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Admissions Beat Profile

Admissions Beat

English, News media, 5 seasons, 77 episodes, 2 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes
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.”
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Finishing Strong: Year-End Thoughts and Summer Homework for Rising (and Graduating) Seniors

As the school year ends, Admissions Beat host Lee Coffin holds his final “office hours” with listeners for this podcast season. For graduating seniors, he advises them to “finish strong” and check their inboxes as pre-matriculation communications arrive from their chosen college. For parents preparing to say goodbye as seniors head to college in the fall, he offers practical and philosophical advice on letting go—and in taking comfort in the logistics of the transition to college. And for rising seniors, summertime is the season to sketch out the stories they want to tell in their applications and to keep exploring. Jacques Steinberg, former New York Times journalist and co-author of The College Conversation, joins Dean Coffin for the season finale.
5/21/202439 minutes, 18 seconds
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“I’m good at math…”

What if math was a fundamental skill you could develop, rather than something you were simply good or bad at? Engineering programs are designed to blend theory with practice—analysis with practical problem solving. But engineering also spans organically across disciplines into the humanities and social sciences. This week on AB, host Lee Coffin dives into the undergraduate realm of engineering programs with Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services at MIT. They discuss how to begin preparing for those experiences in high school and where a student’s untapped engineering potential might take them.
5/7/202447 minutes, 28 seconds
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Admissions Beat Live: Parents and Seniors Take the Mic

What advice do this year’s high school seniors and their parents have for those who will follow in future college application cycles? AB host Lee Coffin and Jacques Steinberg, co-author of “The College Conversation,” recently put that question to an audience gathered on the Dartmouth campus for admitted students’ programming. We also asked them what they learned, what they wished they had done differently, what boundaries they established for their respective roles as applicant and advisor, and how they managed the stress of it all. Tune in this week to hear what they told us, in their own words.
4/30/202456 minutes, 16 seconds
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The conversations, debates and diverse voices that animate a college campus are essential elements of an undergraduate experience. As seniors visit campuses for accepted student open houses and as juniors follow tour guides for introductory visits, AB host Lee Coffin shares an essay he wrote on the importance of assessing campus dialogue as part of those visits.
4/23/20247 minutes, 40 seconds
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Choosing Your Senior Year Courses and Why That Matters

“’How will this look for colleges…?’ is the most common question I get from juniors as they select senior year courses,” reports longtime college counselor Eric Monheim. For sure, the quality of an applicant’s senior year program—and the grades achieved in that course of study—is a foundational element of the academic assessment of every application to a selective college. This week, AB host Lee Coffin answers the question: “Does 12th grade count?” as high school juniors select their senior year curriculum.  Guests Elena Hicks, SMU’s assistant vice provost and dean of admissions, and Monheim, the director of college counseling at St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts, give a resounding “Yes!” to that simple question. Senior year counts, so pick your courses wisely.
4/16/202450 minutes, 59 seconds
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A Degree In Thinking

For centuries, the liberal arts have been foundational to the mission of higher education. But trying to explain the concept of this course of study — and the multifaceted roadmap a liberal arts degree provides for one’s life and work in the 2020s and beyond—can be challenging. And so AB host Lee Coffin called in a specialist: Cecilia Gaposchkin, a Dartmouth history professor whose courses range from the fall of Rome to the Crusades to the medieval kings of France. She was also the College’s longtime dean for pre-major advising.  But the subject matter of the liberal arts—chemistry or history, philosophy or French—is often less important than the skills a student learns: how to think critically, pose tough questions, write clearly and persuasively, and be a productive citizen. “A liberal arts degree is a degree in thinking,” Professor Gaposchkin advises high school seniors and juniors as they consider their options.
4/9/202445 minutes, 7 seconds
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Navigating April: Thoughts for Seniors and Juniors

Admissions Beat host Lee Coffin considers April the “13th month” of the college admissions calendar. For many high school seniors, April brings a sense of closure, as they move from receiving their admissions decisions to weighing (and deciding) where to enroll. For many high school juniors, April represents a beginning – the official start of their college search. This week, Dean Coffin presents a grab bag of tips and other advice for both audiences, as well as parents and counselors. He’s joined by AB producer Charlotte Albright and Jacques Steinberg, co-author of “The College Conversation,” an admissions guidebook for parents.
4/2/202446 minutes, 32 seconds
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Interpreting Testing: Your Scores May Be Stronger Than You Think

What constitutes a strong SAT or ACT score? What do admissions officers mean when they say they consider scores in context? If a college is test-optional, should you submit your scores, or if it requires testing, are your scores strong enough to apply? The answers may surprise you. To talk through these and other questions, AB host and Dartmouth Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin is joined by Dartmouth professors Bruce Sacerdote and Michelle Tine, whose research helped inform Dartmouth’s recent decision to reinstate admissions testing requirements, and Jacques Steinberg, co-author of “The College Conversation,” an admissions guide for parents.
3/26/202443 minutes, 30 seconds
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Learning to Read

