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Meet an Admissions Counselor: Ryan Creps

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Written by Ryan Crepson June 2nd, 2022

I joined the College Coach team after many years in selective college admissions. I began my career in the foothills of the Adirondacks at Hamilton College, where I coordinated the selection of international and transfer applicants and evaluated prospective student athletes. I most recently worked at Brown University, where in addition to reviewing first-year applications, I conducted the preliminary review of recruited Ivy League student athletes, trained the seasonal admission staff on application evaluation, and reviewed applications to the baccalaureate-MD program. I have also served on national scholarship selection committees for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, The Gates Scholarship, and the APIA Scholars.
Learn More About Ryan
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 Ryan Creps. Where are you from, where have you lived, and where do you live now? I was born and raised in Grinnell, Iowa. Although I chose to attend college in my hometown and didn’t leave the Midwest until my sophomore year of college, I have since lived in Cape Town, South Africa; Cairo, Egypt; Clinton, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island. I currently live in Rochester, New York, the proud home of the culinary masterpiece known as the garbage plate. What do you do for fun or to relax? I love being outside and spending time with my dog, Rocky. We go up to the Adirondacks often and are working our way through the 46ers. Since Rochester is blessed with lake effect snow, I can snowshoe in the area eight months out of the year (only a slight exaggeration). 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? A strange thing happens about a decade after college. You have a consistent job and you are ready to stop dealing with landlords so you buy a house. You then immediately realize you know nothing about taking care of a house. My internet rabbit holes consist of learning about steam heat systems, the proper method for rewiring outlets, and the appropriate time and way to prune a rhododendron. I also read a lot of “dad jokes.” I’d share my favorite construction joke… but I’m still working on it. -- Where did you go to college and what did you study? Grinnell College, B.A. in Economics; Providence College, M.Ed. in Higher Education What was your favorite thing about college? Was anything very different from what you expected? The opposite of loneliness! I attended a small, residential liberal arts college in a rural community. Due to the location, few students left campus on the weekends. With nowhere to go, the students created their own fun. Since the student body was small and diverse, this environment offered a tremendous opportunity to build relationships with people from different backgrounds. The uniqueness of this environment only became evident after graduation. If you want to learn academic content, you could go to any college. If you want to gain a broader perspective, go to a small college in the middle of nowhere. 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? Part of my professional fascination with the college search is that my search was so limited. I visited five colleges, applied to three, and chose to attend the college in my hometown—a town of 10,000 people, by the way. Although I could tell the high school me to do more research, visit more colleges, and submit more applications for a “better college search,” it is easy to let the “what ifs” consume the college search process. At some point, you have to trust your gut and appreciate your experiences. For that reason, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. -- Where did you work in admissions and/or counseling? The Doane Stuart School, Office of College Counseling; Brown University, Office of College Admission; Hamilton College, Office of Admission What aspect of the college admissions and/or counseling process do you most enjoy working on? I love building the college list. On one hand, the college list is a science that requires the calculation of grades, tests scores, and academic rigor. On the other hand, it is an art of listening to the desires of students and families and understanding the institutional characteristics and priorities of colleges. I have yet to find a search engine that can handle the complexity of building a quality college list. Until that day comes, I’ll be happy to use my abundance of trivial college knowledge to help students identify college choices. What in your mind makes a good college essay? Keep it simple. How do you spend your time? What are you interested in? What are the major moments of the last three years? Answers to these questions will uncover some good essay topics. A good college essay should highlight something about you that you want colleges to know about you. Last but not least, make sure your essay ends on a positive note—admission officers, like Disney, love happy endings. How do you guide and nurture students through the college list process, from initial research to narrowing the final list? The college search and application is a formative process. I believe in scaffolding the workload to help the student build autonomy and efficacy while they also develop self-awareness and humility to seek support when needed. I hold students to high standards like the adults they are soon-to-be while also providing flexibility to meet with them at times that are convenient for busy high school students. How would you describe your counseling style? I am a question master and a listener. My ability to support students and families rests on my clear understanding of what they want out of the college process. As a counselor, I am not making any decisions; that is the responsibility of the student and the family. With that said, given my insight from the world of highly selective admissions, I won’t hesitate to share my opinion on the competitive realities of applying to college. To learn more about Ryan, visit his bio.

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