choosing a college

The Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us, so while families are getting ready to enjoy the holiday (and the holiday meal!), host Elizabeth Heaton has a full feast of information for students and parents in the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation. In addition to a double helping of admissions and financial aid questions, Beth also helps parents and students who may be thinking about transferring colleges after their first few months away.

Thinking about transferring?

It’s a fairly common holiday phenomenon. College freshman, after being away at school, return home for the holidays and decide that they want to transfer to another school. Always a difficult issue to tackle, but never fear—former admissions officer at Drexel University and Swarthmore College, Kennon Dick, is here to help parents maneuver the conversation with their students. In addition to his admissions experience, Kennon is very well qualified to tackle this topic, as a parent of two college students, both of whom transferred.

Beth and Kennon start with the basic question: what’s the first thing parents should do? The first step, Kennon explains, is to figure out where the desire to transfer is coming from. What’s at the root of it? Is it just part of the student’s normal growth and changes in first few months of college, or is there something bigger going on?

Kennon and Beth also discuss specific things families should think about if they do indeed make the choice to transfer. Kennon provides guidance on things to consider in the search process for the potential new school. They then wrap up the segment by addressing the one area that often contributes to thoughts about transferring: social media. Kennon and Beth share ideas on how to incorporate that topic into the discussions about the college experience thus far.

Got questions? We’ve got answers!

Feeling full yet? Hope you’ve left room for dessert, since here comes the always informative and popular Q&A segment. This week, Beth welcomes back former financial aid officer at Boston University and Tufts University, Shannon Vasconcelos, to answer listener questions. Beth and Shannon tackle the following questions, submitted via Facebook, Twitter, and email:

  • If your child’s school offers AP classes freshman year, does she need to take them that early to take the ‘most rigorous’ curriculum possible?
  • How can you get a fee waiver for the SAT?
  • How do highly selective colleges value different AP courses? Are some more valuable or advantageous to take than others?
  • Are scholarships stacked or blended?
  • How much averaging and approximation is acceptable on the activities section on the Common Application?
  • How does home equity affect financial aid?
  • Should my children be reaching out to the admissions counselors at their colleges of choice to build a stronger relationship with them?

For the answers to all these questions, pull a chair up to the table and have a listen! And be sure to carve out some time after the holiday for our next new show, when host Sally Ganga covers more tasty topics: math and science majors vs. engineering majors; supplemental essays for Loyola Marymount University and Occidental College; and part one of a two-part series on repaying student loans.


Written by Julia Jones
Julia Jones is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Julia previously worked as a senior admissions officer at Brandeis University and was the director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. Visit our website to learn more about Julia Jones.