What’s it like to read applications at a highly selective college or university for the first time? Not so long after their own college graduations, Dartmouth admissions officers Clarissa Hyde, Will Keiger, Laura Rivera-Martinez, and Jackie Pageau have spent the last few months reading and evaluating hundreds of applications. This week on AB, they join their boss, Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin, to discuss all that they’ve learned during their rookie “reading season.”
3/19/202445 minutes, 19 seconds
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Inside the Admissions Selection Committee

Ever wonder how admissions officers decide which applicants to invite to join the incoming class? Jacques Steinberg, who wrote a New York Times best-seller, "The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College," based on a year of reporting at Wesleyan two decades ago, spent a day behind the closed doors of Dartmouth's undergraduate admissions selection committee. In this encore episode from 2023, he and host Lee Coffin, Dartmouth's dean of admissions and financial aid, discuss what Steinberg saw and heard, as Coffin and colleagues considered, debated, and voted on the applications of dozens of candidates for the Class of 2027. Among the factors the admissions officers weighed: the narratives, personal as well as academic, that emerged from the various components of the students' applications.
3/12/202448 minutes, 14 seconds
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Is College Worth It?

Public opinion polls reveal a surprising shift in American views on higher education: roughly half of the parents surveyed imagine a four-year college degree as the educational goal for their child, down from near-universal support for that same goal when that question was posed a decade ago. While “college” has been a central component of the storied “American Dream” for decades, that ideal seems to be fading. This week, AB host Lee Coffin ponders the value of “college” with Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, and Anthony Carnevale, research professor and director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workplace. The two thought leaders share insights on what is afoot, including: What is the enduring value of an undergraduate degree? What majors (if any) bring a career dividend despite the rising cost of obtaining it? And does“the duality of a good job and a good life” still matter? (Yes.)
3/5/202452 minutes, 57 seconds
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Admissions Moms Who Know Too Much?

What would it be like to be a former admissions officer guiding your own child through a college search? While they know a lot more than most parents, the emotions they experience as parents—paired with the lessons they learned from inside an admissions committee—are likely relatable (and instructive) for any parent. Listen in as Lee Coffin of Dartmouth interviews three former colleagues who are now “admissions moms”: Ronnie Bernier Burnett, former assistant director of admissions at Connecticut College; Kathy Cho Seldow, former assistant director of admissions at Tufts; and Courtney Minden, former vice president of enrollment management at Babson.
2/27/202449 minutes, 16 seconds
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Keep Calm and Carry On: Navigating the FAFSA Rollout

This week, Admissions Beat wades into the topic of college affordability. For high school seniors, we provide up-to-the-minute insight and tips on navigating the rollout of the new FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is causing delays in award calculations. For high school juniors, we introduce the topic of affordability as a “non-negotiable” factor as you and your families work toward assembling a college list. Joining host Lee Coffin, Dartmouth’s dean of admissions and financial aid, are G. Dino Koff, director of financial aid at Dartmouth, and journalist Charlotte Albright.
2/20/202448 minutes, 49 seconds
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Take an 'Existential Selfie'

How might a high school junior begin the journey of self-discovery that is the bedrock of the college search? In an encore episode of Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin of Dartmouth recommends that prospective applicants point a virtual camera at themselves and snap an "existential selfie." It's an exercise that can reveal values, priorities, and guiding questions. His guests, all undergraduates at Dartmouth, provide counsel on the early steps in the college search, including advice they would give their 16- or 17-year-old selves. They are: Andrea Agola '26 of Burke, VA; Garrett Crouch '26 of Edmond, OK; Olivia Koo '26 of Los Alamos, NM; and Batuhan Saridede '26 of Izmit, Turkey.
2/13/202453 minutes, 30 seconds
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 Throughout this winter, 11th graders will find themselves seated across from a college counselor in their high school, perhaps for the first time. The topic: kicking off a process of search and discovery intended to yield a college list by the start of senior year. But where and how to begin? To answer that question, Admissions Beat host Lee Coffin of Dartmouth is joined by two former university admissions officers and longtime “friends of the pod”: Sherri Geller, co-director of college counseling at Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Ronnie McKnight, associate director of college counseling at the Paideia School in Atlanta.
2/6/202456 minutes, 8 seconds
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High School Juniors: Your College Search Begins

For our Season 5 premiere, Admissions Beat turns its attention to high school juniors. Host Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Dartmouth, previews what prospective applicants can expect in the months ahead. He encourages them to start with an “existential selfie” to understand what they’re seeking in a college experience. He and his guests also provide tips on building a college list and assessing a campus’s community and culture. Joining Dean Coffin are Thyra Briggs, vice president for admissions and financial aid at Harvey Mudd College, and Jacques Steinberg, co-author of “The College Conversation: A Practical Companion for Parents to Guide Their Children Along the Path to Higher Education.”
1/30/20241 hour, 1 minute, 6 seconds