If the first month of 2022 is any indication of what is to come, I anticipate more changes. Count on me to have something to say about it.