I’m Going to College! Now What?

It’s summer! For recently graduated high school seniors it means one thing: college.  The summer between high school graduation and starting college marks an important time -- a time of transition. Students are excited and gearing up for what is sure to be the best four years of their lives, but hopefully, what is also going to be a time of growth and learning. Most of the time, students start college with some knowledge of what to expect and what they want to gain from this experience. Working on a college campus and constantly being surrounded by students I find myself thinking back to my own transition into college. The transition process from high school to college was a little bit different for me as a first-generation college student; to be honest I’m not sure I really understood how important and significant it all was, and it wasn’t just because I was your typical 17-year-old. Being a first-generation student means that your resources and knowledge are sometimes limited. I … [Read more...]

I have an IDEA…

Each year WACAC offers several pre-conferences for admission professionals to address specific topics in more depth during the annual conference.  Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA), is one of the pre-conferences.  IDEA is designed to create a safe space that encourages and supports the discussion of issues of diversity that are often sensitive and require careful dialogue.  We feel it is important for all college admission professionals to attend and be a part of this important dialogue to learn from one another. We strive to share information and incite discussion with our colleagues to remain up-to-date and well informed on best practices. This year’s theme addresses the multiple and intersecting identities of our students and how these are manifested  through the college admission process and beyond.  We have designed a pre-conference that will address the process of self-identifying with and negotiating multiple identities.  Workshop topics will include working … [Read more...]

There IS Crying in College Tours

The recipe for a college tour chaperone, apparently, is equal parts cat-herder, Realtor, and grief counselor. Last month, I was one of five chaperones for the Ivy League Project, a Central Valley group that took 32 students on an East Coast college tour. Almost all of them were Latino, first-gen, high-achieving sophomores or juniors. These were some of the lessons I learned over spring break: -- Planning a college tour for others really is much tougher than planning one for yourself. If you dare to fly 32 West Coast teens to the East Coast, you can overcome some setbacks. But the devil’s in the details. Our charter bus driver was chronically late, so we missed parts of our scheduled campus visits and half of the Broadway show for which we had prepaid. As for the students, they’re used to more personal space back home. They didn’t move as fast or as orderly as the crowds they impeded in D.C. and Boston. I lost count of the times I called out, “Walk on the right, pass on the left!” … [Read more...]

Waiting to Hear Back From Colleges

I turned eighteen on March 1, which for me marks another challenge I'm trying to face with as much courage as possible: a statement of intent. May 1 is the deadline for many high school seniors across the nation to send in an enrollment deposit to a college they will attend in the fall. My birthday reminded me that all I have worked for, all my parents have worked to help me with, is turning a new page for me. After I submitted my last college application on the 15th of January, I wanted to crawl into my covers and forget that my applications were in the review process in admissions offices across the nation. I am done with the application process and I can no longer change anything I did or did not do in the course of my lifetime to try to better impress college admission officers. It is a difficult thing to accept. Ultimately though, I understand that it is impossible to try to change anything at this point. Hearing Back From Colleges I received my first college acceptance … [Read more...]

Why Are You Going to College?

1,332. This is the number of college essays I have read to date this season. I’m getting to the point where I need to blink every few minutes to prevent my eyes from drying out. Amidst the daunting process that is reading season, I find myself stopping every couple of hours, taking a deep breath, and refocusing on what it is I am looking for in each application. I remind myself that the application I am about to read is like no other I’ve read to date. It’s easy to lump all stories together and lose sight of the one key difference between applications: context such as how and where the student grew up, her cultural background, and if she is the first in her family to attend college. All of these details significantly impacts her understanding of a college education and the story she will tell. As a first generation college student myself, I remember the college search and application process like it was yesterday. I knew I had to go to college. That was never a question. Why you … [Read more...]