I opened up the thick envelope and was immediately confused. There were lots of columns, numbers, and jargon I was not totally familiar with. I felt like I was reading something in a completely different language. Instead, I was just reading the financial aid award from the graduate school I had just been accepted to. The application process seemed easy enough, but now I was trying to figure out the complex system known as financial aid.
“Just be yourself!” I told a student just the other day.
When I think about it, I have used that same line many times. I know it is the type of advice that is easier said than done, but there is a lot of truth to it. For high school students, the admissions process is a stressful and pivotal time of their life. It can be one of the first times when students make a major decision about what is important to them. How do I learn best? Do I want to be far away from home? What do I want to do with my life? These are all questions that students ask themselves in the admissions process and they are important questions.
As a college counselor, one of my favorite aspects of the Coalition Application is the Collaboration Space feature. Education is an inherently collaborative process and this is certainly true of the admissions process. The fact that the Coalition Application realized this and made collaboration a central component to their platform is fantastic.
It was 2 a.m. and I was sitting in my office laughing uncontrollably. No, there was no need to be concerned about my wellbeing. I was laughing because of the essay I was reading. As a freshly minted admissions counselor at Kenyon College, I was in the thick of my first “reading season”, a caffeine fueled marathon, where I read a few thousand applications and evaluated prospective students for admission to Kenyon.