In the seventh episode of the About Admissions podcast, AdmitHub co-founders Kirk Daulerio and Andrew Magliozzi are joined by guest co-host Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul's Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing.
Part of what makes Jon great at communicating with students is that he knows first-hand how transformative a college education can be. He is a first-generation college graduate, whose parents didn't graduate from high school.
After one year at Iowa State he dropped out and worked in a factory for a year before transferring to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa (Go Duhawks!) and studying English literature. He says he had an epiphany while working in the factory. His co-workers "were good guys, but uneducated" and helped him realize that having an education could make his life better in and of itself, regardless of any impact it might have on his job prospects.
Jon talks about the aspirational impact parents often have on their children's education, how they want their kids to progress further than previous generations and potentially attend more elite schools. However, he provides a word of caution by saying "there's no such thing" as the perfect college.
According to Jon, what matters is not which college you attend, but what you do when you're there. "Where you go to college, X, Y or Z, probably makes less difference than what you put into it," he says.
He says that the tendency to focus more on where to go to college rather than what you do during college isn't the right mentality. His wife calls this fallacy "the Kardashian effect." Jon explains:
"She talked about how the media focuses on the Kardashian weddings but no one pays attention to the marriage afterwards. ... So I think in this country we focus on the admissions process and don't focus enough on what happens after you get admitted and start enrolling in college. I think that's unfortunate, and I think it makes it tougher to be a student these days. There's that pressure."
Jon continues to say that some lessons can't really be taught and must simply be learned.
"It's just hard to tell kids about something you have to experience. We can't tell them what they need to know -- they need to live it."
Jon and the guys then talk with Rudy, a high school senior from Sudbury, Massachusetts. Rudy is passionate about programming and video games, but he's excited to learn about coding operating systems in the future. He wants to stay close to home and go to college in Boston. He's curious to know whether grades are the most important factor in getting into college, so Kirk, Drew and Jon offer some perspective and help Rudy get ready to apply. They discuss how Rudy's internship at TechStars (of which AdmitHub was a member in the Boston Summer 2015 class) could be a powerful piece of his application.
If you're a student and would like expert advice our applying to college, drop Oli (AdmitHub's virtual college coach) a line on Facebook Messenger to help you through the process!
You can also listen to this and other About Admissions episodes from AdmitHub on SoundCloud.com/AboutAdmissions.