Oakridge students and their parents heard from admissions leaders with the University of Oklahoma, Spelman College, Trinity College, and Tulane University at the 2020 College Night:Deans' Panel held Jan. 30 in the Fine Arts Performance Hall.
Director of College Advising, Mrs. Kellen Lewis, moderated the evening, which was sponsored by her office and the Oakridge Parents' Club. The discussion ranged from how students can make themselves stand out from other applicants during the admissions process to considerations that should be made when a student and his/her family are seeking to find the right fit.
"Consider the application as your personal narrative," said Tiffany Nelson of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. "It is your (the students) story to tell. We look for all the reasons to admit the student, so spend time telling us who you are. If there are concerns that occurred during your academic career, tell us. Tell us why you decided to stop certain activities. It is your application and your story to share."
On finding the right fit, students were urged to do some self-reflection and to visit the campus in-person.
"I'm a big proponent of a student getting onto the campus that they're applying to," said Jeff Blahnik of the University of Oklahoma. "The students who stand out during the application process have taken extra steps. Ask yourself what are you looking for. Selectivity is great, but there are many colleges that have great value. Find the right fit."
Brad Booke, of Tulane University in New Orleans, echoed Blahnik's sentiments and encouraged families to consider pre-college programs as a way of learning more about the school in which a student is interested. "These often last one-week during the summer and students can experience the campus to see if it's a good fit."
Adrienne Amador Oddi, of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, reminded students of the importance of making personal connections and develop professional relationships. "Get to know the admissions officer at the school that you want to attend, so that they can advocate for you and connect the dots.
After the panel discussion ended, the college representatives led breakout sessions in the Upper School. The topics included:
- Current Trends in College Enrollment
- Making Sense of Standardized Testing
- Financing a College Education
- Surviving & Enjoying College Conversations at Home
Many families said the information they received was invaluable and that they appreciated being able to connect one-on-one with college admissions representatives at Oakridge.