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U Maryland defers the use of the coalition application for one year

The Coalition has been absolutely lousying at communicating. They hired a new execuative director. Nothing has changed. No newsletters. No press releases. The last press release was in October. Somewhere in there several artciles focused on who would actually be using the coalition application. The current number is 56. One quietly dropped out. No surpised. Many of us are skeptical that the platform will work properly. Three universities had planned to utalize only the coalition appliation. But University of Maryland quietly deferred starting to use it until Fall of 2017. 

Q: How can my student apply to the University of Maryland (UMD)?

Students seeking admission during the 2016-17 academic year should apply using our secure Application Portal. The application for freshman admission for the Fall 2017 semester will be made available in mid-August 2016.

Beginning in mid-August 2017, UMD will use the application provided by The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. This application should be used by students seeking freshman or transfer admission, or students seeking admission to the University of Maryland, College Park at Shady Grove.

As for the other two “exclusive” Coalition University: University of Florida states they are a proud member of the coalition, but offers no other details. University of Washington makes no mention of the coalition on thewebsite and states their application will open in October. 


Colleges for Twins

Got Twins?

Sure they are twice as much fun, and often twice the price, but it does not have to be that way when it comes to colleges. Twinversity offers up important considerations in the colleges search. Verywell offers a specific list of colleges offering discounts or scholarships for Twins



One For All: Scholarships for Multiples Who Attend the Same College

Generally, the available scholarship funding is offered when twins attend the same college.


Here are some colleges and universities with specific programs.

  • Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia. Offers a 15% discount on tuition when both twins are enrolled; the scholarship is renewable each year of enrollment. There is no application process; contact the financial aid department for further information. In 2008-2009, five sets of twins took advantage of the discount.
  • Sterling College, Sterling Kansas. Sterling College has had a Twin Scholarship program for 20 years or so. Each twin (or multiple births) students receives a 50% tuition scholarship. For 2009, that amount would be $9,000 for each twin. Both twins (or multiple births) must be enrolled full time at Sterling College and must meet admissions requirements of a 2.2 GPA and a score of 18 or above on the ACT.
  • Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Wilson College is another all-female school that offers an annual scholarship for twins and triplets. It will pay 45% of each student’s annual tuition. To be eligible, all of the female siblings must enroll full-time each semester. Each recipient must submit her enrollment deposit by May 1 in order to receive this scholarship. Awards are made on a first come, first-served basis.
  • Carl Albert State College, Poteau, Oklahoma. The Paula Nieto Twin Scholarship was established by her twin, Penny Nieto Gooch, and family friends. This cash scholarship is awarded to twins. In 2006, the amount was $200 to each student.
  • Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio. This full tuition scholarship (up to 18 credit hours per semester) is awarded 50/50 if both are enrolled full-time at Lake Erie College. In essence, both twins can attend LEC for the tuition cost of only one.



  • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College , Miami, Oklahoma. The Twin/Triplet Dorm Waiver covers the amount of semi-private room expenses for each twin or triplet who attend NEO together. It is available for both fall and spring semesters. Anapplication form is available online.
  • Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. The Layton Frazier McKinley Scholarship is given to twins with a preference given to identical twins. Twin students must have a 3.33-grade point average or higher with a first choice of accounting as their major at the school. The amount is unconfirmed.
  • Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Furlotte Twins Endowed Scholarship is for upperclassmen enrolled in the College of Education Elementary Education Program with a minimum 3.0 GPA that exhibits promise, creativity, and academic conscientiousness. Preference is given to twins.

Multiple Sibling Discounts

Even if a college or university does not have a specific scholarship fund or award designated for twins, they may have a sibling discount program.



These programs offer a discount when siblings from the same family are enrolled simultaneously. Amounts vary and may be a set discount (ex. $500 per semester) or a percentage of tuition (such as 10-50% off the cost of tuition).


  • Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut. Full-time, undergraduate siblings concurrently in attendance at Quinnipiac are eligible to receive an additional $2,000 award, per year, in addition to their regular financial aid award. This award is applicable toward tuition only and is renewable each year in which undergraduate eligible siblings are concurrently in attendance.
  • George Washington University, Washington D.C. Not just for twins, the family program at GWU offers a 50% discount for a second sibling. For more information about the Family Grant at GWU, contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 2121 I St., NW #310, Washington, DC 20052, (202) 994-6620 or (800) 222-6242.
  • California Baptist University, Riverside, California. The Multiple Sibling Discount is designed to assist students from families with two or more members who are simultaneously attending the traditional undergraduate program at the university on a full-time basis. Recipients must be immediate members of the same family (siblings or parents) in which two or more family members are currently enrolled at California Baptist University on a full-time basis. Recipients receive $500 per semester for the Spring and Fall semesters.

Some others from TwinStuff

  • Morris Brown College (web site) — Atlanta, GA
    • Provide some financial relief for parents with twins who are enrolled full-time at Morris Brown College by waiving full tuition for one of the twins. Each twin must maintain a 2.0 GPA at the end of each academic year. Tuition for 2002-03 was $4184 per semester.
  • Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College (web ?site) — 200 I Street NE, Miami, OK 74354
    Twins/Triplets must attend NEO together. Provides $440 for each twin/triplet each fall and spring for room expenses.

  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania  Bonnie Evans Feinberg Scholarship
    To an incoming first year student from a middle-class, multiple – sibling family who is a solid “b” or better student. Renewable with maintenance of a 3.0 gpa (awarded to one student only per year).

Stats, lies and distortions

Inc. in declared: “LinkedIn Reveals the Schools Desired by Top Companies” which led me to the original study by Withmydegree who stated they “Using LinkedIn, we took a look at the hiring trends for alumni from top colleges to learn more. ” Only their results reveal something entirely else. Yes many significant companies hire from top schools. In this graphic, the vast majority companies hire more than 50% of their workforce from not the top 100:

Facebook is an exception, hiring 50% from the top 10 colleges. Facebook has 13,598 employees as of March 31, 2016. USing linked in myself I determined that 1300 current employees came from the US News top 10. This works bout to about 10%. Hardly the 55% the chart shows. In fairness, the article does state new grads. My basic linked in account does not allow for that differentiation. Facebook had almost 12,000 employees as of 9/15/15. This suggest they hired about 1600 people this past year. The chart suggests 900 came from the top 11 schools (we have a tie in number 10). Zuck’s own “strategy” on hiring gives little insight: “So the Facebook CEO said that his team looks for people whose values align with the company’s. ”Facebook is not a company for everyone in the world,” he said.” Director of Product Design, Julia Zhou says:

Sometimes, designers without traditional training possess an ingenuity that you don’t usually see. We’re really just looking for people who have that element of extreme pro-activity. Even if they did go to a great school, they should have experience stretching themselves on projects both inside and outside of the classroom. Great candidates take the initiative to experiment, design and build on their own.


While the liberal arts rock, if you gain these skills, you will roll into the job market

While politicians decry the neccesity of the liberal arts, many business leaders see the inherint value in the soft skill development embedded within their approach. 
But developing those skills only gets you so far. Want to be more competitive for the job market and be rewarded for it? Add at least one of the skills sets from below:

Straight from the horse mouth

WHo shares insights straight from their admission officers and students?

  1. MIT Admission Blog–students and faculty. One of the oldest and still one of the best. 
  2. Tuft’s Inside Admissions
  3. Olin’s Admission Blog
  4. Babson’s Admission Blog
  5. Women who will blog–Wellesly
  6. Amherst admission blog
  7. Speaking of Princeton
  8. UPENN’s admission Blog
  9. SWATSTRUCK-Swarthmore
  10. Penn State’s admission blog
  11. Cornell University Admission Blog
  12. Access Juliard Blog
  13. Life at UB–SUNY Buffalo
  14. Oberlin admission blog
  15. Admissions @ Lawrence
  16. Siena’s Admission’s Blog
  17. UVA’s Notes from Peabody–one of the original’s and still one of the best
  18. William and Mary’s Admission Blog
  19. Marymount’s admission Blog
  20. Vanderbilt’s admission blog
  21. Georgia Tech’s admission Blog
  22. University of Georgia
  23. Rice Owl’s Admission Blog
  24. Tulane’s admission Blog
  25. University of Denver promises Real People, Real Stories
  26. Stanford’s admission blog
  27. Cal Berkeley’s Golden Bear Blog
  28. University of Southern California’s admission Blog
  29. Cal Tech’s As it happens
  30. Harvey Mudd admission Blog
  31. Pitzer unpeeled –perhaps the best named blog
  32. Whitman college admission blog
  33. University of Illinois’ admission Blog
  34. NorthWestern’s Admission Blog
  35. U Chicago’s uncommon admission blog
  36. Loyola Chicago’s Admission Blog
  37. DEpauw Admission blog
  38. U Michigan’s Admission Blog
  39. Kalamazoo’s admission blog
  40. Carelton’s admission blog
  41. Experience Iowa‘s admission blog
  42. Luther College Admission blog
  43. Univeirsity of Nore Dame’s admission Blog

