My Introduction

Hi. My name is Jessa (the one on the left in the photo) and I am a second year at Pitzer College. I have not declared my major yet but I am 90% sure that I am going to be a double major in sociology and create my own major in public health focusing on women’s rights. I am so happy to be at Pitzer. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else for my higher education. Pitzer has an amazing personality that permeates through every activity and class that happens at Pitzer. The students who are at Pitzer are here for a reason. The main connection that all Pitzer students have is through the connection of the core values. Every student at Pitzer believes strongly in the five core values. The Pitzer faculty and staff are also at Pitzer because their core values are similar to Pitzer’s core values. Every professor that I have had has made an effort to get to know me for me and get to know what my strengths and weaknesses are inside and outside the classroom. I am just a second year student and I have already made very meaningful connections with professors. For example, my spring semester of my first year I was in a class called “Women, Crime, and Punishment” and my perspective on the criminal justice system was completely turned around. Now I am involved in the prison abolition movement and volunteer in a woman’s penitentiary. I also email and keep in touch with the professor on a regular basis and she helps me stay updated on current prison issues.

On a consistent basis I find myself stopping for a quick moment and thinking how happy and lucky I am to be where I am. I have so many wonderful people supporting me at all times of my life from amazing new friends to faculty.


Posted by Jessa Stein ’17, Undeclared

Jessa Stein Tour Guide

A Pitzer Poem

Peaceful in the morning at Pitzer

Quiet with the squirrels

Studying in the cool sun

It is my favorite time

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Posted by Anna Pleskunas ’15, Philosophy and Art

Anna Pleskunas Tour Guide

The Prison Education Project

I came to Pitzer interested in health and nutrition. I thought I might join a dance class, or even a choral group. These were the types of things I was familiar with, and knew I would enjoy. Now in my senior year, I could tell you that the dance and chorus groups are great, and a lot of my friends can tell you about nutrition in detail. For me, however, my passion now lies elsewhere.

—“Mom, Dad, don’t panic. I am now teaching at a local prison.”—

I get a kick out of hearing the responses to my volunteer work in local prisons. Concerned adults warn me of the risks of sharing my identity. Students ask me how it compares to other community service.

Teachers want to know the lessons I give. The number one question I get is “what made you interested in doing that?” The truth is, nothing made me look into prison work. I just happened to read an email one day about an orientation for the Prison Education Project, and it happened to be during my lunch period. What made me commit to the project was the emphasis the directors put on the importance of our time. We, the students, were the glue that held the project together.

We are in the prime of our education and bringing that skill set inside the prison will allow it to come out with the prisoners when they leave. Suddenly, my job felt important. My personal skill set felt irreplaceable.

My work with prisons began in Claremont, and carried onto Ecuador.

While studying abroad, I volunteered at a daycare for children with parents in prison. Now, I am writing a thesis on prison reintegration programs, and hoping to create a database of the programs offered throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area. I still hold interests in nutrition, dance, singing, and more. I mostly want to make the point that you never know what else you might be interested in. I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a community that provides endless opportunities with a swift click on an email. The best advice I can give to a student entering college is TRY EVERYTHING. Attend everything like an informational interview. Ask the deep questions and get a feel for how your will fit into the bigger picture. Taking free time to yourself is great, but when you look back at college, you won’t remember the naps you took during the day. You will remember the connections you made and the words people spoke that sparked your interest. And nothing is more satisfying than telling your friends and family you are doing something that you are truly passionate about and you took it on all by yourself.

 

Posted by Mary Nash ’15, Sociocultural Anthropology and Political Studies

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A Better Sequel

Movie sequels are notoriously disappointing. As a Media Studies course veteran, I have learned to never question the extrinsic value of releasing sequels (say no to drugs, but yes to box office success kids), but most times the intrinsic quotable magical quality, the very integrity of the original version is edited out of the sequel and becomes lost in translation as the once well-known dialogue becomes tangled up in complicated plot lines. Pitzer’s acceptance rate drops multiple percentage points each year, yet the student body is still highly accepting of all who come to campus.

This year, I returned to the prickly set of Pitzer College after spending five months in Paris, France. For one semester I experienced a full-fledged springtime in Paris with plenty of rain, but no umbrellas, chocolate-covered everything, Seine riverside chilling, and the essential ‘B’s – bottles (of water of course) and baguettes…but let’s go back to Pitzer (stay tuned for cliché memories from the city of lights in another blog post).

I did not experience the classic reentry culture shock that the Office of Study Abroad had promised, or rather warned of, but the Pitzer set had changed its aesthetic in a big, gaping way. Rolling onto campus for the first time in a long time, my eyes lingered on the hole where Holden Hall used to be. I inquired to myself in Frenglish regarding the dormitory’s whereabouts:

Where est Holden Hall?
Where est Holden Hall?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beloved supporting characters often disappear by the end of the original version all the time, so Holden’s conspicuous absence in The Pitzer Experience: Senior Year should have come as no surprise, though my perma-raised eyebrows betrayed such rational conclusions. I observed the beginning of Holden’s end in Junior Year, and after an initial shocking “holy crap there should be a building here” type-of-feeling, a flashback to the final days of Holden Hall revealed the forgotten truth; tiny ill-lit makeshift offices of faculty and student-run clubs that became waterlogged and super depressing after severe flooding and poor drainage. In the end of its days, Holden Hall was hardly functioning, and had strayed very far from its sunnier days of decades past. So in coming to form a second opinion of the second version, or rather lack thereof, Holden’s eminent destruction was a good thing. The massive dust bowl on the side of the service road will make room for newness and improvement to come in future versions of the Experience. And while the rest of us keep dreading the unending drought, the Holden Hall lot is grateful for the little to nil chance of flooding this year.

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Another plot twist ~ The Gold Student Center, new and improved as the Gold Student Health & Wellness Center
Every year a familiar story begins. We all move back in on or off-campus, are reunited with old faces, choose classes based on professors we have grown to admire, memorize the dining hall schedule, all while chasing the first time we experienced it all. A sociology professor of mine had this to ask during the first session: “what has changed, and what has remained the same”?  Whether it is an architectural face-lift, or a giant hole of possibilities, Pitzer’s colorful characters may find peace of mind knowing that both the infinite changes and permanence of the things that remain the same here create a brighter future, and ultimately, a better sequel.


Posted by Kara Powell ’15, Media Studies and Organizational Studies

Kara Powell Diversity Intern

LA Local Travel: DONE!

What do food, Los Angeles, community engagement, and Pitzer have in common?

Keep reading and find out…

 

75849_611447627024_13309413_35342392_649201_n2So I have been on the road for the past two and a half months recruiting students from all parts of the Southeast, Northwest, and of course beautiful Southern California. This week I wrapped up my local Los Angeles high school visits. I enjoy having the opportunity to visit so many different high schools and meet so many interested and talented students from L.A. Aside from the recruiting, I always go out of my way to make a stop at Homegirl Café for breakfast or lunch while I am in the Los Angeles area.

76729_611445950384_13309413_35342357_3489385_n (1)At this point you may be asking, “So what does this Homegirl Café have to do with Pitzer?” Well, I am glad that you are so curious! Homegirl Café is a division of Homeboy Industries, which was established over two decades ago by Father Gregory Boyle in Los Angeles. It began as a jobs program in 1988, offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, the program soon grew beyond the parish.

Mission Statement:

“Jobs not Jails: Homeboy Industries assists at-risk and formerly gang-involved youth to become positive and contributing members of society through job placement, training and education.”
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For more information about Homeboy Industries, please visit their website and learn more about some of the many opportunities in which you can help:
At Pitzer College, we have the Community Engagement Center (formerly the Center for California Cultural and Social Issues or CCCSI). Since its founding in 1963,Pitzer College has been committed to teaching students to be responsible citizens of communities both local and global by applying the study of liberal arts to concrete actions that benefit others. CEC works in the community creating partnerships, not to dispense “expert” solutions to pre-defined needs, but to identify and engage resources — both human and material — within the community. Under leadership and the guidance of the Steering Committee, the Center supports innovative community-based projects by offering research awards and fellowships. In turn, the Center’s community partners present faculty and students with extraordinary opportunities to engage in applied problem-solving activities.
Community Based Education connects students and faculty with local organizations to create community-based research, service learning and experiential education opportunities that enhance the social, environmental, cultural and economic health of our communities. CEC serves a liaison between the academic institution and community partners, provides internship opportunities, and assistance with funding and programming, as well as providing logistical support to students, faculty, staff, and community partners.
If you would like to learn more about CEC please visit the website:

Posted by Tim Campos, Admission Counselor

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Warhol, Banksy, and the Street Art of Seattle

Since I have been on the road traveling the U.S. and meeting tons of interesting and talented students, I always seem to be hit with the same question, “I want to take art courses at Pitzer, but not necessarily major in art.” Is this possible? YES! As aPitzer student, students are encouraged to take a variety of courses and get a feel for what they like and disregard the courses they may not enjoy as much. Pitzer is a great place for any students looking for a school with a strong appreciation for the arts or even just a creative outlet. As an alumnus and speaking from my own personal experience, art was a way for me to express my creative side whether on a canvas, through the lens of a camera, or in a printmaking studio.

73726_608786729484_13309413_35277303_777652_n 73506_608785297354_13309413_35277240_4271256_n 73213_608785237474_13309413_35277238_1618110_n 69483_608786759424_13309413_35277304_6892508_n 69455_608785307334_13309413_35277241_7453733_nWhile I was in Seattle this month, I had the chance to check out Capitol Hill, the downtown area, and of course the famous Pike street public market place. Because of my busy travel schedule, I rarely have the opportunity to venture around and take in all of the art worthy sites. But on this trip, I made sure to document some of the local urban/street art. If you are reading this and have had an interview with me, then you know that my office is a reflection of my love for pop art and street art (i.e. Warhol and Banksy). The Seattle area was covered in street art and other artistic forms of expression. Art was just put up on many of the walls and objects throughout the city… kind of like Pitzer’s open art policy. Have you heard of our open art policy? What?!?! NO you have not?!?! Well… allow me to take the time and do so now.

69391_608784868214_13309413_35277230_7208779_n 69342_608784992964_13309413_35277232_4726381_n 67738_608786714514_13309413_35277302_6069269_n 66295_608785087774_13309413_35277235_2127126_n 33467_608785062824_13309413_35277234_1099662_nHere at Pitzer, we value student artistic expression and encourage a creative outlet on campus through the forms of murals and much more. Whether it be on a wall or pillar throughout campus. Students, staff, and faculty vote on the coming and going of art on campus. Below is a direct quote from the Campus Aesthetics Committee:

“The Campus Aesthetics Committee is looking for outdoor mural/art proposals. If you have an idea for a piece of art you would like to create, fill out the outdoor art proposal form, attach a drawing of your concept, and submit it to the Aesthetics Committee. The Committee meets regularly during the academic year and you will be invited to present your proposal at one of the meetings.”

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Avery-Pitzer Past, Present and Future, restored.

This mural, on the outside of Avery Hall since it was painted in 1996, is now part of the interior of the renovated Benson Auditorium in the Marilyn and Eugene Stein Atrium. It was expanded and restored by Paul Botello, the original artist, at the beginning of 2010.

If you would like additional information on the open art policy or the art major guidelines, please refer to the following links:
https://www.pitzer.edu/governance/committees/aesthetics/index.as


Posted by Tim Campos, Admission Counselor

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The Music City, Part 1

The KING of Rock & Roll is going on tour with Cecil the Sagehen…Ok, so although we would all love it if Elvis would grace our lands again (haha sorry for the cheesy pun), the fact is he left a long lasting legacy in the music city of Memphis, Tennessee. This past week I hit the road again continuing the travel season, but this time my traveling adventures took Cecil and I to the rhythmical music cities of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

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I was especially excited about my trip to Tennessee. Way back when I was a senior at Pitzer (class of 2010), I wrote my Chicano/Latino Studies senior thesis on rockabilly music and culture. My thesis was titled: “From Past to Present: The Evolution of Latino/a Rockabilly Culture.” It was great to visit such a place as Memphis, where Elvis himself hails from, not to mention one of the original godfathers of rockabilly music!

Hey by the way… did you know that for the past three years, Pitzer College has been home of the Rockabilly Music Festival?!?! Students from the Latina/o Student Union and Pitzer College Professor of Politcal Studies & Chicano Studeis, Adrian Pantoja, have created an ever growing much anticipated tradition on campus. Every year, the festival draws over a thousand people from the Claremont Colleges and local communities in the Inland Empire, while featuring dozens of custom cars, a handful of student selected rockabilly bands, and vendors galore. The Rockabilly Festival happens every spring and this coming year students can expect to relive the music, art, and custom cars on Saturday, March 26th, 2011.


Posted by Tim Campos, Admission Counselor

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First Week of Reading

Hello everyone. This was the first week that the counseling staff was able to take files home to read. The veterans in the office are shaking a bit of rust off their reading glasses, and cozying back up to their favorite home work-space. As the rookie in the office, I’m still getting used to this part of the job, but so far it’s been a pleasure to read your applications!

After all the travel, the silliness, the promotion, the interviews, the tours, the school visits…this is the real “meat and potatoes” of our year. Each one of us takes this season very seriously. Students often articulate the most personal, sensitive, and formative subjects of their lives in college applications. Admission counselors are strangers to you. We are not your family members, your best friends, your mentors. We are not the people one might expect to be privy to the kind of emotional investment that many of you put into your applications. But here we are, reading about your personal triumphs, family tragedies, sports injuries, paradigm shifts, “a-hah!” moments, and bold aspirations. The day we forget how meaningful this exchange is, will be the day we quit our jobs.

I’ll be writing more about reading season in the weeks ahead. I hope that the second half of your senior years are materializing in memorable, happy, and productive ways. Have fun!


Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor

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Where’s My Application?!

“I submitted my application online, but my teachers mailed in my recommendation letters themselves…do you have everything!?”

 

“Did you get my Art Supplement!?”

 

“I took the SAT and/or ACT more than once, do you have all the correct scores!?”

 

“I heard there was a glitch with the Common App…is my application OK!?”

 

“My messenger pigeon came back without my college application, does that mean you received it!?” [True story.]

 

If you have any of these questions, or others like them, then Cecil the Sagehen has something to tell you. Click here!

 

Also, for those of you who miss the “Beyond Buzzwords” days, check out this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education and then my Letter to the Editor in response. Let me know what you think!


Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor

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After Early Decision Committee

Yesterday the Admission Committee met all day to discuss our fantastic Early Decision applicants. We had more Early Decision applications than ever this year and it was a pleasure and an honor to read each one. After 6 intense hours around a table, which included much discussion and analysis, our committee reached consensus in order to admit the first students to the class of 2014! For the rest of the week we’ll be preparing and mailing our decision letters.

Some of you will be very happy to see a letter from Pitzer in the mail. Congratulations! Some of you will be disappointed. One of our policies as a committee is to make honest and fair decisions with our Early Decision applicants; we don’t defer or wait-list many students from the Early Decision pool. If we can’t make it happen for an applicant, then we want that person to fall in love with another school. We don’t make these decisions lightly. Each one of us appreciates the time, energy, and emotion that you put into your application.

Our current students are finishing their finals this week, and the Office of Admission is calm today. The sun is shining in Claremont, and the air is mercifully clear. We’ve even got some snow clinging to the peak of Mt. Baldy just north of campus! In true Pitzer fashion, I decided to make an “Orange-person” this morning, rather than a “snow-person.” The impressive results are pictured below.

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For all of our Regular Decision applicants, I encourage you to finish and submit the applications by the January 1 deadline. Dramatically waiting for the clock to strike 11:59pm on New Year’s eve to click submit on the Common App will undoubtedly appear to be a terrible decision when your power goes out…your internet glitches…or you forget that you’re not in the Pacific Standard Time zone…or some other catastrophe befalls you, causing your laboriously constructed and manicured application to bounce back at you unceremoniously.
Get the picture? Those of you expecting to make a New Year’s resolution to stop procrastinating should begin that process sooner rather than later.
Done and done!


Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor

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Beyond Buzzwords, Part 4

At last, we come to the end of our journey through Pitzer’s core values, and how applicants might better come to understand what we mean when we repeat them. So far we’ve discussed Social Responsibility, Intercultural Understanding, and Interdisciplinary Learning*. The final core value that is central to the Pitzer College experience is Student Autonomy.

*Briefly, though, I want to pass along this article for anyone who is interested in reading more about the debate (oh yes, there is a debate!) over interdisciplinarity and its future in higher education.

And now back to the task at hand…This idea of Student Autonomy was born, like our other values, from the experiences of the individuals who founded our college in the early 1960s. Student Autonomy has many meanings, and is manifested in several ways both philosophically as well as practically here at Pitzer.

Most liberal arts educations are based on a “core curriculum,” which is a fancy way of essentially saying “general education requirements.” These core curricula may comprise the first one, two, three or even four semesters of one’s college education. The idea behind the core curriculum was to give all students the same basic introduction to college-level work by teaching the “foundations of a good liberal arts education,” often without giving students any choice in their own course schedules.

Not at Pitzer.

Rather than force students to check courses off of a list of requirements, our letter of admission is a vote of confidence in our students that they are capable of imagining and navigating their own educations. We do provide some guidelines to ensure that students expose themselves to a breadth of subjects (32 Sociology courses, however fun, do not comprise a robust liberal arts education). For example, Pitzer students take at least two courses in the Humanities and Fine Arts, two in the Social Sciences, one in the Natural Sciences, and one in Formal Reasoning. Within those areas, however, the specific courses that students choose to take are up to them. Easy, right?!

You’ll notice that I didn’t say “Math.” If you’re anything like I was in high school, you are constantly asking yourself what does geometry…calculus…trigonometry have to do with what I am going to do in the world. The principle behind Student Autonomy is that everything we do here at Pitzer should be related to making the world a better place. Not everyone is going to use a graphing calculator to make the world a better place. Some of us will. The result is that we’ve hired some outstanding faculty to teach courses such as Math, Philosophy and the “Real World,” The Mathematics of Gambling, Mathematics in Many Cultures, and more. If you want to do Dynamical Systems, Chaos, and Fractals, we’ve got you covered there, too! The point is, you have choices. By the way, Math, Philosophy and the “Real World” was one of the best courses I took in college.

Another manifestation of Student Autonomy on campus is the presense of student input at the highest levels of administration. It is not uncommon – at all – to find students in heate debates with each other, with faculty members, and with administrators over institutional decisions, policies, and current events. The fact that debate even exists between students and administrators is evidence that students have real agency in every aspect of the governance of the school. Students are required to sit on every governing committee at Pitzer including the Faculty Executive, Budget, Academic Standards, and Judicial. If you love Student Government, if you’re passionate about the direction of your institution, and if you’re courageous enough to engage in conversation then you will likely be encouraged by the autonomy you find at Pitzer.

So for prospective students, we want to see your leadership, your independence, your initiative. Are you the kind of person that does well with autonomy? Are you curious and excited about taking courses in whatever subjects you choose…even if it means turning a course you end up disliking into a learning and growth opportunity? If so, then show me! We want to see all of those moments when you’ve stepped out onto a limb by yourself. We want to hear about the hard choices that you’ve had to make. We want to know that you’re excited to thrive in an autonomous environment.

I hope this exploration beyond the buzzwords has been helpful. As we head into Winter, keep coming back to Admission Unpeeled to follow your application through our office. Blog posts will be more frequent as we begin reading heaps of applications. We know that this is a stressful time. So if there’s anything we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the office.


Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor

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Let the Reading Begin!

Welcome back from a nice, long Thanksgiving weekend! I hope this message finds you all well-rested and ready to make the last push during this application season. Here in the Office of Admission we’re about to begin reading Early Decision applications. The process for reading season goes something like this: After you submit your application, we “build your file.” Literally, we’re compiling all of the components of your application into a file folder that includes all your essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, interview notes, supplemental materials, test scores etc. Once your file is built, we assign applications to the Admission team, and we start reading!

As part of our holistic approach to admission, each application is read at least twice. The “first reader” is likely the Admission official responsible for your geographic region. In many cases this person has visited your school in the past and may know your guidance/college counselor. This helps us to keep students “in context,” by allowing us to review your application with more knowledge about where you’re coming from. The “second reader” is simply another member of the Admission team. All of our reading decisions are confirmed in “committee,” when the entire team gets together around a table to discuss the applicant pool as a whole. Early Decision notification letters will be mailed by December 22.

Once we’re done with Early Decision, we repeat the same process with our Regular Decision applicants. It’s a long reading season, folks! Please be patient with us while we build your files. Regarding the completeness of your application, no news is good news. If you do hear from us regarding a missing document in your application, don’t panic. We know that sometimes things get lost. We appreciate your patience and cooperation if we have to ask you to re-submit a piece of your application. We also may not know if your application is complete immediately following the deadline. Check out these pictures below of what a small batch of mail looks like around here! We’ll get some pictures of this year’s mail coming in so you can follow your application through the office as we build your file.

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So what are we looking for when we read these applications?

Good question! Taking a holistic approach to admission means that we want to know more about our applicants than traditional, quantitative analysis usually provides. Pitzer was one of the first colleges in the country to become “testing optional,” no longer requiring standardized test scores from applicants. This decision reflects years of research as well as our own institutional experience that, quite simply, standardized test scores are not consistent predictors of student success at Pitzer College. Some students test well, others don’t. For that reason, we welcome test scores from anyone who chooses to submit them, but we don’t require them. Further, even for students who do choose to submit test scores, they will only comprise one portion of your overall application.

We want to see that students have challenged themselves academically in high school. If your high school offers dozens of Honors and AP courses, we’re going to expect our applicants to have taken some. This is one of the reasons why we “read by region,” so that we have a better chance of knowing the environment that you’re coming from. Once students choose to challenge themselves, we want to know how they’ve faired. We don’t necessarily expect a spotless transcript; but we do expect that students who have struggled academically can point to an “upward trend” of success. If you have a story to tell, tell it!

Beyond academic variables, we want to see that students are a good match for Pitzer College. Do your values resonate with ours, and vice versa? If yes, have youdemonstrated so throughout high school? Have you articulated why you believe that you’re a good fit with the Pitzer community at every stage your application? Have you shown a committed interest in Pitzer by researching our school, taking the time to interview in person or over the phone, or submitting a MyCollegei video-interview? These are just some of the things that we think about when making these difficult decisions.

But you have some decisions to make, too! How do you know if you’re a good “match” for a particular school?

It’s impossible to find the right college if you don’t know yourself. I asked a couple of college counselors to describe some of the questions they ask of their students to assist in the college search process. Below is a list of questions that you might use to reflect on the kind of person and student that you are. The results of this self-reflection process might be surprising. I encourage you to be honest and creative. Scribble furious notes if you must! Your answers to these questions should produce an interesting composite of your interests and goals, against which you can compare the offerings of different schools.

Many thanks to Stuart Oremus (Director of College Counseling at the Wellington School in Columbus, OH), Moira McKinnon (Director of College Counseling at Berwick Academy in South Berwick, ME), and Maureen Ferrell (Director of College Counseling at The Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, OH) for taking the time to share your valuable experience and insights.

Thinking about high school…

  • Which course or courses have you enjoyed the most? Why?
  • Which course or courses have you enjoyed the least? Why?
  • What do you choose to learn when you learn on your own? Consider interests pursued beyond class assignments: topics you choose to study for projects, independent reading, jobs or volunteer work, activity period choices, etc. What do your choices say about your interests and learning styles?
  • Have you worked up to your potential in high school? Is your transcript as it stands now an accurate reflection of your abilities and intellect? If not, why not? And if not, what is the best measure of your potential success in college?
  • How have you changed and grown throughout high school? What would you change about your high school years thus far? What do see as goals left to accomplish before graduation?

Thinking about your other interests…

  • What activities do you enjoy most outside the academic day?
  • How would describe your role in your community and school? What do you consider your most important contribution?
  • Has any summer experience, work, travel, study, etc. been of special significance to you? Have you lived in other places? How did these experiences effect you? Is traveling abroad a “must” for your college experience?

Thinking about your world…

  • What do your parents expect of you? Have they expressed any ambitions/goals/plans for you? Are they realistic? How have their expectations influenced your goals and standards for yourself?
  • What two or three issues in the world concern you the most? Are you actively involved in dealing with these issues?
  • What qualities do you admire most in the adults with whom you relate?

Thinking about college…

  • How do you want college to be different from high school?
  • How do you want it to be the same?
  • Are there things you never had the opportunity to do in high school that you’re looking forward to doing in college (sports, writing for the newspaper, Greek life, art, etc)?

Questions to ask of colleges…

  • What are you most proud of about your school?
  • What is the best/your favorite part of your college?
  • How does your college embrace diversity?
  • What makes your college’s community unique?
  • What is the social life like at your school?
  • At the completion of a 4-year degree program at your school, what do you do to aid your graduating students?
  • What traditions do you have at your school?
  • Please describe the relationships between faculty and students.
  • What three/four adjectives best describe your institution?
  • What are the most well-known majors at your college?
  • What is you school’s philosophy?
  • What is the main focus of your school’s educational system? Is it predominantly undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate?
  • Please describe the school spirit at your college. How is the school spirit manifested on campus?
  • What stands out/is distinctive to you about an admissions application when you are reading it?
  • What are the advantages of attending a private/independent high school before college?
  • What is your retention rate following freshman year?
  • At your college, do the majority of students live on campus? Do most students stay on campus on the weekends?
  • Is there a large city near your school and do many students take advantage of this while in college?
  • Who are some of your distinguished alumni?
  • What safety precautions are taken at your school?
  • In general, how would you describe the student body?
  • Please describe the relationships between students and their advisors.
  • What financial aid is available at your school? Is money given predominantly through grants, loans, or work study programs?

So in the days and weeks ahead, we hope that the enthusiasm, anxiety, and perspiration that you put into the college application process will yield a diversity of results. Not only in the form of thick and thin envelopes, but in terms of your own personal growth. Be honest with yourself. Be enthusiastic! Forget about brand names and rankings. You will always be pleasantly surprised if you remain open to the adventures that you haven’t imagined yet. Let the reading begin!


Posted by Adam Rosezweig, Admission Counselor

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