Local College Admission Tales in the NY Times

Local standout Cherry Creek High School has been heavily featured in The Choice college blog in the NY Times, beginning this past December. Six Creek seniors have blogged their way through the (still concluding) application-notification-decision process, sharing stories of anticipation, anxiety, excitement, and occasionally, despondency. In some cases seemingly joyful outcomes turned to frustration and disappointment when an acceptance from a favored institution paired with little or no financial aid means the offer can’t be accepted, an unfortunate outcome that’s come to be known as “admit-deny.”

The series continues today with a solid piece on deciding among competing offers of admission by counseling department coordinator Kelly Dunham. Ms. Dunham cites a lengthy set of comparable factors and recommends that students develop pro and con lists and weigh the strengths of each school, especially from a “personal fit” perspective.

This past Monday I was at the Cherry Creek counseling office, attending a new client’s junior conference along with his Mom. I was impressed with the efficiency and thoroughness of the program, and appreciate that I was welcome to attend as part of the student’s team of helpers and promoters, a good sign of genuine support for the student.

CCHS blogs will continue through May, when the students will have made their choices.  The pieces are compelling and very well written, a testament to the fine education to be had at Creek. I’m really appreciating the series as well as the comments from readers all over the U.S., who seem to enjoy hearing about the college planning scene in Colorado.

Check it out: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/cherry-creek-introduction/

Lisa Ransdell is an independent educational consultant in Denver, Colorado with an extensive background in college teaching and administration. She helps students and families nationwide with all aspects of college planning.

 

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.