I am a recent LU grad (June 2013, which was like yesterday, right?) AND a first year Admissions Counselor. So, in many ways, I was right there with many of you trying to figure out the completely daunting world of college admissions for the first time.

One of the true joys of the job thus far is connecting one on one with families and helping unpack this process. I talked through stats, available majors/minors, extra-curricular opportunities and the omnipresent Return on Investment question. But in all these conversations it became very clear what the true question behind all these inquiries was: “Will they be happy here?”

This realization brought some clarity to my understanding of our work in college admissions: our purpose is to make answering that one question as easy and transparent as possible. We like to think we do a pretty good job, but let’s face it – we’re biased. So we decided to ask the real experts—the parents of the Class of 2018. Here are some highlights from the survey we sent out earlier this summer to all the class of 2018 parents (speaking of Class of 2018 Parents, be sure to check out their Facebook page if you haven’t already):

What did you enjoy about the college search process?

  • Getting to know our kid better. Seriously. He was much more thoughtful than I had originally given him credit for. AND much more of a procrastinator than I had ever thought!
  • Thinking about all the possibilities. Road trips.
  • Observing my daughter’s confidence and excitement build as she learned about all the opportunities for learning and new experiences she will have available to her in college.
  • Enjoy?
  • [Many of you mentioned liking our e-mails; that should make our Benevolent Communications Overlord/Dean very happy.]

We all hope for the best… about what are you most hopeful for your student at Lawrence?

  • I hope that she will find her place, find a circle of friends, find what she loves, find where she fits.
  • That she’ll find community with faculty and students who lead passionate, inspired lives that she will learn to think radically and critically, and that she will grow as an individual and make connections she has yet to consider.
  • That when she looks back 10 years from now, she’ll feel Lawrence truly helped her grow as a citizen of this world and prepare for a successful and happy life.
  • Frankly, I hope that he remembers to do laundry.

What are you nervous about?

  • Nothing.
  • The unknown.
  • I am extremely nervous that we are spending thousands of dollars for his education and he will not be able to find a job in the field he is looking for. [You may feel better knowing that students will meet early and often with our advisors in Career Services, just upstairs from us in Hurvis Center.]
  • The distance from home and all the “ifs” that parents can imagine when the kids go away. Too many to list and not necessarily relevant, but nevertheless natural.
  • That she will forget to breathe and remember that everything will be okay and that she can handle anything.
  • He will be fine… I’m nervous about me : )

What is your favorite thing about Lawrence?

  • All the small liberal arts colleges that our son applied to (he got accepted at all 8) shared similar academic rigor and extracurricular opportunity but only Lawrence had a “think different” sort of culture. One that seems dynamic and fluid and especially conducive to intellectual thought and growth. And come on, who else wanted a 47 word essay?! ; ) That was genius!!
  • The warm, inviting atmosphere you experience when you are on campus.  You feel it from students, faculty, and administration – everywhere you go.  It feels like one big family.  You can’t fake that.
  • This question is impossible for me to answer. At every stage of the process, from inception to date, I’ve had an ADDITIONAL favorite thing about Lawrence. However, if I had to sum up, then I would answer that Lawrence in every respect has given me the most valuable reassurance, even peace, as a parent that I’m sending my only child to the best place for the next critical phase of her life.
  • