RECENTLY VISITED: Introducing a Blog “Column,” If You Will

Something I particularly love about my profession of independent educational consulting is the chance to tour many schools over the course of the year in order to be able to give my clients first-hand reports and up-to-date info.  The expectation and necessity of touring and attending campus information sessions is no burden for me; it has long been true in my case, even before I became an IEC, that one of my favorite settings/places to hang in the world is a college campus.

I believe it is very important, although not absolutely essential, for students to conceptually and experientially connect with a college. To my mind, a felt connection with an institution isn’t unlike the “chemistry” of a one-on-one love match.  Social science data show that arranged marriages appear to work, and have statistically better success rates than the passionate “love matches” favored in western nations. Being a social scientist myself, but also being a somewhat typical westerner, I will advocate for both: a college that fits on paper, but also in the heart.

How many students have I known who said something like, “From the moment I set foot on campus, I knew this was the place for me”? And yet I’ve known some, like my friend Seth, who applied as a resident of northern California to Denison University, in rural Ohio (where I then worked), site unseen. Seth’s interest was based solely on the avid recommendation of a fellow employee at the video shop where he worked as a high school student. It proved to be a beautiful match-up, and by the time he graduated with his degree in philosophy, Seth was distinguished as a Denison Presidential Scholar. He followed his success at Denison by becoming a personal assistant to the playwright Tony Kushner in New York City, and eventually became an employee of the New York Times. At present he is completing his MBA at Tuck, the Dartmouth College School of Business.

I digress. Competitive colleges fall all over themselves to make an impression on prospective students. Some even suck up to folks like me, with some degree of IEC “bling” – like the lovely bag of stuff I received from Washington University-St. Louis last November. It even included an oversized pennant … how did they know I collect pennants from the colleges I visit??

Most all colleges offer regular tours and information sessions that profile key institutional factoids. Really enterprising and/or classy colleges offer additional opportunities, like the chance to sit in on a class, stay overnight in a dorm, or meet with a professor or admission staff member one-on-one.

Whatever route you choose, tour as much as possible, and make sure your visits are “official” (noted by the Admissions Office): many colleges view a campus visit as a sign of sincere interest on the part of applicants, and count a visit as a positive element of an application package.

Next Recently Visited: University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Lisa Ransdell, Ph.D., is an independent educational consultant in Denver, CO, a 27-year higher education professional, and head of Pinnacle Education Consulting, LLC: http://www.pinnacle-educ.com.

Happy to be Among the 26%

I was delighted to hear that a recent research study on high achieving seniors in the U.S. showed that fully 26% report having used an IEC (independent educational consultant) in their college search and application process. With high school counselors frequently managing impossibly high caseloads and the increasingly positive publicity that credentialed IECs are receiving nationwide, that number will likely climb even higher in the near future. Check out the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) website for the full story and extensive information on locating and evaluating consultants: www.educationalconsulting.org

I was so fortunate discover that my extensive background in college teaching and administration was highly relevant to this field four years ago when I decided to launch Pinnacle Education Consulting. I truly love what I do and greatly enjoy partnering with Colorado students and families on college planning.

I’m also quite proud of my clients and their achievements. Here are some of the institutions where recent clients have been accepted:

  • Colorado State University
  • Cornell University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Montana State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Santa Clara University
  • Swarthmore College
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Denver
  • University of Montana
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • Villanova University
  • Washington University St. Louis

Looking forward to getting my “26% Ask Me” Button at the IECA conference this May in Philadelphia!

Lisa Ransdell, PhD

Pinnacle Education Consulting, LLC

Denver, CO

LRansdell@comcast.net   303-635-6620