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A weekly podcast for parents and high school students about the world of college, brought to you by Policy Studies in Education.




Episode 131: College Admission Testing, One More Time

We are in the third week of our new series, Researching College Options, and we are going to talk today about a topic that is unavoidable. It is a topic that we have talked about on several episodes of USACollegeChat and one that we have written about in both of our books for high school students and their parents. The topic is college admission testing--that is, the SAT and the ACT. Parents, if you have a smart kid who is applying to top-tier colleges, then this episode is especially...

Duration: 00:31:09

Episode 130: Opening Your Eyes About College Options

We are in the second week of our new series, Researching College Options. Now that it’s August and high school students in some parts of the country will actually be returning to school this month for their senior year, it’s time to get to work. So, for this new series, we are going to be talking directly to you, parents of high school seniors. Hang on because it can be a bumpy ride. In this episode, we are going to read you some excerpts from what we call Step 1 in our new book, How To...

Duration: 00:26:40

Episode 129: What You Don’t Know About Colleges

It’s getting serious now. It’s almost August, and kids who are headed off to their senior year in high school are realizing that it is time to get moving on investigating college options more thoroughly. There are a hundred things we would like to tell you and your senior about that and just as many pieces of advice we would like to give you two. In fact, we will do a lot of that in this new series that we are starting today and that we like to call Researching College Options. But in this...

Duration: 00:27:08

Episode 128: College Enrollment in Decline?

Today’s episode is going to be the final one of our Colleges in the Spotlight series because next week we are really getting down to the serious work of getting our rising high school seniors ready to apply to colleges. So, as we leave Colleges in the Spotlight, we want to take a look at a news story that might just be bringing good news to some of you. The story, which ran in The Hechinger Report and in The Washington Post at the end of June, was entitled “Universities and colleges...

Duration: 00:19:23

Episode 127: Private Colleges for Low-Income Students?

Welcome back from the Fourth of July break! This episode is going to be the next-to-last one in our Colleges in the Spotlight series because very soon we have to get down to the serious work of where our new crop of high school seniors should be applying to college. So, today we want to take a look at a population that we don’t focus on as much as we might--that is, low-income students who live in rural areas. Although we are based in New York City, we do try hard to look at colleges and...

Duration: 00:22:11

USACC 126: Colleges That Are Successful at Delivering Needed Career Skills

Today’s episode of our Colleges in the Spotlight series takes what our regular listeners will recognize as a surprising turn. You all may recall the many times we have championed the liberal arts as a great way for undergraduates to spend at least two--if not four--years. We have quoted many dignitaries from college presidents to elected Congressional leaders about the merits of liberal arts study. Let me be the first to say that I am not backing down on that. On the other hand, let me...

Duration: 00:21:23

Episode 125: Colleges Serving First-Generation-to-College Students

Welcome back to our Colleges in the Spotlight series. Last week, we focused on Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)--where the campus student population must be at least 25 percent Latino, with more than half financially needy--and the good work that they have been doing to smooth the way for Latino/Latina students, many of whom are the first generation in their families to attend college. Kudos again to UC Irvine for its excellent programs and services for Latino/Latina...

Duration: 00:17:43

Episode 124: An Exemplary Hispanic Serving Institution for New College Students

For the past two weeks in our Colleges in the Spotlight series, we have looked at colleges outside the U.S. and at the pluses (and almost no minuses) of attending college full time outside the U.S. In Episode 122, we spotlighted Richmond, the American International University in London, a unique and appealing university dually accredited in the U.S. and the U.K. In Episode 123, we stayed just a little closer to home and looked at an array of outstanding universities in Canada—specifically,...

Duration: 00:26:12

Episode 123: A New Look at Colleges North of the Border

Last week in our Colleges in the Spotlight series, we took you to the U.K. to consider what it might be like to attend college full time outside the U.S. We looked specifically at Richmond, the American International University in London, a unique university dually accredited in the U.S. and the U.K. We hoped that taking a close look at Richmond--and, more generally, at the value of full-time study at universities abroad--might persuade some of you to leave your geographic comfort...

Duration: 00:19:25

Episode 122: A Truly American International University

Before we start today’s episode, which will take us abroad, let us remind you to rush out right now and get our new book if you have a junior at home (and even if you have a freshman or sophomore). That’s “rush out right now” figuratively speaking, because the book is available at amazon.com, so there is no need to leave home to get it. But why now? Because using the book is a perfect way for your teenager to spend some time this summer--that is, researching colleges of interest to him or...

