On the Admissions Beat, veteran dean of admissions Lee Coffin from Dartmouth College provides high school seniors and parents, as well as their counselors and other mentors, with “news you can use” at each step on the pathway to college. With a welcoming, reassuring perspective and an approach intended to build confidence in prospective applicants, Dean Coffin offers credible information, insights, and guidance—from the earliest days of the college search, to applications, decision-making, and arrival on campus. He does so by drawing on nearly 30 years of experience as an admissions leader at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. In Season 2, premiering Sept. 20, 2022, with new episodes dropping weekly throughout the fall, Dean Coffin and his guests will help seniors winnow college lists as deadlines approach; weigh variables such as testing and financial aid; polish essays and, ultimately, hit “submit.”
Interview Tips: Let Your Life Speak
Sometimes it's required, sometimes it's recommended, sometimes it's optional. Sometimes it's conducted on campus by an admissions officer or college senior, while at others it’s at a library or Starbucks with an alumnus. It’s an admissions interview. It’s also an opportunity to build life skills. This week on Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin of Dartmouth conducts a mock interview with a high school senior from Los Angeles. They are then joined by Erica Rosales of College Match, a nonprofit, to share feedback and tips, including ways to make an interview feel more like a conversation and less like a dental appointment.
05/12/2023 • 50 minutes 17 seconds
One-on-One with the Nation’s ‘Chief Admissions Counselor’
If anyone could lay claim to the title of “chief admissions counselor” for the nation’s millions of college-bound students, it would probably be Angel B. Pérez. A first-generation college student from the South Bronx and longtime admissions dean, Perez currently serves as CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, a membership organization of more than 25,000 admissions officers, high school counselors, and other access professionals. In a one-on-one conversation with Dartmouth’s Lee Coffin, Perez offers context, perspective, and analysis of the major forces currently upending the process of applying to college and paying for it, as well as tips for navigating that landscape.
28/11/2023 • 56 minutes 6 seconds
Navigating Thanksgiving Queries from Curious Relatives
If you’re a high school senior in the United States, you may be seated around a Thanksgiving table where the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce is accompanied by a heavy dollop of questions served up by relatives curious about your college admissions process. Fear not: this week on Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin of Dartmouth and his guests lay out a holiday buffet with an array of talking points and other strategies to help students respond (or not) to the range of probing questions coming, however heartfelt and well-meaning. These include: How’s your search going? Where are you applying? What’s your first choice? Did you apply early? Pulling up a virtual dining room chair for this week’s conversation: friends of the pod Jennifer Simons of Bright Horizons College Coach and Matthew Hyde of Trinity College return for a fun reflection on navigating tricky holiday conversations about a college search.
21/11/2023 • 38 minutes 29 seconds
Fifty Podversations! An Admissions Beat Anniversary Highlight Reel
To commemorate the 50th episode of Admissions Beat, a milestone we reached earlier this season, host Lee Coffin and producer Charlotte Albright revisit some of the podcast’s most practical and enduring advice for students, families, and counselors. Their tour guide for this auditory look back is Luke Grayson, a Dartmouth junior from Seaham, England, who highlights conversations that resonated with him—and ones he believes speak to today’s high school seniors and juniors. Among those greatest hits are tips on: sizing up a campus; building a focused and balanced list; being skeptical about the word “best”; keeping testing in perspective; and enjoying 12th grade.
14/11/2023 • 58 minutes 9 seconds
College Affordability? Ignore the Sticker Price!
Wellesley economist Phil Levine and Dino Koff, Dartmouth’s director of financial aid, join host Lee Coffin for insights on college affordability and the net price calculators that often guide families through that complicated but essential question. Levine advises families to ignore the sticker price: “What will this college cost me?” is a more useful framing of this essential question. The aid experts also offer guidance on navigating the sometimes-fuzzy vocabulary of financial aid, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka, FAFSA), and the role of debt in financing high education.
07/11/2023 • 55 minutes 47 seconds
Data Dive, Part 2: Standardized Testing
In the conclusion of their two-part conversation, Yale’s Jeremiah Quinlan and Emily Roper-Doten from Clark continue their conversation with host Lee Coffin about the academic data that populates an application. This week, the group of deans focus on the role of standardized testing as part of the academic assessment. Optional or required, they ponder how does testing fits into an admission officer’s academic evaluation of each student.
