It's not as simple as profit and loss anymore. Business, meet your best new partner: the humanities.
Today's employers increasingly see the value of a broad, informed perspective in state-of-the-art education of future business leaders. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing, across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, forms a solid foundation on which to develop enterprise. Even more so, this has never been truer than in today's highly interconnected, globally-focused business environment.
History; languages; philosophy all fall into the category of humanities and correpond to the kind of human experience-oriented thinking that primes students for fields of business.
Employers value prospective hires who bring in collaboration skills that bridge cultures, as well as an ability to communicate across points of view and experiences. According to many employers, these are among the skills that mark attractive candidates not only because they support collaboration, but also cross-pollination of thought that has the potential for innovative approaches. The ability to think critically informs business practices that go way beyond crunching numbers. While business will always be about profit and loss, today's paradigm is built on much more than just the quantitative.
Click here to read about how one Canadian university is incorporating this newly-evolved perspective into their curriculum.
In 2017, increasing numbers of girls and students of color sitting for Advanced Placement Computer Science tests begin to close a gap reflecting which high schoolers pursue a computer science curriculum.
This trend appears to be emerging as a result of the recent introduction of the AP Computer Science Principles course, a broader approach to computer science that includes topics that go beyond a singular focus on computer programming language. While the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum includes language coding, it allows greater teacher flexibility as to which language(s) are introduced to students as well as broader applications in computer science, including how the internet works and database analysis. In contrast, AP Computer Science A places greater focus on Java programming.
To learn more about a growing trend toward new perspectives on science curricula taught in our high schools, READ MORE.
Aside from reading applications, one of the front-and-center responsibilities for admissions representatives is visiting high schools in their assigned regions. These folks ride the open roads and fly the friendly skies to promote their colleges across their respective territories -- and to gain a flavor of the high schools their applicants come from. Commonly, the most likely point of contact between students and college representatives is at junior and senior small group presentations at the local high school.
By attending a college presentation, students have the chance to directly ask college-related questions as well as learn more about new programs; what the school may require in the application process; scholarship or merit opportunities; and more.
Some high schools publish a broad schedule of representative visits well ahead of time, while others do so week by week. It's a student's responsibility to keep an eye on visit schedules, usually posted through the Guidance department, lest they miss a visiting rep and a potentially valuable opportunity to introduce themselves and learn more about the college. It is worth noting that at some high schools, students must adhere to a policy of requesting advance permission to leave class to attend a rep's info session and, realistically speaking, teachers may be unlikely to grant permission if there is in-class testing that day.
What if the student can only attend a portion of the session? Even if the student can only manage a five-minute "drive by," he can still demonstrate interest by introducing himself to the representative and requesting a business card. Not all colleges visit every high school of course, so a prospective applicant can always reach out to schools independently and initiate contact through a pertinent question or two.
Whether a student is just beginning to college shop or is just about ready to finalize her research, an intimate high school-centered presentation can bring helpful perspective to which college -- and why!
For the majority of high school students, writing college essays feels like a bit of a curse when in fact it truly presents a potential blessing-in-disguise. Why a blessing? Because the kind of writing that the admissions essay calls for, an engaging story that broadly invites students to portray who they are and how they tick, has the potential to bring the student "to life" in what often seems like an impersonal selection process.
If I may offer up a basic recipe for writing success, it starts with the writer choosing a topic they individually relate to.
Picking a good story is essential -- one that the writer is energized or moved to share. Engaging essays convey a sense of individual values or personal passion about a particular interest or a unique approach to a challenge -- almost any of wide-range of possible stories that convey a strong sense of the student. Add a scoop of personality, a dash of character, tossed with a sprinkle of personal insight, and seniors will have the winning ingredients for writing success.
It's also helpful to consider what to avoid in effective writing. A recent article in The New York Times hits the nail on the head (oops, overused expression!), adding more when it comes to approaches writers need steer clear of.
In the 2017-18 admissions cycle, students completing the Common App can expect to see a new feature that integrates the self-reporting of courses and grades.
There are seven colleges directing students to complete this section while still requiring, however, submission of a formal transcript from the high school.
