Admissions Beat

Admissions Beat

On the Admissions Beat, veteran dean of admissions Lee Coffin from Dartmouth College provides high school seniors and parents, as well as their counselors and other mentors, with “news you can use” at each step on the pathway to college. With a welcoming, reassuring perspective and an approach intended to build confidence in prospective applicants, Dean Coffin offers credible information, insights, and guidance—from the earliest days of the college search, to applications, decision-making, and arrival on campus. He does so by drawing on nearly 30 years of experience as an admissions leader at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. In Season 2, premiering Sept. 20, 2022, with new episodes dropping weekly throughout the fall, Dean Coffin and his guests will help seniors winnow college lists as deadlines approach; weigh variables such as testing and financial aid; polish essays and, ultimately, hit “submit.”


November 29, 2022 29 min

In the second part of our two-part season finale, Admissions Beat lays out the decisions that applicants will soon receive in response to early applications they submitted this fall — admit, decline, or defer — as well as various strategies they might consider employing in response. Whether you are a high school senior who applied under a binding program (such as early decision) or non-binding (early action) — or the parent of some...

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With most applicants entering the final weeks of the college application season, Dean Lee Coffin of Dartmouth has assembled a “home stretch" toolkit of advice for high school seniors and their parents. In Part 1 of the two-part Admissions Beat season finale, the action items include: putting the last touches on a balanced college list; assembling the remaining pieces of an application; monitoring deadlines, and being sure that ...

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November 15, 2022 34 min

How do admissions officers read and interpret high school transcripts, the official academic record of the courses an applicant has taken in high school and the grades received? And what role do “school profiles” play? They are the narrative descriptions that high school counselors prepare for admissions offices, chock full of context on a school's student body as a whole, and the wider community the school serves, among other ...

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This week on Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin goes deep in conversation with three Dartmouth students to elicit their  perspective on the college admissions process, as well as their advice for current high school seniors in particular. In a frank and wide-ranging conversation, the three undergrads touch on the emotional stress of their admissions process, as well as steps to mitigate it. (Each said they wished they had “chilled ou...

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November 3, 2022 32 min

On Oct. 31, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases challenging the long-standing use of race as “one factor among many" in the undergraduate admissions processes of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. While the Justices’ eventual decision is not expected to affect the selection of the Class of 2027, it could have a seismic effect on the processes that admissions offices will use to choos...

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For many families, the cost of a college education — as well as considering the various options for paying for it, and understanding how to apply for financial aid — is among the most stressful aspects of the college search. This week on  Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin, dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth, is joined by Gordon “Dino” Koff, Dartmouth’s director of financial aid. Together, they break down and explain e...

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October 25, 2022 34 min

For would-be college applicants, questions about “place” are crucial to the discovery and search process. Place may mean the geographic setting and physical attributes of a campus, and whether students can envision themselves there. But it can also encompass dorms and classrooms, and whether classes are primarily taught by faculty or assistants; the quality of support services, whether academic or social-emotional; and climate, not...

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October 18, 2022 48 min

As high school seniors seek to narrow the lists of colleges to which they are considering applying, they might size up the potential finalists against a rubric that Dean Lee Coffin of Dartmouth calls “The Four P’s.” They are: program, people, place, and price. But to what extent should a fifth “P" — an institution’s relative prestige, or reputation — factor into the decision-making process? And what about a key driver of reputa...

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October 11, 2022 44 min

Dean Lee Coffin of Dartmouth says that “any application to any college is the union of two things: data and voice.” In this encore episode of Admissions Beat, first aired in July 2020 on its predecessor podcast, The Search, Dean Coffin turns to the storytelling and narrative elements (and opportunities) of an application. Along with guest Meredith Reynolds, a former Tufts admissions officer who is the associate director of college ...

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For high school seniors, the standardized testing landscape is more of a maze than usual these days. In this episode of "Admissions Beat," host Lee Coffin of Dartmouth provides tips on navigating the complex topography of testing. He is joined by two guests: Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services at MIT, and Leigh Weisenburger, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at ...

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September 27, 2022 82 min

BONUS EPISODE: This week on “The Admissions Beat,” the tables are turned on our host, Dartmouth Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin, as he’s interviewed by high school senior Aidan ElDifrawi and his father, Ash, on the most recent episode of their podcast, “Hold Me Back,” nominated for a People’s Choice Award.  Their conversation, which we’re pleased to cross-post on the “Admissions Beat” channel, ranged widely. Over the course of the di...

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In the Season 2 premiere of the Admissions Beat, host Lee Coffin, Dartmouth College’s dean of admissions and financial aid, provides a detailed overview of this fall’s college search and application process – with a goal of ensuring high school seniors across the U.S. and around the world, and the parents and other adults who are supporting them, are ready for the tasks, decisions and deadlines in the weeks and months ahead. On tod...

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April 1, 2022 36 min

It's finally here, the end of this year's admissions cycle (and soon, the beginning of a new one). Applicants are on edge as they wait for the long-awaited email or letter to arrive, letting them know which colleges or universities are inviting them to join the class of 2026. Lee Coffin and producer Charlotte Albright talk candidly and practically about how to process that news, and how to sift through the forthcoming avala...

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March 22, 2022 44 min

For high school juniors, March opens the starting gate to a yearlong marathon. It's time to begin the journey toward colleges or universities that offer what they need, what they want, and what they can afford. After a fact-filled news roundup, host Lee Coffin and producer Charlotte Albright devote an entire episode to answering questions that often arise when college admissions officers visit secondary schools. Whether or not ...

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March 1, 2022 41 min

"What are you going to do with that?" It's a question many an English or history major hears from parents who are concerned that they may not find meaningful, gainful employment after graduation. But data show that humanities students are employed at rates comparable to other majors, earn good salaries, and do increasingly well over the course of their careers. Scott Muir, project director for Study the Humanities, an i...

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February 21, 2022 37 min

In this Junior Kickoff sequel, Lee Coffin asks his guests, Matt Hyde, assistant vice president and dean of admissions at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pa., and Kate Ramsdell, director of college counseling at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass., to help high school juniors and their parents get a sure-footed start on applying to college. Step one: know thyself. Step two: understand that the best school for you may be one yo...

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February 14, 2022 33 min

This is the time of year when college admissions officers are invited to high schools for "junior kickoff" events, helping 11th graders get a sure-footed start on discovering, choosing, and applying to college. Consider this two-part episode a virtual kickoff, beginning with a roundup of news stories on the admissions beat, and followed, next week, by practical suggestions about how to begin your search. Lee Coffin's gu...

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February 7, 2022 65 min

As eight Dartmouth athletes compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics, Lee Coffin asks Interim Athletic Director Peter Roby for game plans that could help high school sports stars gain admission to the colleges of their choice. And in the Admissions Beat Newsroom, there's fact-filled discussion about what a recent Supreme Court ruling may mean for college athletes.

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February 1, 2022 49 min

College admissions officers typically form close working relationships that stretch across campuses and decades. In this episode, Lee Coffin catches up with Claire Matthews, the dean who gave him his first job, at Connecticut College, in 1990. Matthews also hired Jim Bock, who is now the vice president of admissions and financial aid at Swarthmore College. The threesome re-unites for a lively conversation about mentorship and about...

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January 24, 2022 41 min

Making its own news this week, Dartmouth expands its longstanding need-blind admissions policy to include international students. Lee Coffin explores the far-reaching impact of this change with Greg Manne, who oversaw international admissions for Dartmouth before taking a new job as manager of selection and outreach for Rise, an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, which provides lifelong benefits, including scholars...

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