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Top Issues in 2012 on Road to College and Careers

In my review of the College Bound posts for 2012, I noted that readers continue to be fascinated with rankings—both college and high school—despite controversy about their merit. Also, the saga over the cost of student loans was closely watched. And what it takes to succeed in college and research on just how graduates fare with different majors were big items.

Here's a rundown of some of the top posts about the transition from high school to college and beyond:

Nation's Top High Schools Ranked by U.S. News: The listing of the country's best 4,318 high schools was led by schools in California, New York, and Texas.

New AP Courses to Emphasize Critical Thinking and Research: The College Board and Cambridge International Examinations announced the testing of two new Advanced Placement courses, an Interdisciplinary Investigations and Critical Reasoning Seminar for high school juniors and a Capstone Research Project for seniors.

ACT to Roll Out Career and College-Readiness Tests for 3rd-10th Grades: The next generation of digital tests to measure skills needed in college and careers was piloted in the fall and scheduled for launch in 2014.

Congress Nears Agreement on Student-Loan Interest Rates: After months of debate, Congress finally agreed to maintain federal subsidized student-loan rates at 3.4 percent, rather than doubling the rate as scheduled.

Student Misconceptions About College Life Can Undermine Success: Surveys and focus groups of students revealed many don't have a realistic picture of the demands of college, with only 11 percent anticipating the work will be "difficult."

Majors Matter in Job Prospects for Recent College Graduates
: While college graduates fare better in the job market than those with just a high school diploma or less, research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce documented the varying advantage depending on major.

U.S. News Releases Its Take on the Best Colleges: Harvard, Princeton, and Yale once again topped the list of best national universities.

Stay tuned for more news in 2013, with an increased emphasis on college- and career-readiness efforts in middle-level schools and high schools.

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