Vice Provost Coffin Takes ‘The Search’ Into Season Two

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The podcast series will offer timely tips about navigating college admissions.  

Lee Coffin
Zoom photo by Robert Gill 

“The Search,” an admissions-themed podcast hosted by Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, begins its second season this month.

In season one, Coffin and his guests demystify the college admissions process, which, because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, shifted into a fully remote format that was challenging for many potential applicants to navigate.

“Families were understandably nervous,” says Coffin. “If they couldn’t visit colleges, or even access their high school guidance offices, how could they research the best schools for them? How, with in-person classes, standardized testing, and many extra-curricular activities on hold, could they tell their stories in a compelling way on their applications? And how could they understand the complexities of financial aid, which, for many families, is a non-negotiable factor in a college search? Our podcast introduced stuck-at-home applicants and their parents to admissions experts to answer questions and offer reassurance that college was, in fact, within reach.”

In season two, Coffin moves beyond discovering college options and crafting applications as he examines the next steps of the search process for current high school seniors.

“’The Search’ is sponsored by Dartmouth, and some guests are members of the College community, but it takes a broad approach to selective college admissions,” says Coffin. “We want to help all high school juniors and seniors find their way forward in their college search, wherever that path might lead.” 

Season two’s first episode explores the invisible but critical process admissions officers call “Reading Season”: the task of diving into thousands of applications and looking for reasons to say “yes” as a new class takes shape. Coffin pulls back the curtain on this essential phase of each admissions cycle with Vassar’s admissions dean and Middlebury’s admissions director for a lively discussion of what they dub “the work of the work.”

“I see ‘The Search’ as an act of admissions citizenship,” says Coffin. “My conversations with admissions leaders and school counselors are designed to empower students to move forward, to reassure them that we might be isolated but we are not alone, as this year’s admissions cycle reaches its finale in early May.”

Listeners can subscribe to both seasons of “The Search” through the Office of Admissions as well as Spotify, iTunes, and related pod platforms.

Season two debuts on Monday, March 22.

Charlotte Albright