February 21, 2007
Anna Christopher, NPR


February 21, 2007; Washington, D.C. – Across America, high school seniors are scrambling to boost their SAT scores and put finishing touches on college applications for an admissions process that is becoming increasingly more competitive. NPR News examines the intense race for prestigious colleges and how some schools and students are opting out of it altogether in “Alternatives to the College Admissions Game,” a 7-part series airing February 22-25 throughout NPR News programs.

The series features interviews with university presidents and deans from schools across the country and reports from NPR News journalists in Massachusetts, Tennessee, New York, Florida and Washington. Reporters Larry Abramson, Margot Adler, Audie Cornish, Wendy Kaufman and Tovia Smith talk with university presidents about the frenzy induced by college rankings and their attempts to curb it; and with African-American high school students in Nashville, TN, who are weighing whether or not to apply to historically black colleges and universities. Other reports in the series examine an unconventional application strategy at Tufts University in Medford, MA; community colleges and the choices and challenges they offer; financial aid for the needy; and selecting a lesser-known college, or no college at all.

“Alternatives to the College Admissions Game” begins tomorrow, Thursday, February 22 with reports on Morning Edition on how some students are opting out of the process by selecting less well-known schools, and All Things Considered on how college presidents are trying to regain control over an admissions process complicated by test prep courses and college rankings. On Friday’s Morning Edition Tovia Smith goes to Medford, MA, to interview Tufts University’s deans of Admissions and Arts and Sciences about the school’s strategies for screening applicants.

The series will air as follows:

Thursday, February 22
Students Opt Out, Morning Edition
Presidents Opt Out, All Things Considered

Friday, February 23
Tufts Admissions, Morning Edition
Community College, Day to Day
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, All Things Considered

Saturday, February 24
Money, Weekend All Things Considered

Sunday, February 25
Blue Collar and Proud, Weekend Edition Sunday

Please check www.NPR.org/stations for local stations and shows’ broadcast times. The audio for the series will be available online at www.NPR.org following each broadcast.