Not specific to a university:






Sports scholarships

Wow, this looks cool: Look up who gives scholarships for which sports.  

For example, here is golf. 

1,328 schools sponsored varsity level Golf teams during 2014:
                Athletic Scholarships Average Athletic  
  Number Number of teams Varsity Athletes (1) Average team size limit per team ** Scholarship (2)
Division  of Schools Men’s Women’s    Men       Women  Men’s Women’s    Men       Women     Men       Women 
NCAA I               319               300              263               2,988               2,242            10              9                4.5                    6  $        14,234  $        15,373
NCAA II               248               231              181               2,431               1,416            11              8                3.6                5.4  $          5,770  $          7,024
NCAA III               311               293              184               3,180               1,424            11              8                     -                     -  $                   -  $                   -
NAIA                177               170              146               1,695               1,065            10              7                    5                    5  $          6,529  $          7,084
NJCAA               193               189                54               1,423                  267              8              5                    8                    8  $          1,800  $          2,170
Other Divisions                  80                 73                40                  575                  224              8              6                     -                     -  $              332  $              446
Totals            1,328           1,256              868            12,292               6,638            10              8      $          5,675  $          6,319

Coalition app essays are here and the world rejoices

The Coalition quietly released essay topics this week. So, unless you were a student who checked on the student page every day, you would not know it. So much for signing up for notices…They want students to get a head start on it and helpful suggest they can even save it to the locker…only that does not yet exist. Without further adieu, here is what the Coalition wants to know about you:


The prompts for the 2016-17 application year are:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Good topics?

  • Well, number 5 is a return to what the common app had for years. 
  • Number 4 makes me wonder how a teen will answer it. It is not like they have been teenagers in another time. 
  • Number 3 seems a flip on the common app prompt number 3.
  • Number 1 and especially 2 seem to tip the hat to the Turning the Tide Report  

The language of the Coalition is a lot more direct than the Common app. Each essay topic average 19 words each whereas The Common app prompts clock an average 33 words each. While the common app clearly states a maximum of 650 words, the coalition has not defined how long the ssays should be and which of their 93 members will require it…



Advice on UCAS Personal statement

One group is finishing their process, a new group is beginning. And hopefully they will not begin the same way as so many others:

Of over 700,000 candidates who applied to university last year 1,779 began their personal statement: “From a young age I have (always) been..” and most of these continued “interested in” or “fascinated by”.

“For as long as I can remember I have…” was used by 1,451 applicants

“I am applying for this course because…” by 1,370 applicants

“I have always been interested in…” (927)

“Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…” (310)

“Reflecting on my educational experiences…” (257)

“Nursing is a very challenging and demanding (career/ profession/ course)… (211)

“Academically, I have always been…” (168)

“I have always wanted to pursue a career in…” (160)

“I have always been passionate about…” (160).

UCAS released these top 10 lines in hopes the list “would encourage students to use language that makes them stand out in their personal statements.”

“Go beyond school” Urges Woz

Steve Wozniak has sage advice for all people, but especially for teens. 

“But even in school, if you love something like mathematics, instead of working the assigned problems, do all the other ones too. Just decide, this is something I really love in life. I’m going to go a little further than school wants me to.”

And Mentors:

“They looked at things I could do and saw the things that I liked and wanted to do but were outside of the normal school,” he said. “Look for mentors that want to help you in other places in life and take advantage of it when you can. Don’t turn down something that’s given to you.”

Game changer? And other unanswered questions about the Coalition Application

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success has launched…almost…any day now. Like a freshman telling his history teacher that he will turn his term paper, just as soon as he finishes his bibliography, the coalition keeps hinting that a really great thing is coming.