Duration: 00:23:57

USACC 121: No Harvard for You!

Today in our current series, Colleges in the Spotlight, we want to look at a great article published in The New York Times by an award-winning journalist writing a very personal piece. Although the title of our episode is “No Harvard for You,” it is really about many colleges a lot like Harvard--highly selective, prestigious, private colleges, which have disappointed a lot of kids this March and April. This is an unusual perspective and a memorable one. Special thanks to my friend, Regina...

Duration: 00:17:48

Episode 120: Lots of College Options in Our New Workbook

Today, we have figured out a way to talk both about our new book--How To Explore Your College Options: A Workbook for High School Students--and to make good on the title of our current series, Colleges in the Spotlight. As we were writing the book, we realized that we could use a lot of college examples, drawn from our earlier podcast episodes, to illuminate the points we were trying to make. I thought it would be interesting to see just how many colleges were mentioned in the book--and by...

Duration: 00:12:15

Episode 119: Explore College Options with a New Workbook

We are going to take a tiny detour from our new series, Colleges in the Spotlight, to talk a bit about our brand new book, which we have called How To Explore Your College Options: A Workbook for High School Students. First, let us give a shout-out to high school students at Brooklyn Tech for their help in choosing the title for the book. We tried out a few titles on them, and they chose one quite close to the one we are using. For those of you who don’t know Brooklyn Tech, it’s a...

Duration: 00:19:56

Episode 118: It’s the Colleges’ Turn To Beg!

Since Decision Day is almost upon us, we are going to refrain from giving any more general advice. If you want specific advice for your teenager, call us. That’s free advice available to parents with seniors until April 30 at 11:59 p.m. New York City time So, we are in our new series, which we are calling Colleges in the Spotlight. Last week, we shone our spotlight on Spelman College and its fellow HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). Today, we are headed to the West...

Duration: 00:19:25

Episode 117: The Best Case for Historically Black Colleges and Universities?

We know that some of you are still discussing which college your teenager should attend next fall, and we are sure that, by now, you are tired of re-listening to Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 114 of USACollegeChat—all of which we hoped would guide you through these difficult days. So, we thought we would let someone else do the talking today. Not us, but rather a college student--one we found to be remarkably insightful. This episode will also start a new series, which we are calling Colleges...

Duration: 00:17:12

Episode 116: Getting a Remarkable College Recommendation Letter

For those of you still debating which college your teenager should attend next fall, let us remind you, one more time, to take a look at Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 114—all of which aim to help you sort through some of the issues you might be facing in choosing the best college for your teenager. We wish you the best during this often stressful time--and, if you need an outside perspective, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Seriously. Well, we thought about taking this week off to enjoy...

Duration: 00:13:26

Episode 115: What About a Gap Year Before College?

While today’s topic might not be an issue in higher education generally, it could well be an issue in your own teenager’s higher education--and it’s an issue that you might want to think about quickly right now if you have a high school senior. It is the notion of having your teenager take a gap year between finishing high school this spring and starting college this fall. For those of you who have high school juniors at home, it’s not too early for you to be thinking about this option,...

Duration: 00:35:29

Episode 114: It’s College Decision Time!

Well, it is almost April 1, the date by which a lot of colleges will make high school seniors happy or sad. In fact, many colleges have already done that in the past two weeks, with some doing so today and tomorrow. We are sure it is a tense time for lots of families--whether it leads to great joy or considerable disappointment. There is hardly a bigger issue in higher education, of course, than the admissions game, its fairness and unfairness, and its results for thousands and thousands...

Duration: 00:23:15

Episode 113: The Community College Challenge

Today’s episode focuses on a higher education issue that we have talked about before at USACollegeChat, though not recently--that is, the pros and cons of attending a community college, which is a marvelous institution in theory, but a somewhat more disappointing institution in reality. At least, that has been our position in the past. When I read a recent article about where community colleges find themselves these days, I thought we might look at them one more time. If you are the...

Duration: 00:29:01

Episode 112: Speeding Up College Graduation

One of the biggest practical issues in higher education today is the rising and insanely high cost of a college education--obviously. The cost of going to college is not something we talk about a lot here at USACollegeChat, partly because there are so many other people talking about it all the time. But sky-high cost is the reason behind the topic we are going to discuss in this episode: speeding up college graduation--that is, graduating in fewer than the traditional four years. Of...

Duration: 00:27:42

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