meet an admissions counselor

1707_2915_DiProsperoWe’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find an educational consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce Lauren DiProspero.

Where are you from?
Lauren: I grew up in Ridgewood, NJ.

Where did you go to school?
Lauren: Bryn Mawr College and Teachers College, Columbia University for my Master’s degree.

What did you study?
Lauren: I studied Political Science.

Where did you work?
Lauren: I worked for Stanford University, Columbia University, and the University of San Francisco.

What are you reading right now for fun?
Lauren: I recently finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I am always looking for book recommendations!

You have a free weekend and carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything. What do you do?
Lauren: I love to travel and explore so I would go someplace I haven’t been. My dog loves to hike so I also really enjoy finding new dog-friendly hiking trails.

What was your favorite thing about college?
Lauren: My favorite thing about college was meeting so many strong, intelligent, and amazing women. I attended a women’s college and loved every moment of it. The women I met were, and continue to be, so inspiring. My college was pretty small but I met women from across the country and around the world. College really opened my eyes and helped me think about things from a new perspective.

What about your college experience was different from what you expected?
Lauren: There was a lot about college that was different from what I expected. In hindsight, the one that stands out to me was being required to take core requirements. Coming from high school, it seemed natural to be required to math, science, etc. Although I am glad I had the opportunity to explore them at a higher level, because you never know what might finally click, I knew I was never going to major in math or science—it simply was not my strength or interest. I would have loved to spend those credits exploring topics that truly interested me. That being said, I would never change my college based on whether or not it had these core requirements!

What’s your philosophy on college admission?
Lauren: Keep an open mind. You will be learning a lot about yourself through this process. You will learn a lot about yourself in college. The major you think you want may not be the major you end up choosing. Try not to focus on a small subset of schools. Research and explore schools you may not have heard of before. There is more than one college that is the right fit for you.

What aspect of the college admissions process do you most enjoy working on?
Lauren: I love helping families break down the college admissions process into more manageable pieces. It can be complex and daunting at first but once you understand how the pieces fit together, the process is not as scary as it first seems.

What is the most common mistake you see from students that can easily be fixed?
Lauren: I think the most common mistake I see is the fixation on a small set of schools based on the newest rankings. There are so many wonderful colleges and universities across the United States, all of which will help you grow and learn throughout your four years. The best approach is to be open to colleges you may never have heard of—it could change your life.

How do you encourage students to look beyond the schools they know to find hidden gems?
Lauren: I recommend students read books like Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope. I also talk about my own experience in the college process. I find a lot of students dismiss schools like single sex colleges or less well known schools until they meet someone who attended one. Busting some of the myths can go a long way to get students to think outside the brand name schools.

What in your mind makes a good college essay?
Lauren: A good college essays makes me want to learn more about you. The best way to do that is to be authentic and letting the reader hear your voice.

What are some important things you’ve learned during your time as a College Coach educator?
Lauren: I learn so much from the team on a daily basis. I am thrilled to work with colleagues that have so many different experiences because it really enhances what I can bring to conversations with students.

What would you say to your high school self if you could coach him/her through the process?
Lauren: Enjoy the process! It is a great time to learn more about yourself and to start thinking about what you want to do with your life. Where you attend college will not determine your life in the way you think it will in high school. Also, after you get into college, no one will ask you about your SAT score!

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Written by Lauren DiProspero
Lauren DiProspero is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Lauren worked as an admissions officer at Stanford Medicine and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.