choosing a college

In the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Elizabeth Heaton and her guests offer up some valuable insight on choosing a college and answer both college admissions and finance questions from our listeners.

Big Fish, Little Fish

In the first segment, Beth and her guest, College Coach expert Kennon Dick, tackle the age old question: is it better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond? Kennon, who has experience in admissions from two very different sized “ponds” (Drexel University and Swarthmore College), first explains what the question really means when it comes to college.  Then, Beth and Kennon dive further into these two options, discussing the benefits and challenges of each. The type of student who thrives more in a “small fish, large pond” experience is one who is used to having peers as a resource to learning. These are students who typically want to learn from others around them, who are comfortable with a growth mindset. Students who gravitate to the “big fish, small pond” experience are ones that are looking for a place to shine—and the added benefits of this environment include gaining more attention from professors and greater access to more opportunities (such as research, internships, etc.). Beth and Kennon wrap up the conversation by stressing the importance of thinking about who you are going to be in college; to consider both environments, how you will react to them, and how you would handle each.

Listener Questions: Admissions and Finance

For the rest of the show, Beth and finance expert Kathy Ruby tackle the many listener questions that have come in, from both an admissions and finance perspective.

Beth provides insight and answers to the following admissions questions:

  • How can my son maximize his chances of being accepted as a transfer student to a college that denied his application as a freshman?
  • How can I get an internship?
  • What happens to deferred applications during the Regular Decision process?
  • Do senior year grades matter?

And Kathy addresses the following finance-related questions:

  • How can I make a four-year college decision based upon one year’s financial aid?
  • Is financial aid based on EFC or is it a recruiting tool?
  • Can I go back to a college and ask for more money?
  • How do I retrieve my FSA ID?

So much useful insight in this episode—and the next episode promises to be just as good! Host Sally Ganga will lead discussions on the NACAC State of College Admissions report, what to do when you’re waitlisted at a college, and how much is too much to borrow for college.


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.