 After following the various news stories and trying to guess both what the coalition is and why it might be important, I wonder if  I can just ignore it for a year. Tantalizing tidbits emerged. The mantra of increasing access for poor teens is clearly a noble one. So what if Amherst, Rice, Stanford, Davidson and Ponoma have already shown us they can do this with the existing application. In fact those five schools are so good at it they are vying for a million dollars.  

While all five are inaugural members, one wonders how putting another platform in front of students helps decrease the stress? The common app has already increased the number of colleges a typical student is applying to. The percentage of students submitting seven or more applications has risen from nine percent to 22 percent since 1990. The common app actually limits a student to twenty. The Coalition has no limits. While virtually all the colleges in the coalition will take an application fee waiver, they have not actually designed one for the students. But, you know, there is still time.


Don’t worry. It will be ready. Along with the application essays. Wait? There will be different essays than the common app? Anyone? Hello?



So it looks like, just maybe, there will be different essays. So we are simplifying the college process by increasing what they write? Wait a minute…not quite fair. Because you see some colleges may decide not to ask for an essay…or an extra essay (Am I really the only one that is having trouble following this?). Instead they could say send us a video from your lockers. Or a grader writing sample (like that freshman term paper that you got in 6 days late). Or you playing the bagpipes because nothing says I am college material like I play the bagpies.




They give college scholarships for this?


You see this is all in their 50 Gig locker that every kid gets for free. 50 Gigs? Seriously? That’s like 25,000 songs. Or 10 movies.  Not that we are condoning file sharing. Just what are they thinking kids will be putting in this thing? Well they said graded writing samples. This document is currently 1 MB, including the cartoons. That means I could save this like 50 thousand times. Oh I probably need space for my bagpiping video. I mean I could just put it on Youtube for free and entertain the world at the same time, but I get it. You want me to post work I am most proud? Work that shows my development as a student. Seriously, that ten grade Rolaids lab in Chemistry will help you understand me better as a a humanities candidate? My 9 grade Julius Cesar test I aced will showcase how I get the bard? Perhaps the pastel of the fox I did as a freshman art would be  a good thing? I mean both my mom liked it and the principal wanted to buy it (his nick name was the fox—mom won for some reason, crushing my professional artist dreams).

And I get to share. Unless they ask me to share in which case…And I can share it with anybody and my nosy counselor has no idea who I am sharing it with. I mean my private agent/ ghost artist needs freedom to create, right? And of course my counselor is so excited about uploading her letter of rec and my transcript to my locker so I can send it…to as many (well 90) colleges. Take that application limits. Application limits are so un-American. I mean how can a college tell they are getting better unless they can deny reject, waitlist more students. And  of course the counselor cannot see my resume in which I may have embellished my accomplishments—everyone does it right? Thank good ness they are not making the college counselors verify anything I am submitting. That may work for the British, but not us Americans.

In fairness, the Coalition is partially aimed at overworked counselors with huge caseloads. Not the 8500 schools already using Naviance (which may sort of work with Version 1.0…or not). It allows counselors to track their students, much like Naviance, well at least for the 90 schools, not the thousands. But naviance costs a lot of money and the Coalition is free, like the common app is free. But the coalition has the locker, which is also free like Goggle docs is free.

The college admission folks who are in the know are far more excited about the locker than any counselor I know. Clearly they understand that it will house tools that will transform counseling. Essay writing help? Career development tools? Financial literacy? Goal setting? Self awareness? SAT/ACT prep? Well this is version 1.0. Perhaps in version 2. Actually, it is not really version 1.0. It is not even Beta. It is conceptual…or perhaps private beta. Apparently 65 counselors are involved in advising, so we counselor should not worry too much. Even though we are worried…161 have signed a petition calling for more details and a proper beta test, carefully studied before releasing.


Some have noted that the driving forces in admission are idealistic, which is wonderful.

Clearly they are designing the application system they believe will work for them. They got burned badly by the common app’s redesign. They really should have complained to…themselves. After all, the common app is a membership organization. The fact that the board and executive director were not particularly responsive. So now they have taken their ball and gone to play a new game. One they are making the rules to as they go along, but don’t worry counselors, we will let you know, in plenty of time, like in August. You know when the kids are starting their applications. And you can play with the locker in April. Oh, wait it is April. Well not early April…or mid April…Late April.

