College Admissions News Roundup

  • How to Read US News Rankings- An article in The Washington Post breaks down the many differences between this year and last year’s US News college rankings.  But the bottom line is there weren’t too many major changes, other than five colleges tying for 5th place. A piece in The New York Times tries to access the best way to utilize the US News rankings. The NYT article firstly warns readers never to take the rankings too seriously.  The most useful way to use the rankings, according to Reider, co-author of the guidebook, “Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College,” is to look at the characteristics you want in a school. If you like the characteristics at a top-ranked school like Penn, look for Penn-like schools with the same characteristics. Bottom line: First decide what’s important to you in a school, and then use the data in the rankings (not the rankings themselves) to choose where to apply.
  • Plummeting SAT Scores and Other Negative Trends- Inside Higher Ed looks at the truth behind why SAT scores plummeted this year. Unfortunately, the data shows that lower scores are connected to the increasing divide in students’ test scores based on race and ethnicity.
  • Penn Bounces Back with $1 Billion Return- The Daily Pennsylvania announces that its endowment return in 2011 was 18.6%. This means Penn’s total endowment is valued at $6.58 billion, a 16% increase from last year’s endowment, which totaled $5.67 billion.
  • Growing Divide Between Haves and Have-Not Colleges- The New York Times looks at the report, “Trends in College Spending,” which reveals that the gap between public and private colleges is growing. While private universities have increased their education-related spending over the past ten years by thousands, public community colleges’ spending has remained almost flat.
  • No More Overpaying: The 4-Year Degree Guarantee- The New York Times reports on a new agreement an increasing number of colleges are signing with students—if the students are diligent workers and meet with their advisors, the college promises them that they will not have to pay for more than four years of college.  If for some reason a student takes longer due to courses not being available or circumstances within the college’s control, the college will cover the cost of completing the degree.