What Colleges Want in an Applicant (NY Times)

The debate about who gets into the nation’s competitive colleges, and why, keeps boiling over.  And the admissions process isn’t fair. Like it or not, colleges aren’t looking to reel in the greatest number of straight-A students who’ve taken seven or more AP courses. A rejection isn’t really about you; it’s about a maddening mishmash of competing objectives.

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.