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Highlights from Higher Ed: Recruiting Challenges, College Ranking Changes and Online Learning

New data highlights challenges of recruiting Class of 2021

A recent survey of more than 1,500 high school students who expect to graduate in 2021 illustrates the challenges facing college recruiters as they try to lure applicants for next year’s incoming classes. For example, 60% of respondents “said an in-person experience with a prospective college had ‘a lot of’ or ‘critical’ importance to them.” More than half of those who had participated in a virtual tour or information session said it was only “a somewhat effective” replacement for an on-campus visit. Among the 13% who had attended a virtual college fair, the satisfaction rate was roughly the same. Overall, “11% preferred or were strongly considering online courses, while more than a quarter would not consider online education at all. Half said their interest in online learning had dropped during the outbreak.”

For insights into reaching and engaging prospective students for the fall of 2021, register now for Liaison’s upcoming webinar, Mission: Possible! Reimagining Your Fall Recruitment Strategy. It takes place Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

U.S. News & World Report will now rank “test-blind” schools

U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 “Best Colleges” rankings will be the first to include colleges and universities that do not consider SAT or ACT scores in their admissions decisions. Until now, so-called test-blind schools were excluded from the popular yet controversial rankings. The publication’s statement announcing the new policy said: “Why is U.S. News making this change? Because prospective students and their families want to know the academic quality of all schools, including ones that do not make use of standardized test scores. Also, in recent years a large number of colleges have changed their application requirements regarding the SAT and ACT. Recently, the Coronavirus pandemic has been disruptive to administration of the SAT and ACT, inducing many colleges and university systems to at least temporarily discontinue using the exams or move to being test-optional.” As a result of the policy change, the number of institutions to be included in the rankings will increase by approximately 205, or 14%.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

For many students, the pandemic makes the future look bleak

A recent survey of 1,500 college students revealed that their outlook “has changed for the worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Approximately 40% have lost a job, job offer or internship. Fewer than one-third now expect to earn as much at age 35 as they previously expected, and 13% have delayed their graduation as a result of the outbreak. About 50% said they have been studying less and that their academic performance has declined. “The results, predictably, vary depending on a student’s socioeconomic status and race. Lower-income students were 55% more likely to delay graduation than their higher-income peers. COVID-19 also nearly doubled the gap between higher- and lower-income students’ expected GPAs. Nonwhite students were 70% more likely to change their majors due to the pandemic compared to their white peers, and first-generation students were 50% more likely to delay graduation than students who have college-educated parents.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Results of two surveys highlight students’ mixed feelings about online education

Students tend to like or dislike online learning based on whether they choose to learn remotely or were forced to do so by the pandemic, according to a review of two different surveys. “Nearly 80% of students who completed online degrees said the experience was worth the cost,” according to one report. “However, only 2% of 18-to-24-year-olds want to attend college exclusively online while nearly 3-in-4 want to study in-person post-Coronavirus,” according to another. The former survey, which polled online students, found that 78% of respondents “agree or strongly agree” their degree was worth the cost — yet 64% said they would pay more tuition for a higher quality education. The latter study revealed that 72% of students aged 18 to 24 believe “in-person was the best way to earn a college degree.”

Source: University Business

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