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Recommended Reading and Listening for Anyone Applying to College

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Michael Yager College Coach

Written by Michael Yageron March 29th, 2022

I started my journey in college admissions working in the small liberal arts environment at St. Lawrence University in New York and then Wheaton College in Massachusetts. In addition to recruiting students and making admissions decisions, I served in a number of other roles as an admissions officer at both schools, including athletics liaison, on-campus events coordinator, and technology implementation committee. After more than a decade in college admissions and Northeast winters, I made the switch to working in a high school setting as the director of college counseling at The Baldwin School of Puerto Rico, an International Baccalaureate World School. At Baldwin, I was a member of the curriculum design team and also the head coach for the varsity girls basketball program. Most recently, I moved to Texas, where I worked as the associate director of college counseling for Fort Worth Country Day and a seasonal application reader for Texas Christian University.
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by Michael Yager, former admissions officer at Wheaton College It’s time for spring break! Finally, a chance to hit pause on classes, quizzes, practices, and rehearsals and press play on some much needed rest and relaxation (and hopefully a little sunshine). As a former high school counselor, I always considered spring to be an exciting time: Seniors rushing into my office to share their news and anxious juniors starting to drop by more frequently with questions. This is often the time of year when I would kindly (but often) have to ask my juniors to cite the sources of the information behind their initial questions. In addition to being a great time for beaches and service trips, spring break is also when juniors are beginning to hear a lot of chatter from (well-intended) senior friends, cousins, and neighbors who are approaching the tail-end of their own college application and selection journey. While there can certainly be value in mining information from family and friends about their college application experiences, I wouldn’t encourage you to make them your starting point or go-to source of information. The college admission process is an individual journey that can (and should) be exciting for both students and parents as they reflect, dream, and prioritize goals and aspirations. I would encourage families to start their research process by going to the professionals first: school counselors, college admission offices, and private college admissions consultants are all primary resources with vast experience and knowledge that runs much deeper than one admission cycle. While gaining access to these professionals may have been more of an obstacle in the past, that is no longer the case. One of the positives of living through COVID times is the amount of content that has been generated surrounding the college admission process over the past two years. While you may not be able to sit down and have a conversation with the director of admission at one of your favorite colleges, you can now access their advice, thoughts, and suggestions in a podcast segment or YouTube clip. For many students and parents, the hardest part about engaging in the college admission process is taking that first step. The age old question of, “Where do I even begin?” Podcasts are an excellent start! Below are a few of my favorite admission podcasts that are loaded with industry experts providing excellent advice on a number of topics. Podcasts
  • Getting in: A College Coach Conversation: Our own weekly podcast discussing all topics related to college admission and financial aid. You’ll get our insider’s perspective, tips, and advice to navigate this dynamic process.
  • Inside Admission: Hosted by Andrew Palumbo, VP for Enrollment Management at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, this show offers a behind the scenes look at college admissions, with a heavy focus on decision makers and their opinions on issues in higher education.
  • Inside College Admissions: Scoir, Inc., provides timely discussions on the admission process, with the goal of providing more transparency to parents and students.
  • College Admissions Decoded: This bi-weekly podcast presented by the National Association of College Admission Counseling is a little shorter than the others I’ve recommended. It’s a straight-forward, fact-oriented show that focuses on the tangible steps that you can take to have success in the admission process.
Of course if you’re sick of podcasts at this point and just want to isolate yourself somewhere quiet with a book, there are admissions classics that will help to serve as great kick-starters to this process. I’ve listed several book recommendations below. Books

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