Deans host Family College Night

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Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff/Chronicle

Upper School Dean Sara Miranda describes the factors that make up each college or university’s ranking.

Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff

The Upper School Deans hosted a virtual College Night for seniors and their families Tuesday, featuring a presentation about the admissions process in general as well as workshops on individual topics.

Upper School Dean Sara Miranda, who also served as Director of Admissions at Brandeis University and Emerson College, led the opening presentation. She began the event with a poll asking families their preferred vacation destination. Miranda then revealed that the U.S. News & World Report, which publishes college rankings, chose Disney World as its top destination. She said this unexpected result suggests there is much more to choosing a college than its ranking.

“Imagine if we ran our college process and just let the U.S. News & World Report tell us what the best school for us was going to be,” Miranda said. “How silly would that be? You’re going to need to take [these rankings] with a grain of salt.”

You’re going to need to take [these rankings] with a grain of salt.”

— Sara Miranda

Miranda also said that Deans are very limited in how much they can communicate with college admissions offices about individual students.

“There seems to be a rumor out there that someone is going to call up [Harvard College Dean of Admissions] Bill Fitzsimmons and we’re going to tell him: if you’re going to take five kids this year, we think these are the five you should take,” Miranda said. “That is not how it works. It is not that simple, he would not take our call and that is not real.”

During the second stage of the College Night, attendees chose to enter separate Zoom rooms, each focusing on a specific aspect of the admissions process. Topics included financial aid, college interviews, the University of California application process and college arts programs.

Gisele Stigi ’22 said despite already being familiar with much of the information shared during the event, it was encouraging to hear updates from the school.

“Applying to college is so stressful for everyone, so I’m really glad that HW is making the effort to keep us informed,” Stigi said. “I thought a lot of it was reassuring, even if I already knew most of what was being said.”

Amanda Korris ’22 said she appreciated the resources the school has provided to make the admissions process less of a burden.

“Although the college process is daunting, the College Night offered valuable insight into the many facets of the process,” Korris said. “I’m so glad our Dean team is able to provide such a wealth of information to students.”