Step By Step
Anthony M. Tang
Northeastern University Fall 2013
What We Believe
• Provides unlimited opportunity
• Accessible to every student
• College = Success
• Next logical step
• The journey to college is a simple one
If what we believe is true, then…
Why is college enrollment down?
• The decline in college enrollments appears to be accelerating, with 2.3
percent fewer students enrolled on campuses this spring than there were in
spring 2012 according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse
• According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today, college
enrollment in Fall 2012 plunged by half a million (467,000) from one
year earlier (Bernstein, 2013)
Step After Step After Step
• Too many steps in the college process
Students fail to complete the different steps of what can be a
complicated admissions process (Klasik, 2012)
• Failure to complete college entrance exams
Failure to take college entrance exams can often mean the end of
students’ 4-year college degree hopes, limited options for admission
or advanced course placement at community colleges, or reduced
eligibility for some forms of college scholarships (Klasik, 2013)
• Lack of Leadership through the college application process
The problem is not simply one of college costs but rather the extent to
which low-income and minority students do not attend high schools that
guide them successfully into the application pool (Coca, Nagakoa, &
• Unlikely to take steps toward financial aid
Low-income students are less likely to apply for financial aid early to
maximize their ability to get institutional and state aid (Kirst & Venezia,
• No specific plans
Many students with general college plans do not form specific plans, and
specific plans are not sufficient for enrollment (Rosenbaum & Stephan,
• High Cost
The basic premise is that individuals weigh the costs and benefits of
continuing their education and choose to end their education when the
costs exceed the benefits (Fletcher, 2011)
Which Groups of Students are Affected
by the Steps in the College Application Process?
At the end of the day, all students are affected by the multiple
steps in the college application process
How We Can Make the Steps Clear
• Continued counselor support
Results suggest that visiting a counselor for college entrance
information has a positive and significant influence on students’
likelihood of postsecondary enrollment (Belasco, 2013)
• Create new and improved programs
The Expanding College Opportunities-Comprehensive
Intervention leads students to apply to and enroll in colleges with
higher graduation rates, greater instructional resources, and
curricula (Hoxby & Turner, 2013)
• Increase awareness
Higher education institutions could engage their admissions,
marketing, and public relations offices to launch a College
Access Marketing campaign (Tremblay, 2011)
As simple as it sounds, students need words of encouragement.
Students need to know the steps in the college application
process are not as complicated as they seem
There is no quick solution.
However, we need to be sure the steps in the college
application process are clear, simple, and effective.
We need to continue our work toward increasing the number
of students seeking a collegiate education and supporting them
through the entire process.
Belasco, A. S. (2013). Creating College Opportunity: School Counselors and Their
Influence on Postsecondary Enrollment. Research in Higher Education, 54(7),
Bernstein, R. (2013, September 3). After a Recent Upswing, College Enrollment
Declines, Census Bureau Reports. United States Census Bureau.
Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/
Coca, V., Nagaoka, J. Roderick, M. 2011. Potholes on the Road to College: High
School Effects in Shaping Urban Students' Participation in College
Application, Four-Year College Enrollment, and College Match.
Sociology of Education, v84 n3. 178-211.
Fletcher, Jason M. 2011. Social identity as a determinant of college enrollment. Rationality and
Society, Vol. 2, Issue. 3, p267-303.
Hoxby, C., & Turner, S. (2013). Expanding College Opportunities. EducationNext,
Kirst Michael W. and Venezia Andrea. 2004. From High School to College:
Improving Opportunities for Success in Postsecondary Education. San
Klasik D. 2012. The college application gauntlet: A systematic analysis of the
steps to four-year college enrollment. Research in Higher Education,
Klasik, D. 2013. The Act of Enrollment: The College Enrollment Effects of StateRequired College Entrance Exam Testing. Education Researcher, v42 n 3.
Lederman, D. (2013, May 17). Enrollment Decline Pick Up Speed. Inside Higher
Ed. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/17/
Rosenbaum, J. and Stephan, J. 2013. Can High Schools Reduce College Enrollment Gaps
With a New Counseling Model?. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
Vol. 3, Issue 2. 200-219.
Tremblay, C.W. (2011). College Access Marketing. College and University. 86(3),