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Making the Transition to College: A Parent’s Perspective

Kennon Dick

Written by Kennon Dickon May 11th, 2016

I started my career as an admissions counselor for Johnson State College. Soon after that, I served as associate director at Drexel University, where I was also the athletic liaison between the admissions office and coaches. In addition, I spent a few years at Drexel working with transfer students, reviewing applications, and developing articulation agreements with area colleges. Moving to Swarthmore College, I served for eight years as an associate dean of admissions and again as the athletics liaison. My years at Swarthmore in what I call hyper-selective admissions is where I gained much of the experience I use to help me guide students in putting together the strongest application possible.
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For Seniors, The Transition to College Has Already Begun

It’s official, my daughter is going to college.  She, her mother and I all huddle around the computer as she pays her deposit and clicks send. It’s very exciting for her to finally have made a choice; she’s excited to start this next phase of her life.  However, as the discussion afterward progresses, I realize that the process for her at this stage is totally different from mine.  I waited until the summer to find out who my roommate would be and hoped we would be compatible coexisting in a small room.  I nervously wrote letters over the summer to introduce myself and establish a rapport before the start of school.  Still, it was with anticipation that we met on move in day and relaxed as we came to the realization that it was all going to work out.  Over time, we settled in and were roommates for the next two years. My daughter, on the other hand, already has chosen a roommate she was comfortable with and had been talking with her regularly for months.  As soon as she was accepted, she joined the college’s Facebook page and was talking with lots of students that were also deciding where to go.  Upperclassman were part of the group and helped the admitted kids figure out what clubs were geared toward their interests and who to talk to about being an education major.  During the spring as more and more students started committing, the discussions turned to “trolling for roommates” as my daughter describes it. Likes, dislikes, interests, personal habits were all up for discussion.  As weeks passed, she connected with a student from Maryland who has a lot in common with her. Over 250 videos on the college’s YouTube channel gave her a really good sense of the feel of student life, the experience she would have in her major, and the clubs she wants to join.  She’s already in communication with the student that runs Habitat for Humanity, the club running team and a professor from the education department. I asked her what finally sold her on the college, she clicked a few links and up popped a video of a current student working with a mentor teacher in a special education classroom.  It was interesting, dynamic and displayed the command of the classroom that this young college junior already possessed.  We finished watching and she turned to me, “That’s what I want to do.”  And it fit her. I’m sold too, and five months before I was prepared to be. She’s already a part of the community. Whitepaper-CTA


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