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Meet an Admissions Counselor: Brian Swann

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Brian Swann College Coach

Written by Brian Swannon August 18th, 2022

I started my career in higher education as program coordinator at the Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching at Hamline University’s School of Education. My interest in diversity, equity and inclusion work took me to the Carleton College admissions office, where I initially served as Assistant Dean of Admissions & Coordinator of Outreach Programs. While in this role, I directed the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) summer program, worked closely with the POSSE Foundation and read applications from students all over the United States. After I was promoted to Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions & Coordinator of International Recruitment, I became responsible for crafting the strategic direction of our international recruitment. This included developing in person and virtual recruitment strategies, revamping application review policies, making final decisions on applications, and managing the financial aid budget for international students. While serving in this capacity, I also served as the men’s athletic liaison for our office.
Learn More About Brian
We’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find a college admissions consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce Brian Swann. Where are you from, where have you lived, and where do you live now? I’m originally from Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve lived in Chicago, Minneapolis, and St Paul, Minnesota. I currently live in Roseville, Minnesota with my wife and five-year-old daughter. What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to lately? I’m currently listening to Thundercat’s It Is What It Is and watching The Good Place and Abbott Elementary. I just finished reading The Privileged Poor and have started God Save the Queens: The Essential History of Women in Hip-Hop. What do you do for fun or to relax? I love to play tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and broomball when I can get a free moment. Even though I’m terrible at playing it, I love watching basketball (college and professional). I also have fun helping my daughter with her Legos. When I have enough planning time, I enjoy experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen and grill, and I’m fond of trivia and card games. What are some of your interests—things that fascinate you or send you down internet rabbit holes, or things you love to learn more about? How much time do you have? All joking aside, I love learning about the oddities of geography and their intersections with history and culture. Searching for anything on Google Maps is an invitation to explore! I’m also equally fascinated by the use of sampling in music and making connections between modern music and the past. -- Where did you go to college and what did you study? I attended Carleton College and majored in Sociology/Anthropology. I also received a Minnesota 5-12th grade Social Studies teaching license. What was your favorite thing about college? Was anything very different from what you expected? There was so much I loved about college! My favorite thing has to be the lifelong connections I was able to build with my classmates and professors. I knew I’d get a phenomenal academic experience, but I didn’t realize I’d meet so many amazing people along the way. I loved studying abroad and stretching my boundaries in and outside of the classroom What would you say to your high school self if you could coach them through the research and application process? What would you have done differently? Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! There are so many great schools out there to explore. Keep an open mind and use as many resources as possible to make sure you’re engaging in a thoughtful college search. -- Where did you work in admissions and/or counseling? Most recently, I worked in the Carleton College admissions office, overseeing our international admissions team and serving as part of the athletics liaison team. Prior to that, I was Carleton’s coordinator of outreach programs and directed the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience, a highly selective summer program for 10th grade students. What in your mind makes a good college essay? A good college essay should help the admissions officer get a sense of how you’ll contribute to their campus, inside and outside of the classroom. How do you guide and nurture students through the college list process, from initial research to narrowing the final list? My approach is to help students think holistically as they build their initial list, while also giving space for them to identify why particular schools appeal to them. From there, we can work together to refine the list while staying mindful of deadlines, application strategies, and more. How would you describe your counseling style? My counseling style is supportive yet firm, with plenty of room for conversation and reflection. To learn more about Brian, visit his bio.

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