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Weekly College Admissions News Roundup, Aug. 24-28

Fri, Aug 28, 2015 @ 10:28 AM

College Admissions NewsSurvey Finds Many Parents Unaware of SAT Changes Coming in 2016, 2015 ACT Scores See Little Improvement

August is wrapping up, and soon high school students across the country will all be back in the classroom – with many kicking their college application efforts into high gear. There’s a lot that happens around back to school time, and we’re here to help you stay informed on the latest college admissions news.
 
While staying up-to-date on the latest higher education news is important for college bound high school seniors, it’s also critical for high school juniors to stay informed as they start their last year before they, too, have to apply to college. There are some big changes coming in 2016 that will directly impact juniors and their college admissions experience.
 
At IvyWise, we try to make staying informed easier by bringing families the latest admissions news every Friday.
 
Here are some of the top stories in college admissions and higher education news from this past week.

  1. A survey by Kaplan Test Prep released this week found that “85% of parents of college-bound students are still unaware that the SAT is changing, even after two years since the change was announced and less than seven months before the new SAT launches in March 2016.” This is big news, as the test is undergoing a major overhaul and parents and students need to be prepared. If you’re not informed about the 2016 SAT changes, here’s our guide “Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT.”
  2. The ACT has released data for 2015, and scores were flat, with an average composite score of 21, the same as last year. Every section saw a gain of 0.1 point, except math, which saw a decline of 0.1 point.
  3. The Common Application announced this week that it would be rolling out a new website design. The new homepage, which is live now, has new resources, a new login location, and more. While the Common Application itself isn’t changing in form or function, it will be a noticeable change when students go to login to their accounts.
  4. The University of Pennsylvania has a new name for its financial aid policy. While nothing about the policy is actually changing, it will now be called “all-grant” as opposed to “no loan.”
  5. Every student has that “likely” school that he or she is applying to as a fallback. This is a mistake. Dr. Kat gives some insight into “likely” colleges on your college list and why they’re just as important as your target and reach schools.
  6. Now that the SAT is making the writing portion of the exam optional in 2016, many colleges are debating on whether to require it for admission. Specifically, the Ivy Leagues are divided on whether or not it should be require for applicants to submit when applying.
  7. The popularity and accessibility of MOOCs has attracted a new crop of high school students looking to impress college admissions officers. Do MOOCs really improve your chances of admission? Dr. Kat and some directors of admission at some of the country’s top colleges provide some insight in this piece for The New York Times.
  8. A report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers released this week found that that tuition discount rates at private college and universities are at an all-time high, with an average discount rate of 48 percent for freshmen in 2014.
  9. One college is trying to ensure the success of low-income students by providing an app that turns the college experience into a game. Students earn points for participating in certain campus initiatives and resources, which can be used for purchases at the bookstore a campus Starbucks.
Were you unaware of the SAT changes coming in 2016? What do you think of the Common Application's new website? Tell us in the comments below!
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