Episode 12 of Podcast ‘The Search’: Admissions Then and Now

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Dartmouth’s Lee Coffin talks about the college admissions process.

Lee Coffin


As the world remains gripped by the pandemic and buffeted by economic distress, many high school juniors and seniors are wondering, “Is it worth it? Should I just take a gap year and defer college for while?” 

The answer, of course, varies with each student. But in this episode, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin invites a director of college counseling, a former dean of admissions, and a journalist who covers higher education to talk about what has changed in college admissions, and what remains the same.

“I think it is important for families not to give up hope,” says Jacques Steinberg ’88, author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College. Even in the midst of this catastrophic economic period, he says, it’s possible to get a college education and be able to afford it.

“It is going to take some extra effort to get information,” Steinberg says, adding that this podcast series is, in itself, a valuable resource.

Even as admissions officers adapt to new realities, they share a longstanding, common goal, says Coffin.

“How do we make an effective bridge between home and college, between where someone is and where they hope to go?” he says. “I come back to my own story. It changed my life to go to a liberal arts college. And seeing that opportunity as still being true is a really important, reassuring moment in the work we all do.”

“The Search” is now available on SoundCloud and the Undergraduate 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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