Inside the Admissions Office

Our latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation was guest hosted once again by college consultant Ian Fisher. In this episode, Ian brought back two beloved segments—Inside the Admissions Office, a peek behind the closed doors of one institution’s admissions office, and Office Hours, a deep dive into listener questions on college finance and admissions.

Inside the Admissions Office: Reed College

I (Abigail Anderson, college admissions expert) joined Ian to discuss our shared experience in the Reed College Office of Admissions. In this segment, we discussed what we were looking for in an application that signified a student’s demonstrated understanding and identifiable fit for the institution. We also chatted about some of the changes in the admissions office over the years we worked at Reed, including Reed’s shift from a generic “Why Reed?” Common Application essay supplement to a much more nuanced question asking applicants to invent a class they would like to teach at the college, and how this change impacted the reading of files. This led to a conversation that would be informative for any applicant, whether or not they were interested in applying to Reed, talking about why colleges choose particular supplemental essay questions and what they are looking for from students in those essays.

Office Hours: College Finance and Admissions Listener Questions

Kathy Ruby, former financial aid officer at St. Olaf College and Shippensburg University, joined forces with Ian to discuss questions sent in by our Getting In listeners. They tackled a wide variety of questions, including, but not limited to:


  • Why does the Common Application limit the number of entries and amount of information you can put in the Activities section?
  • What happens to an admission officer if your student is experiencing a serious case of “senioritis” and their grades begin to drop?
  • How does visiting colleges over the summer, when students aren’t around, impact the search process?
  • When should you begin SAT and ACT preparation and practice?


  • Will President Trump’s budget proposal affect financial aid applications in the next few years?
  • Is there a “best” way to spend 529 savings?
  • After accepting a federal student loan, is there anything else a family needs to do?
  • Do you have to tell a college about scholarships from local community organizations?

As always, we love being able to answer your questions on the air! If you have a question you would like answered, send them our way!

As mentioned, this was a truly jam-packed episode—tune in to hear the full answers to these questions and topics!

Our next show continues this conversation, with guest host Sally Ganga asking the question, “How much should I save for college?” Also on the schedule next week: a look at services available at colleges for students with learning differences and a not-to-be-missed segment on questions you don’t want to ask an admissions officer.


Written by Abigail Anderson
Abigail Anderson is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Abigail received her bachelor’s in sociology from Colby College. Prior to joining College Coach, Abigail worked as a senior admissions officer at Reed College and Emma Willard School. Visit our website to learn more about Abigail Anderson.