admissions officer

The latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation focused on following a day in the life of a college admissions officer and financial planning for all four years of college.

Behind the Scenes of the Admissions Reading Process

For some people, the first few months of the year are for making (and breaking) their new year’s resolutions, dealing with winter weather, and, for high school seniors, waiting anxiously for their admissions decisions. For college admissions officers, however, the winter months mean something else: application reading season! With that in mind, in this weeks’ episode, guest host Ian Fisher gave listeners a peek behind the curtain of the admissions committee, with the help and insight of fellow College Coach experts and former admissions officers, Tova Tolman and Kristine Sawicki. Ian, Tova, and Kristine reminisced about the good and the bad memories from their own reading experiences. The bad: the very long days, tackling the seemingly endless of getting through all those applications. And the good: the joy of seeing a student’s story come alive, by uncovering the various layers in an application.

To help students and parents better understand the process from this insider’s view, Ian, Tova, and Kristine discussed the following questions: How much time does an admissions officer spend on a file? How many applications do they read in a day? And how do they approach an application file—what do they read first and how do they put all the various pieces of information together so that a complete picture of the student can emerge? They also spoke about the mysterious admissions committee—what actually happens in committee, what the structure is, and how different schools use (or don’t use) a committee in their admissions process. Overall, an honest and illuminating discussion on how applications are read.

Financial Planning for All Four Years of College

In the last segment, Ian welcomed back finance expert, Kathy Ruby, to help families to plan financially for all four years of college. College, for most students, means four years of tuition and expenses. Families don’t always focus on that fact, however, as they are often so focused on just getting through that first year, failing to look ahead. A good financial plan also takes into account not just four years of college for one child, but for all kids in your family. It’s crucial to think about and plan, in advance, what you are able to pay for all four years of college for each of your children. And the key word here, of course, is “plan.”  Kathy stressed the importance of having a plan, one that consists of three parts:

  1. What you’ve saved;
  2. What you can pay out of pocket; and
  3. What you are able to finance.

In addition to going through each of these three points, Kathy and Ian also talked a bit about how to be flexible in your financial planning, since, over the course of four years, many things can change.

An information packed show this week!  And don’t forget to tune in next week, for more information about financial aid and scholarship awards, as well as some great advice on starting the college application essay.


Written by Julia Jones
Julia Jones is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Julia previously worked as a senior admissions officer at Brandeis University and was the director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. Visit our website to learn more about Julia Jones.