Upcoming Online Events Will Shed Light on Applying to College

By Rebecca Goldfine
Bowdoin's admissions team is hosting a three-part series of virtual events this semester, starting February 21, to help family members of high school juniors better understand the college application process.
Admissions office in the fall
The admissions office in the fall

Though the Office of Admissions is accustomed to providing information to families and prospective students, this will be the first time they've offered a multi-part online series about the college search and application process. The sessions are open to all, regardless of whether a student plans to apply to Bowdoin.

Claudia Marroquin, senior vice president and dean of admissions and student aid, said that her staff has become inventive in how it shares useful knowledge to a broad reach of people. “The shift to virtual platforms and tools during the pandemic has allowed us to be more creative and proactive in how we can make good information about the college search available to a wider audience of students and their loved ones," she said.

"This work has provided us a new way of serving the common good by disseminating tips, advice, and a hearty dose of empathy for a process that can be stressful and unknown to so many,” Marroquin added.

The series, "The College Admissions Process for Parents and Family Members," consists of three virtual sessions, each spaced about a month apart, on February 21, March 20, and April 24. Families can attend just one evening program or all three.

Bowdoin admissions officers will cover the following topics:

  • What to consider when building a college list. 
  • Factors that colleges consider when reviewing student applications.
  • Getting to the bottom of popular buzzwords, like “test-optional,” “holistic review,” and important financial aid terms.
  • How to prepare for a junior's summer and fall: Visiting campuses, interviewing, asking the right questions, finalizing your college list.

Each one-hour session will open with a twenty-minute presentation followed by a live Q&A.

The admissions team has offered related singular events in the past, including "So Your Student is a High School Senior: A Conversation for Parents" and “Supporting Your Student—The College Admissions Process for Parents and Families."

The earlier online events generated a great response, said Senior Associate Dean of Admissions Meg Swift, inspiring the office to do more. "From specific comments ranging from myths we helped to break, to the components of the application process, we know there is interest among families to learn as much as possible," she said.

Associate Dean of Admissions Jackie Su said the team is sensitive to the stresses that come with selecting and applying to colleges. "We recognized that this is a huge, complicated undertaking," she said. "We want these sessions to be valuable to our attendees, and to really focus in more depth on how to move their search along."

The program's three sessions, "What are you looking for?," "What are we looking for?," and "How do I learn more?," were formed around the queries that admissions officers are often asked, including how families know a college is a good fit for a student or, conversely, whether their student is a good fit for the college. 

"As the parent of a high school senior, I know well the stress and uncertainty associated with the college application process," Swift added. "It is nice to be able to walk people through the different steps and provide perspective on the different phases."

Frequently asked questions about the upcoming virtual events:

Are these specifically for families who have students interested in applying to Bowdoin or a small liberal arts college, or can anyone sign up?

These events are for all families going through the college search process, regardless of whether they are considering Bowdoin. "We want these sessions to be accessible and helpful for families, especially families with high school juniors whose college searches are getting underway," Su said. "We hope they will share some insight about our side of the desk and have something for everyone, no matter how far they are in their search."

Will there be an opportunity to submit or ask questions? 

The sessions are twenty minutes, leaving forty minutes for participants to ask questions. Officers will also be answering questions in the chat. "We’ll do our best to answer as many questions as we can, and our presentations are designed to scaffold the most important pieces we hope families can take away with them," Su said.

Will attendance be capped?

There is no attendance cap—all are welcome!

Do you need to register?

Yes. After you register, you'll be emailed a link to join the online event. Register for the February 21 event here. Find the registration for the other two events here.