31/10/2023 • 28 minutes 2 seconds
Data Dive, Part 1: The High School Transcript
In the first of a two-part conversation about the academic data that populates an application, Yale’s Jeremiah Quinlan and Emily Roper-Doten from Clark join host Lee Coffin to discuss the high school transcript as “the foundational element” of an application. The trio reflects on an admission officer’s assessment of curriculum, grades, and “patterns” as key metrics of academic merit, and they offer “a way of understanding the numbers and letters that dance around a college application, what they mean, and how we use them.”
24/10/2023 • 44 minutes 9 seconds
Acceptance: A Conversation with Author Emi Nietfeld
Author and mental health activist Emi Nietfeld visits Admissions Beat for a thought-provoking and candid conversation with host Lee Coffin about her 2022 memoir, “Acceptance.” Named one of the Best Books of the Year by National Public Radio, “Acceptance” recounts Emi’s journey from foster care and a residential treatment center to the Ivy League, which she envisioned as her escape to safety. As high school seniors imagine college essays in the weeks ahead, the pair consider the art and challenges of framing an authentic personal narrative in a college application and the risk/reward of presenting oneself as “the perfect overcomer” in that process.
17/10/2023 • 50 minutes 33 seconds
Let Your Life Speak Through Your College Essay
In the 50th episode of Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin from Dartmouth College welcomes college counselors Sherri Geller from Gann Academy in Waltham, Mass., and Ronnie McKnight from Atlanta’s Paideia School for a timely conversation about the college admissions essay as an essential component of any application. The trio of veteran admission experts channels the Quaker saying “Let your life speak” as they share insights and advice for high school seniors about drafting an effective personal narrative as a compliment to the academic data in the application.
10/10/2023 • 52 minutes 5 seconds
Inside the Admissions Process: A Senior Speaks
Admission Beat host Lee Coffin, Dartmouth’s dean of admissions and financial aid, meets “Matt,” a senior at a public high school in suburban New England, for a first-hand, student perspective about life inside this year’s college admissions process.
03/10/2023 • 32 minutes 12 seconds
An Admissions Checklist for Jittery Seniors, Part 2
Picking up where last week’s episode left off, Admissions Beat host Lee Coffin and his guests continue their conversation about the ways high school seniors (and parents, too) can address feelings of uneasiness as their college application process gets underway. Coffin, Dartmouth’s Dean of Admissions, explores the role of high school transcripts (and the patterns admissions officers discern within them), teacher recommendations (and the degree to which they matter), and the various ways parents can best support their children in the coming weeks and months (including talking about family finances and visiting campuses.) Coffin is joined once again by Kate Boyle Ramsdell, director of college counseling at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass.; Erica Rosales, executive director of College Match, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that works with low-income students, and Darryl Tiggle, director of college counseling at Friends School of Baltimore.
26/09/2023 • 24 minutes 46 seconds
Admissions Checklist for Jittery Seniors, Part 1
In the first of a two-part episode, Admissions Beat host Lee Coffin turns his attention to the high school graduating class of 2024, who may be feeling uneasy about the college admissions process as their senior year gets underway. Coffin, Dartmouth’s Dean of Admissions, imagines them in this “back to school moment” as “looking forward and saying, ‘Uh-oh, I have to apply to college.’ ” Guest Kate Boyle Ramsdell, director of college counseling at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass., agrees: “Things just got real.” To work through the many moving parts of a senior’s internal conversation, and to strategize the series of tasks and decisions that await each prospective applicant this fall, Coffin is also joined by Erica Rosales, executive director of College Match, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that works with low-income students, and Darryl Tiggle, director of college counseling at Friends School of Baltimore.
19/09/2023 • 45 minutes 24 seconds
A Guide to Navigating the Admissions News Beat
In the Season 4 premiere of Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Dartmouth, assesses the extraordinary and ongoing college admissions news cycle in recent months. He also provides practical advice for applicants, parents, and counselors on how to understand the news and steer through it as the new admission cycle gets underway. Among the topics that he and his guests discuss: the U.S. Supreme Court decision on race-conscious admissions; the potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence when applied to a college application essay; test-optional admissions policies, and the consideration of legacy preferences in admissions. Joining him are Elena Hicks, assistant vice provost and dean of admission at Southern Methodist University, and Jacques Steinberg, former New York Times journalist and co-author of “The College Conversation: A Practical Companion for Parents to Guide Their Children Along the Path to Higher Education.”
12/09/2023 • 53 minutes 49 seconds
Season 4 Teaser!
Admissions Beat will return for its fourth season on Sept. 12. Whether you’re new to the podcast or a past listener, our goal endures: to support applicants, as well as their parents and counselors, through the search, application, and financial aid process. Host Lee Coffin, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth, provides a preview of what you can expect from this fall’s episodes.