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W. Kent Barnds
W. Kent Barnds is the executive vice president at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., where he oversees the offices of admissions, financial assistance and communication and marketing. Barnds has published articles in Inside Higher Education, University Business Magazine, Denver Post and Next magazine, and has served as a higher education enrollment expert to local and national media such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, US News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal. He also authors his own blog.

Entries by W. Kent Barnds

What Parents Should Do During A Campus Visit

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2016 | 6:36 AM

Parents are important partners in the college search process, so I wish more parents would ask what they should do during a campus visit. I suspect there is a lack of opportunity during the layered steps of the college search.

Believe me, as an admissions professional I want to establish...

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What to Do When Colleges "Recommend" an Interview

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 9:40 AM

I noticed that a number of colleges "recommend" or "highly recommend" an admissions interview. My own institution uses this same phrase in our viewbook and on our website. But, I bet there are plenty of families who may not know what exactly a college really wants.

I picture dinner...

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What to Do When College Marketing Materials Look the Same

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 11:28 AM

A few weeks ago a couple I know asked me if I wanted to see the box of recruitment materials their son had accumulated over the course of his college search. Their son is a first-year student at a highly selective university in Nebraska now, but he did a national...

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Don't Wait for the College Admissions Sales Pitch. Get in Front of It By Doing the Right Things on a Campus Visit

(4) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 5:46 PM

The college where I work hosts hundreds of prospective students over the summer months. Rising seniors and juniors and their parents dutifully follow backward-walking, slick-talking tour guides through buildings and along the paths while getting a glimpse of the college. These early campus visits are part of an annual ritual...

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Division III Athletics: Competing in the Bigger Picture

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 11:38 AM

We lost the big game. Yes, we lost. We were on the wrong side of the final score and our dreams of winning a NCAA National Championship in men's basketball. The loss was a disappointment for the players, our students, alumni, campus community and the city.

But, the aftermath...

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Financial Aid Award Letters: Eschew Obfuscation

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 1:21 PM

For years, a good friend of mine had the words "eschew obfuscation" posted on his office door. I had to look them up when I first met him, because these were not words I used. When I found out their meaning, which you will have to look up on your...

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The College Search: Advice for You and Your College Roommate

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 1:26 PM

I've worked in college admissions for the past 23 years, but this is the first year I've really started to get inquiries about the process from friends. So this year I find myself more self-conscious than ever before about dishing out advice on this complicated, highly idiosyncratic process.


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Will Hipster Parents Tap Private Liberal Arts Colleges?

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 12:21 PM

Recently I bought beer for a party and was shocked to discover that the local microbrew I thought I'd bring to sample with (and impress) our hosts cost 20 percent more than the imported beer I drink, and nearly twice that of the beer I usually bring to a party.

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When Helping Your Child Choose the Right College, Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 1:52 PM

"How can I help my daughter choose the right college?"

This was the question during a parents' information session at a program hosted on campus this weekend. I heard the sincerity in this nervous parent's voice. There was clear longing for some revealing answer that would result in a perfect...

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Maximize Your Access to Financial Aid: Meet Deadlines

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 1:35 PM

I know that title might get me in trouble with some of my colleagues who caution against adding pressure to an already tension-filled process of the college search. But the advice that follows is not intended to scare students and families. It revolves around a fundamental --basically easy but extremely...

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Is College Worth It? The Answer Could Be in the 'Worth Claim'

(4) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:16 PM

Is college worth it? This is a question that gets an inordinate amount of attention in the media and among those interested in higher education.

In the 20 years I've worked in higher education, I've read hundreds of articles and listened to an equal number of opinions on this...

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Will Residential College Share the Print Media's Fate?

(2) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 3:37 PM

An Augustana trustee who spent his career in the newspaper industry has been warning me for some time that higher education is facing circumstances eerily familiar to those of the print media. I've politely listened, but his warnings didn't really sink in until Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post for...

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Does Big Data Know Best? NSA and College Admissions

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 12:54 PM

Recent weeks have seen some people outraged over the NSA's collection of massive amounts of data in its intelligence-gathering efforts. The concerns are wide-ranging and many are legitimate. The NSA's defense of the effort revolves around the need to gather and analyze information so they can piece bits together to...

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Facing the Gap in the Financial Award

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 11:40 AM

The coming weeks will bring gasps from students and families involved in the final phase of choosing a college -- usually when they open the financial aid award letter from a college and see their expected out-of-pocket cost. I am pretty sure these gasps are audible (sort of like a...

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Does Lowering Cost Mean Lower Standards for Higher Education?

(3) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 1:27 PM

Several institutions have recently announced cutting or freezing tuition. For example, Belmont Abbey College announced a cost of attendance price reduction, and Wittenberg University and Mount Holyoke College froze their tuition for the upcoming year. Given the industry's growth in tuition over the past decade and...

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