Almost every day, my email inbox is bombarded with all kinds of news releases and updates about what's happening in the world of higher education. I don't use most of these in my articles here on College Confidential, but I do save a few because of their potential interest to readers, especially aspiring collegians in high school, current college students, and parents. This morning I looked at my saved inventory and decided to do a roundup here to get out the news they contain.
First, here's some news about changes to the TOEFL that will be of interest to international students. To clarify, the Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.
- TOEFL changes make it easier than ever for students to test English proficiency
ETS [the Educational Testing Service] is taking steps to make the TOEFL test more accessible to students all around the world with more flexible testing options, including an increase to the number of test session offerings. These changes will make it easier for more students to take the TOEFL test, thus helping to alleviate the biggest challenge university admissions officers face today: a shortage of qualified international applicants.
Here's an overview of the upcoming changes:
- Students can register for afternoon testing sessions on select dates, effectively doubling the testing capacity of participating test centers on those dates.
- Students now have the ability to test on consecutive weekends as available dates permit – a significant improvement to the previous 12-day retest waiting period.
- There are new TOEFL test preparation materials to help students practice and perform their best on test day.
The official statement from ETS, contains some helpful links:
As part of a continuous effort to enhance the TOEFL iBT test experience for students and its value to institutions worldwide, students can now take advantage of more flexible testing options, including an increase in the number of test session offerings and a shorter turnaround time for retesting, if necessary.
Beginning immediately, students can register for afternoon testing sessions on select dates, a shift that effectively doubles the testing capacity of participating test centers on those dates. In addition, students can test on consecutive weekends as available dates permit — a significant improvement to the previous 12-day retest waiting period.
These updates, which follow the shortened test time and MyBest™ scores enhancements launched last month, will also be beneficial to institutions — the earlier students can test or retest, the earlier institutions can receive students' accompanying score report, allowing them to make informed admissions decisions based on a wider eligible applicant pool of qualified students in a timely manner.
"The latest improvements to the TOEFL test revolve around the student testing experience and creating efficiencies that enable them to save time so that they can act quickly," said ETS's Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program. "We understand that students need and appreciate flexibility, and these new changes provide conveniences for them as they navigate deadlines and busy schedules in preparing for their academic futures."
For general information on the TOEFL test, please visit www.ets.org/toefl. To prepare for the test, be sure to check out our refreshed preparation materials reflecting the recent test changes, including a free, full-length practice test at www.ets.org/s/toefl/free-practice.
Next, there's a new study that reveals the "Cities Best Prepared to Take on First Wave of Generation Z Graduates."
To clarify about Gen Z: Generation Z is the demographic cohort following Generation Y, also known as the Millennials or the Millennial Generation; other names suggested for the cohort include iGeneration (iGen), Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives and Plurals.
The dates given for Generation Z range from the mid-1990s through the second decade of this century, although precise years vary according to the source. At over two billion individuals, Generation Z is the most populous generational cohort of all time ...
Some background and an excerpt from the study on career locations:
2019 Best Cities For Generation Z
Study reveals the best international cities that support Generation Z's values and vision by using data relating to advocacy, digitalisation, livability, and business opportunities.
Despite Brexit, London is the #1 city for Generation Z. With a focus on values, London's overall compatibility with Gen Z principles, ability to meet educational needs, and strong business opportunities makes it the strongest-performing city in the index.
Berlin is the only city in the top 10,which does not fall into the top 50 cities with the highest cost of living. Nevertheless, the capacity of these cities to meet Gen Z's values and expectations overall earned their place at the top 10.
Stockholm comes second for Gen Z-ers, and is the #1 city for Digital Payment & Banking, Environmental Action, and the Right to Protest. Los Angeles ranks at #3, placing second for Esports and third for Education.
Los Angeles, United States ranks #3 out of 110 for Generation Z worldwide...
This information should be of value for future Gen Z college graduates who have a global outlook on where to work and live. The full report is available here.
Finally, as I was reviewing new threads on the College Confidential discussion forum this past week, I noticed some threads pertaining to homesickness suffered by new college students. I also saw one about a first-year collegian who seems unable to make any new friends. These psychological strains tied into a promo I received for a new book, which I haven't read and am not promoting here. This is simply an FYI inspired by those forum posts I read.
The key point comes in the subject line of the promo's email:
Back to School Anxiety: Incoming Students' Biggest Fear is Talking to People
That could explain why some new college students have a hard time making new friends, as an excerpt from the press release suggests:
… millions of incoming first-year college students … embark on a new journey of self-discovery as they learn more about what drives them, ultimately using this period of self-discovery to help them land a career. This exciting chapter of their life brings natural feelings of anxiety, but these feelings can be heightened in today's digital world where connections are made online. A recent survey of incoming college students found that 65% of incoming college freshmen reported making new friends being in their top 5 fears of starting school, and another analysis found that 1 in 3 first-year students won't make it back for sophomore year for reasons including loneliness.
Koshin Paley Ellison, Psychotherapist, Zen Teacher and author of the Amazon best-seller, Wholehearted, is an expert in social isolation and has tips on how [students] can combat loneliness and social isolation to make the most out of their college experience.
So, my inbox yields news for international students, future Gen Z college graduates, and anxious, homesick and/or friendless first-year collegians. Coincidentally, speaking of my inbox, while I was putting this article together, four more news/promo messages landed there. Stand by for another roundup soon!
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