Launch Global Education
Odyssey newsletter: equity . ungrading . planning

Volume 1  Issue 31-32 Special Double Issue

 by Michael Wagner

 Knowledge Pilot, Launch Global Education

Odyssey logo

Welcome to our first year-end Special Double Issue. As the calendar year winds down and many of you enjoy a break with family and friends, we hope that you will check out a few articles that will deepen your knowledge of the college and university landscape. Our Tip of the Week discusses what’s next for high school students in the new year, and we close out with a fun holiday-themed video. Enjoy.


blackboard with mathematics

Math always seems to be the problem

In my years as a college counselor the most common struggle among students has always been mastering of math skills. While it isn’t an issue for all students, many of the SAT math scores I see do not meet the established benchmark. Diana Lambert, along with Zaidee Stavely of EdSource, discuss this struggle in the weekly podcast Education Beat.

College freshmen struggle with math

Early decision: Not always an equitable application strategy

There are many application strategies that students can use to apply to colleges and universities. One strategy that is often suggested is for a student to apply early decision to their first-choice college. However, though it may improve a student’s chances of acceptance, it does not necessarily come with a generous financial aid package, which can tilt the advantage toward wealthier students. Evan Mandery, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Michael Dannenberg, a Senior Fellow with non-profit College Promise, co-author an op-ed article for ABC affiliate KAKE.

Opinion: Early decision programs openly stack the college admissions deck

Valuing student voice

Each college or university has its own admissions policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards and it is common that these policies are mostly conceived and implemented by university administrators. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has announced that it will create a committee of students who will share their perspectives on college admissions policies and procedures. This will allow universities to hear firsthand the thoughts and opinions of those that have gone through the sometimes grueling admissions process to potentially making it easier—and better—in the future. Jeremy Bauer-Wolf senior reporter for Higher Ed Dive explains the next steps for the new committee.

New NACAC committee will add students to discussion of admissions practices
world globe

Post-secondary education’s world reach

Worldwide, universities serve many functions, only one of which it to educate citizens. The ways in which graduates go on to influence and contribute to society and the influences that colleges and universities can have locally, nationally, and internationally is vast. James Kennedy, a professor of modern Dutch history at Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands and a contributor for University World News, shares his opinion on the role colleges and universities play in the world.

Community engaged learning can help fix recurring issues

College counseling is key

It is common for students to express that they do not feel they receive enough college and career guidance during high school. As a result, they have difficulty understanding their options and making the right choices for their pursuits after graduation. Kara Arundel senior reporter for K-12 Dive shares the data from a recent survey highlighting student responses regarding preparation for life after high school.

Survey: Most high school graduates don’t feel prepared for college, career decisions

The ungrading movement

Academic achievement, traditionally measured by grades, puts pressure on all students, some more than others.  With this stress, grade performance can often take precedence over impactful learning. Some colleges are considering new ways to minimize this pressure. Jon Marcus of The Hechinger Report discusses the new concept called ungrading.

Some colleges mull the idea of 'ungrading' for freshman students

Tip of the Week


The school year is half over, now what?

For many students, the transition from the end of 2022 into the beginning of 2023 marks not just the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of a new semester. This new start can also be a reset for students.

It is the perfect time for students to engage in reflection and planning for the remainder of the school year. What went well and what did not go so well? What academic strategies could be put in place to improve lower grades and to maintain excellent ones?

Make a fresh plan to get involved in extra-curricular activities and look for volunteering and community service opportunities. Also plan to meet with an advisor, teacher, and/or counselor to start discussing plans for the next academic year.

There is no downside to planning for success; this time will never be wasted. And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process.

Before you go...

reindeer on mountain

I thought it would be appropriate that we close out this calendar year with a video for the holiday season. CBS videographer David Cohen shares on CBS Sunday Morning the reindeer of Finland.

Nature: Reindeer in Finland

As 2022 comes to an end, Dr. Ann and I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. It is our pleasure to provide relevant and current articles on the world of college counseling and higher education. We hope you enjoy the newsletter as much as we enjoy putting it together.

Have a wonderful holiday. See you in 2023.


Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways.