Talking About Turkey and College Admissions – Forbes | Team Cansler

As the holidays near, many high school seniors will be working frantically to complete their college applications. You and others will try to dodge a barrage of questions from friends and family about where they applied and what they want to do with their life (don’t be so relative!). While their parents are preparing Thanksgiving dinner, many students may be writing essays and filling out applications. So what do holiday accommodation and university admission have in common? They can both be anxiety-provoking in unique ways. Now both also have a free telephone hotline to alleviate uncertainties.

For the past 40 years, the good people at Butterball Turkey have been helping chefs sidestep culinary crises during the holiday season. No matter who you are, experts are at your side with advice and action on salting, basting and baking. When it comes to college admissions, the stakes are much higher and accessing the right information is undoubtedly more complicated. “Should I send test results?” “How do I report my grades?” “Do I need to create a resume?” These are some of the many questions students wrestle with. Despite the desires of some applicants, in a world of information overload, there is no recipe for admissions success. However, there is a free live zoom deadline line trying to level the playing field for students and their supporters everywhere.

Post-secondary counseling is in crisis and unfortunately unfair. Although the American School Counselor Association recommends a student-to-counselor ratio of 250 to 1, the reality is grim. The national average is closer to 415 to 1, with the average counselor working with over 700 students in some states. These dedicated professionals are few and far between, responsible for a long list of services—from academic planning and support to psychological counseling and truancy. These requirements often lead to a limited time to offer individual university planning. This is especially true as application deadlines approach and questions abound.

This season, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the College Guidance Network (CGN), and (in which I am somewhat involved) have partnered with college admissions and high school counseling volunteers to provide support Advisors and the students they mentor by answering last-minute application questions. NACAC is “an organization of more than 26,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to helping students make post-secondary education choices.” CGN’s mission is to “empower school counselors to better support their college and vocational students—along with their families—so they can confidently navigate the college admissions process and make good, financially responsible decisions.” Their goal is to “give all students and parents access to top experts and unbiased information to achieve the best possible outcomes and long-term success.” is a non-profit organization founded by Sal Khan (founder of Khan Academy) was founded and “provides free, virtual, peer-to-peer tutoring in math, science and more for students around the world”.

khan says “Deadline Hotline is a way to further our mission of connecting the world through learning while addressing an important need for democratized information about college application.” Angel Pérez, CEO of NACAC, adds: “Every student deserves access to college counseling and this partnership allows us to reach many students at a critical stage in the admissions process. While we still have a long way to go to democratize access to good advice, programs like this fill critical gaps.”

A shared commitment to supporting students on their way to college inspired this unique collaboration between the three organizations. On two separate days before application deadlines, they offer students the opportunity to zoom in and get real-time responses as they complete applications. The first four-hour deadline hotline was held on Sunday, October 30, with admissions officers from the University of Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology, Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. High school counselors from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Colorado and California also manned the hotline. Hundreds of students and their supporters from across the US and 17 different countries took this opportunity to inquire about tests, essays, financial aid, activities and more.

Rick Clark, Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech, volunteered and had this to say: “The college admissions process can be daunting and unclear at times. And just before deadlines, students are understandably nervous. I am grateful that this program has created a space where students can ask their questions, seek clarity, and hear from each other and directly from admissions professionals. We need more of these types of contact opportunities in the future to offer comfort and encouragement through experience, insight and quality information.” Xena Wang, admissions advisor at the University of Pennsylvania, adds, “I am grateful for offering comfort and clarity to students as they complete their college applications. It was also an important learning experience to understand what issues were on the seniors’ minds so that we could better support them in the future.” Candice Mackey, a college counselor at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, also supported the hotline, stating: “The Deadline Hotline serves as a last-minute resource for ALL students to access and be able to ask questions or seek advice and reassurance from college advisors and admissions professionals before submitting their college application.”

The next hotline will be on Tuesday, November 29 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET on the eve of the University of California application deadline and in advance of the regular decision deadlines in December and January. Admissions officers from the University of California (Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Cruz), Florida State University, and Trinity College donate their time to help students apply to college or university. You will be joined by high school counselors from California.

Richard Weissbourd is the faculty director of Making Caring Common, a Harvard Graduate School of Education project, and leader of the Turning the Tide in College Admission initiative. He says, “Now more than ever, we need to find ways to improve access and equity in college admissions.” He adds, “This initiative represents positive collaboration and is a great resource for students to submit applications with confidence. “

Whether you are preparing for a celebration or your future, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for answers, rely on these resources, and let gratitude guide you this holiday season.

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