When Community College Is Free

Does free community college work? An experiment in Chicago suggests that the answer is yes. Two years ago, under a program called the Star Scholarship, Chicago began to offer free community college to all public high school graduates who earned a B average or higher and demonstrated near college-level proficiency in their work.

Since the program was created by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, roughly 1,000 students a year — about 5 percent of each Chicago Public Schools graduating class — have claimed their reward...The early results of this initiative have been incredibly encouraging. 

Will You Sprint, Stroll or Stumble Into a Career? (NY Times)

Colleges have attempted to make the four-year experience more predictable by adding a bevy of advising services and amenities so that essentially everything is done for students to ensure they graduate on time and secure a job afterward. But they also prevent students from building the resilience they will need as adults to manage risk and succeed in unpredictable careers.

What The People Who Read Your College Application Really Think - NPR

It's college application season, again. To a lot of students, the process seems wrapped in a shroud of mystery. What exactly happens when you send your application out into the unknown only to ... wait? Well, here's a glimpse behind the curtain at one school.

Hey Students, Applying For College Aid Is Easier! (But Still Hard) - NPR

When the Obama administration announced "an easier, earlier FAFSA" last year, prospective college students (and their parents) cheered. And it is both. So why do many students still have trouble finishing the FAFSA?

Those Hidden College Fees (NY Times)

The parade of fees on college campuses never seems to end. There are extra charges to start college, such as orientation fees and freshman fees, and extra charges to finish, such as senior fees and commencement fees. Since 1999, mandatory fees have risen 30 percent more than tuition has, said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor at Seton Hall University who has studied the issue. The average fee at four-year public colleges was almost $1,700 in 2015-16. That’s nearly 20 percent of the tuition and fee average.

Investor's Guide To College Admissions: 10 Undervalued 'Buys'

In many respects, college admission is a classic case of momentum investing. Everyone chases the same schools, which become harder to get into and more expensive each year. But why not consider “hot colleges in the making” under innovative management?

One way to write a great college admissions essay? Tell your story out loud. (WA Post)

Most application essays aren’t memorable, admissions experts say. A few are so awful they stand out. And some are so powerful that they change a student’s chance of acceptance, or help win scholarships.

Advice College Admissions Officers Give Their Own Kids (NY Times)

Admissions officers tell their own children that high school is far more than just a pathway to college — it’s a time for maturation, self-discovery, learning and fun. They encourage their teens to embrace activities and courses that reflect who they genuinely are, not who they think colleges want them to be. The NYTimes interviewed admissions officers, who all emphasized the importance of their child finding a college that fits, not the other way around; here is their advice. 

Common App’s New Leader Ponders College Access — and Holographic Video Interviews (Chronicle)

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The Chronicle caught up with Ms. Rickard, now vice president for enrollment at the University of Puget Sound, in Washington state, to ask about her plans for the nonprofit organization behind the widely used admissions-application platform.