Episode Two of the Podcast ‘The Search’: Getting Started

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Experts share practical advice for applicants and their families about getting into college.

Lee Coffin, and his dog, sit on his couch.
Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, continues to share practical advice about finding and getting into colleges that meet the needs of all kinds of applicants.




In this episode, “Getting Started,” two experienced high school college counselors reveal how they help 11th-graders make diverse college wish lists, zeroing in on the criteria—the “negotiables”—they and their parents value most highly.

David Clark, executive director of Nalukai Academy in Hawaii and former director of college counseling at two Boston-area independent schools, and Kate Boyle Ramsdell, director of college counseling at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass., talk candidly about how they help families identify what Lee Coffin, Dartmouth’s vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, calls the “three P’s” of a desirable college: place, program, and people.

Ramsdell also urges families to think sooner rather than later about what they can afford, but not to eliminate choices based merely on the posted tuition rate. “Most colleges have a net price calculator families can use, entering five or six pieces of financial data to get a ballpark estimate of what financial aid might be available to them,” she says.

“That speaks to the need for a solid partnership between parents and students,” says Coffin. And, he notes, even though this stay-at-home-spring has been presenting extraordinary challenges, it’s also allowing extra time to start a college search with thoughtful thorough research and discussion.

“The Search” is now available on SoundCloud and the Department of Admissions website, and will also be available on Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, RadioPublic, iHeart Radio, and Google Podcast.

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