On our last episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Ian Fisher and his guests covered a variety of topics for students and parents in different phases of the college search. Seniors in the midst of making their college decision will enjoy hearing the first segment about “rah rah” schools (i.e. schools with strong school spirit). Juniors who are just starting their college search process will not want to miss Ian and Tova Tolman’s in-depth conversation about how to research colleges. And, finally, senior parents who want to learn about how to talk to their kids about making the final college decision based upon finances will want to tune in for the last segment of this week’s show.
Ian’s first guest, Amy Alexander, was a Division I athlete in college, and has two kids who chose colleges with strong sports cultures. Ian and Amy chatted about the positive aspects of this “rah rah” culture, and how it can be a community builder, an equalizer, and a bridge builder within diverse student bodies. Ian pointed out the network of sports fans and alumni that span generations and can create important connections that will last a lifetime, and Amy countered by discussing the negative aspects of a pervasive sports culture. Together, they wrapped up the topic with a robust discussion of about colleges that have strong school spirit that is not based upon athletics, but on other, often unique, aspects of the college experience.
Next, Ian welcomed Tova Tolman to talk with juniors about how to start their college research, acknowledging that the simple instruction “go research some colleges” can sound terrifying when you consider there are over 4,000 colleges in the country. They offered some great suggestions on how to begin narrowing the search and provided several useful “snapshot” websites that can be used to research colleges. From there, Tova offered some advice on how to notice the commonalities between colleges you like, and how to authenticate your first impressions of a place. Juniors who are just getting started on the search will appreciate this segment!
Ian’s last guest on the show was yours truly, and we discussed the intricacies of making your final college decision based upon finances. We talked about the importance of bringing finances into the conversation early in the college search, and then for families in the thick of making a decision right now, we offered parents some practical advice on helping their child make an educated and reasonable financial decision. The theme of this segment was about understanding (and helping the student understand) the long-term consequences of borrowing too much to pay for college. We wrapped it up with a brief conversation about the many advantages of attending your “safety school,” and pointed families toward Ian’s recent blog post on the topic.
Don’t miss our next show, when Beth Heaton will be back to talk about the inner workings of the admission office at the University of Pennsylvania, and she and a college finance expert will tackle our listeners’ numerous and varied questions.