Applying to College

Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School

Charlene Aguilar is Director of College Counseling at Lakeside School, an independent day school for grades 5 through 12 in Seattle, Washington.  A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, Aguilar has worked both sides of the desk in college admissions during her career.  She began as an admissions counselor at her alma mater in Santa Barbara and served as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford and Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Santa Clara University.  For ten years prior to coming to Lakeside, she was Director of College Counseling and Dean of the junior class at Castilleja School, an all-girls independent school in Palo Alto, California.

The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions

We're big believers in finding some humor in the college application process whenever possible. And last week a new book landed on our desks that made us laugh out loud -- The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions by J.D. Rothman, an Emmy-winning television writer and mastermind of The Neurotic Parent blog. (Full disclosure, she was also a contributor, along with College Admission coauthor, Christine VanDeVelde, to I'm Going to College --  Not You!, edited by Kenyon Dean of Admission Jennifer Delahunty.) We've often remarked that the college application process is like childbirth -- you have to have gone through it in order to really understand it. The mother of two sons, one already ensconced at the college of his choice, and another in the midst of applying, Rothman is an acute observer of the road to the fat envelope, including the bad actors, personal foibles and patent absurdity that can sometimes characterize this process. We recommend you pick up her book if someone in your family is in the midst of this rite of passage.

If I Knew Then... Part 2

More advice from current college juniors and seniors, as well as recent graduates, about creating a list of schools where you will apply. Take advantage of the 20/20 hindsight of these students and recent grads about what they learned after they arrived on campus.

Lauren Buchanan, from Los Altos Hills, California, now attending Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA, addresses the basics and notes that the "culture" of a school includes things like the laundry facilities!

The best thing you can do in creating a list of colleges is to diversify: small or big, stretch school or safety, etc. It is important to have a wide range to choose from so that you can be absolutely certain you choose the right place.

Chat Leonard, Metro Academic and Classical High School

Chat Leonard is Director of College Counseling at Metro Academic & Classical High School, a magnet school in the St. Louis University neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. She joined the administration of the school she calls "one of the gems of the St. Louis public school system" last year, after 13 years as a College Counselor at Clayton High School. Named one of the top 100 public schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine, Metro prides itself on its diverse ethnic and socioeconomic student body, where 50% of the 326 enrolled students are African American who live within the St. Louis city limits. In Ms. Leonard's first year as Director, 100% of her students went on to attend four-year colleges.

J. Robert Spatig, University of South Florida

J. Robert Spatig, Director of Admissions at the University of South Florida, joins us to answer five questions this month -- and even treated us to a bonus sixth answer!

A public research university, USF is located in the Tampa Bay region of the Sunshine State, home to the NCAA Division I Bulls and one of the nation's top centers for the advancement in research of treatments for Alzheimer'sParkinson's andHuntington's diseases.  Join Spatig here to learn more about the students and the admission process of this incredibly diverse university that enrolls more than 47,000 students across four campuses.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...

For the next few weeks, we'll be posting advice from current college juniors and seniors, as well as recent graduates, about creating a list of schools where you will apply. We've had some terrific responses from those who know best about this step in applying, including the choices -- and mistakes -- they made, the things they wish they had thought about, and their recommendations for today's high school juniors. Take advantage of the 20/20 hindsight of these students and recent grads about what they learned after they arrived on campus.

Valerie Kuznik from Cleveland, Ohio, now attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, looks at the characteristic that many students often start with -- the size of a college -- and provides some insight into what that meant for her: