Launch Global Education
Odyssey newsletter: credentialing . CommonApp . transfers

Volume 2  Issue 16

 by Michael Wagner

 Knowledge Pilot, Launch Global Education

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In this edition of the Odyssey Newsletter, we begin with the pursuit of cost-effective education through community colleges, the subsequent transfer to four-year institutions, and the potential challenges of this route.

Shifting focus to the realm of higher education's value, an American Association of Colleges, and Universities (AAC&U) survey challenges the prevailing narrative of declining trust, with over 80% of employers expressing a positive perspective on the enduring worth of a college degree. The nuanced findings of the survey shed light on employer expectations, concerns about critical thinking skills, and the rising popularity of microcredentials.

Additionally, we explore the eagerly anticipated changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the introduction of the Better FAFSA, offering insights into its streamlined approach and the potential impact on students and counselors.

Next, we review the groundbreaking Common Applications direct admissions program, where over 300,000 individuals received college acceptance letters before completing their applications, marking a significant shift in the traditional application processes, and aiming to increase accessibility to higher education.

Our tip of the week is on credentialing classes, and finally, we pay tribute to two highly influential women of our time.


ASU diploma

Why fit is so important

Navigating the promise of cost-effective education through a community college and subsequent transfer to a four-year institution can be a precarious journey, with nearly half of all college credits facing potential roadblocks in the transfer process. Kirk Carapezza and Esteban Bustillos, of the podcast by the Lumina Foundation, College Uncovered, shed light on the intricacies of this system, revealing how students, particularly those from low-income or first-generation backgrounds, may find themselves grappling with "stranded credits" and unforeseen challenges. They offer their insights and expert advice on avoiding what is called the transfer trap.

The transfer trap

Is college worth it?

The landscape of higher education's perceived value takes center stage in a recent American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) survey, challenging the prevailing narrative of declining trust in the sector. Conducted among 1,010 employers, the study reveals a strikingly positive perspective, with over 80% asserting the enduring worth of a college degree despite associated costs.

While employers commend higher education for preparing graduates for entry-level roles and career progression, concerns surface about students' readiness in critical thinking and complex problem-solving. The survey pioneers inquiries into the desired knowledge and skills graduates should possess, emphasizing the importance of real-world problem-solving and interdisciplinary knowledge. Notably, microcredentials emerge as a sought-after qualification, signaling a paradigm shift in employer preferences.

In this blog post, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Senior Reporter for Higher Ed Dives examines the nuanced findings, unraveling the employer outlook on higher education and the evolving dynamics shaping workforce expectations.

Employers value a college degree but think students lack some skills, survey says

The era of The New FAFSA

After a prolonged wait, the education community breathes a sigh of relief as the U.S. Department of Education announces the release of the Better FAFSA— a shortened and simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid—by December 31. Jason Gonzales of Chalkbeat, outlines the upcoming release of the new FAFSA format by explaining the new form, determining eligibility for federal financial assistance and scholarships, typically released in October, has undergone revisions to streamline its complexity, reducing the number of questions from over 100 to fewer than 20.

Despite the anticipation of a more straightforward process, the delayed release poses challenges for counselors working with students in their FAFSA applications. As the timeline shifts, schools and nonprofits are adjusting, holding FAFSA events in January to assist families.

Counselors welcome the Better FAFSA. But its delay might have consequences for students

Common Application and direct admissions

In a groundbreaking move, more than 300,000 individuals across 28 states have received acceptance letters from at least one college or university through the Common App's direct admissions program. Christopher Cann of USA Today, reports on the significant shift in traditional application processes and aiming to make higher education more accessible for students meeting specific GPA and test requirements or residing in poverty-stricken areas—addressing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and recent Supreme Court rulings.

Accepted to college before applying: How Common App is recruiting students

Tip of the Week

student at computer

Expand knowledge with credentialing

Credential (or certification) classes have become remarkably accessible, offering students an avenue to enhance their skill sets and bolster their college resumes. There are so many certification programs available online that can complement in-school learning of a wide variety of topics. With simplified enrollment processes and readily available resources, the ease of access to credentialing courses makes them an attractive option for those seeking to further their learning.

In addition to the educational benefits, completing certification classes can significantly strengthen a college application. Admissions officers recognize the value of candidates who proactively seek to expand their knowledge and expertise beyond the traditional academic curriculum. Earning a recognized certification not only demonstrates a commitment to personal development but also signals a practical application of skills that can contribute to academic success and future career goals. Including relevant certifications in a college application showcases a candidate's dedication to continuous learning, adaptability, and a proactive approach to skill acquisition, factors that can set an applicant apart in a competitive admissions landscape.

Before you go...

Rosalyn Carter

Rosalynn Carter and Judge Sandra Day O'Connor, both iconic figures in American history, have contributed significantly to the nation's fabric through their distinct paths of public service. As the former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter was a relentless advocate for mental health awareness, using her influence to destigmatize issues and improve mental healthcare access. Her enduring commitment to humanitarian causes and insightful counsel during the Carter administration cements her status as a beacon of grace and resilience.

Judge Sandra Day O'Connor's groundbreaking journey as the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court showcases her trailblazing spirit. Beyond her judicial contributions, O'Connor's dedication to civic education and justice administration leaves an indelible mark on the legal landscape.

Together, these remarkable women exemplify the strength, dedication, and impact that individuals can have in shaping the narrative of American history. Please join me in celebrating their incredible lives; may they both rest in peace.

Sandra Day O'Connor

We are in the Middle Atlantic region of the U.S. for this holiday season, experiencing cold temperatures and festive traditions. We hope that you are also enjoying the season’s festivities in your part of the world, as we close out another calendar year.

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season and the act of giving, we hope that you will pass along the Odyssey Newsletter to your friends. We appreciate your support!

Mr. Mike and Dr. Ann

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.