#HateRead: Admissions, testing and the media

Back in 2016 I wrote about the media coverage of college admissions and testing issue. I’d taken to fisking articles on Twitter under the hashtag #hateread and thought I needed to provide a bit more explanation of that and nuance. I’m updating it now because, with all that’s going on (waves vaguely at the world), finding good information is getting harder. So here goes . . .

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Should You Take the SAT/ACT or Not?

For parents of 10th, 11th and 12th graders, the question of testing looms large (especially this fall as the test optional movement has really taken hold), so let me try to help you out and give you the lowdown to help you make decisions. I’m not going to do a detailed discussion of testing policy, overuse, misuse, or the like (that’s my day job and this is my side gig), rather I want parents to come away with the tools to make the 3 binary testing decisions on the road to college application:

  1. to prep for tests or not to prep
  2. to test or not to test
  3. to submit scores or not to submit

Also I might update this post like I do my College Admissions Resources post, so check back periodically.

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College Essay Trauma Porn

My sons make me hopeful about the future. My sons impress me with what they know and can do. My sons often surprise me. But most often my sons amuse me. Today, I share one of the amusements and surprises. My sons (Enid-Michele, my internet daughter wasn’t part of this so that’s why I’m not mentioning her.) have apparently been paying attention to pop culture and to my work. These boys, in 7th and 9th grades when this started, have been workshopping lines they claim are going into their college essays. They shared with me the beginnings of their joint effort: 

Growing up in the poorest borough of NYC, raised by a mother fighting addiction, and a father who couldn’t get a job.

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College Admissions Resources

I’ve recently been talking to a lot of friends about how to help their children in 9th – 11th get ready for college. I keep inefficiently sharing the same resources over and over again, so I finally wised up and am going to post my current favorite college admissions resources here. I’m listing mostly informational resources. If I list a blog that doesn’t mean I endorse or recommend the company’s services. 

This post will evolve over time (I’ve edited and added to it 6 times in the last 2 days) so feel free to check back periodically and see if there is anything new added.

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There is a lot to the college process so I’ll break this resource list into a few general categories:

1. Academic preparation

2. Financial planning

3. College Research

4. Admissions strategizing

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GRE: The One Test

Since the 1980s, Educational Testing Service (ETS), which dominated educational admission testing from 1940 – 1980, has been hemorrhaging product lines. In its heyday (SAT word) ETS was the Sauron to US education’s Middle Earth, providing admissions tests for the vast majority of professional certification programs and higher ed admissions.  Their services ranged from teacher certification exams to the SAT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT. In the last decade or so, ETS business strategy has changed and the organization has begun to aggressively market their most popular remaining assessment product, the Graduate Record Exam (commonly known by its initialism – GRE), as “the One Test to Assess Them All.” This strategic market grab, while an interesting business strategy, raises significant questions about all admission tests. Specifically, the expansion of the GRE into fields beyond its design should force responsible test users to reevaluate long-held assumptions about what information is being gained by requiring the GRE (and all its brethren) and at what cost.

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