Students must have access to their transcripts in order to provide requested information which includes: course name and level; grading period; credit hours; letter or numerical grade received.
As of now, the list of seven schools requesting self-reporting of courses and grades includes:
The George Washington University
New York School of Career & Applied Studies - Tuoro College and University System
The Ohio State University
The University of Southern California
West Virginia University
Once the calendar turns to August, gears begin to shift. Some students are just beginning to feel like they even have a summer, especially if they've been busy taking classes or involved in special projects. Others have been traveling or chilling during June or July, just now getting down to business in advancing their college process. And for those seniors (or super-ambitious juniors and recruited athletes) who are seeking another standardized testing opportunity before classes start anew, we now have the August SAT to think about.
One truth is for certain: Everyone spends summer on their own schedule, and one size surely never fits all! Topping off the stretches of a perfect summer break is about that special mix of downtime and "gettin' stuff done."
Looking for some productive ways to spend the next several weeks before classes begin? Here are some ideal suggestions for juniors and seniors:
1. Check out a few college websites. Identify a minimum of three desirable features of a school and keep track of these as time grows close to beginning applications.
2. Visit some colleges. Even though the summer vibe on most campuses will be less than energetic, there are still facilities to check out and college towns to explore. No doubt, campus visits make for the best approach to learn about a school.
3. Set goals for the school year to come. It's a helpful way to smooth the transition back to the classroom when students really think about what they need in order to make the upcoming school year a successful one.
4. Plan to become more involved in activities that truly hold appeal. Deepening involvement in a few activities vs. taking a shallow stab at many not only makes for a stronger story at the time of college application, but also works to grow the individual student. Follow what you love doing!
4. Read something. As students move through high school en route to higher education, the skill set that will work to their best advantage, no matter the area of study, includes improving and broadening their scope of reading. Read a book. Read a magazine. Read online. Read!
5. Follow the money. It's never too early for students and parents to think about financial aid and paying for college. Students and their families can learn about the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as well as scholarship-based assistance through search sites such as FastWeb.
There are few times as fleeting as the precious weeks of summer. Take the time to both enjoy and make them count!
It’s a scientific fact (well, not really — but yet I think you’ll still agree): Summer is the most fleeting season of the year. That’s because even though summer has the same number of calendar days as its three fellow sun-cycles, we define this time of the year by its long-awaited respite and big dose of freedom from the everyday demands of school life. For rising juniors and seniors, these months are well-earned and precious.
When students comment, “I’m so busy this summer — I have no time to…” I take that as code for: I need my downtime. Absolutely. You need downtime to refresh and recreate so you can get back in the saddle when school starts up again in the fall. But remember that no matter how full summer days are with a job or team practice, they will not be as busy or structured as when senior or junior year start up in full form.
Depending where you are in the college process, whether a rising college explorer or soon-to-be-applicant, there are several things you need to be doing —and accomplishing — during summer break:
+ Work on college essays. Steadily.
+ Prep for SAT or ACT — or at least take some diagnostic sample tests.
+ If expecting to test or re-test for subject tests in August, begin studying right away.
see prior blog post -- It’s Here: The August SAT
+ Accomplish AP summer prep work, as is necessary.
+ Begin to prepare your Common App — (and/or Coalition App; U of CA; or Apply Texas apps).
+ Get a good start on organizing a portfolio if applying to arts programs.
+ Be in touch with athletics coaches or admissions reps.
And there is one more to-do on the list: Get out into the sunshine and fresh air — or into the studio, lab, or workplace; plane; train or car. Play, work, socialize, day dream and enjoy summer in whatever ways you crave to refresh and rejuvenate before the calendar flips to September!
"They believe they can get more students to go to college and stay there by making high school harder."
It's a perfect marriage: opportunity coupled with access. One high school in Spokane, Washington is working hard to build bridges between their typically under-challenged, low-income student population and challenging courses that normally would fall outside of their academic plan.
Aside from building esteem through meeting the demands of harder classes and achieving academic success, high schoolers plant seeds that will support their preparation for learning and performance at at the college level.
Why Placing Students In Difficult High School Classes May Increase College Enrollment READ MORE
Photo Credit: Sarah Butrymowicz