And feel free to ask questions to someone, somewhere. We will answer them. Sometime. Maybe.

I have asked the questions and I am waiting. Will Dix asked the questions and is waiting. Hamilton Gregg asked the questions (and he was a panelist on webinar).

Want to improve access colleges? Hire more people from poor backgrounds:

Support initiatives like University of Southern California’s College Advising Corps

My questions, some of which are starting to be answered

  1. Will the coalition app talk with naviance? Please say yes. Many of us?our wedding to Naviance as it helps with our workflow. If kept separate it?adds one more element. Parchment is the same back bone of Naviance edocs. 
  2. What security measures are in place to certify schools? I worry that?someone could clone my school and submit documents fabricated to look like?my school. Unless there is a control built in, it will happen. It sounds like Parchment knows?
  3.  I am unclear of parental access and controls? Can parents see the kids?stuff? Can they add stuff?
  4. I am concerned that the search function focuses on the same narrow?lines that too many other existing services (Size, location, Major). Is a tool being developed that would actually help kids narrow down what sort of experience they want to have?
  5. Is the coalition app open to non us citizens? Sounds like yes. 
  6. Drop box is blocked in China. Will the coalition website work in countries such as China? How is this being checked? Not just China but other firewall countries like Iran, Venezuela etc. 
  7. How about test prep linkage? At least the SAT and ACT question of the?days. Many of the coalition applications require testing. Seems like if?your aim is to make it all accessible, then better take care of all parts.
  8. What about supplementary parts of the app like Slideroom for artist? Does this replace that?
  9. You showed a SAT range. Is this common data set information? While that is useful it is even more useful to have specific school information. 
  10.  will the essay prompts be the same or different that common app?
  11. is the coalition app asking about disciplinary infractions?
  12. When specifically can we see the application—especially what questions you are asking?
  13. Can a student use the locker and share with colleges but apply via common app?

College admissions is not as much broken as it is conflicted. Get more poor kids into elite higher education slots, but keep the Alumni happy. Find the best and brightest, but make sure we have a winning football and basketball team. Challenge kids to take a rigourous course load, but not that rigourous. To contribute to their communities authentically and show us you mean it so we can value it, but perhaps not as much as your SAT and ACT scores, even if those are flawed. But above all else, get them to apply

If the coalition for application stress must go forward, I offer some solutions:

  1. Have an opt in button for schools that want to take a more active roll in supporting the student in their process. I imagine this would work like the UCAS system. Kids can apply one of two ways: Through a center or through their own means. I, as a school, can become a center by filling in some details. This would also solve the problem of fake schools. Now the bosuness from the college standpoint is I can actually see what the kid sends you. We have even take it a step further and have me, as school counselor, validate the claims the student makes. This would go a long way in fixing the system. For overworked school counselors, they can opt out and the system can be used as the admission folks currently conceive it.
  2. Limit the number of applications. Force the choice up front. Loading up shotguns is not helpful. Both the UK and Korean strictly limit the number of colleges a student can apply to. While I think 10 is more than enough, some might feel a little more room is needed. Fine. 90 is too many. And under the present system, this does not stop the kid from applying to 20 more common app schools and a whole bunch of other places that use their own system. The UK even takes it a step further and only allows a students to apply to one of two elite universities (Oxford and Cambridge).
  3. Six months is what is needed minimum for proper lead time for schools to work with this. Ideally a year. Coalition you are taking the exact same plays from the common app that you so detested. Some call it arrogance.  So why not do this: Release the locker now. Release that application in a year. Scale it. Perhaps the three Coalition app exclusive users become the beta testers.
  4. Develop a more robust college search engine. I bet the search engine is the same as everything else out there. It focuses on misbegotten elements we now lump together with fit. This system needs to focus on values. Why do you want a alrge college? How will be in a city serve you?
  5. Get strategic partnerships embedded into this system. Specifically:

a.     Test preparation

b.     Self discovery tools Like the Values in Action Character assessment tool.

c.      Career development tools.

d.     Essay writing tutorials and support. What is all 90 colleges committed to finding 100 students on their campus to provide, for free, essay feedback through the system. Say 40 hours each. That’s 360,000 hours of real help.

Now that would actually improve success. As for affordaibility…that is a whole other issue.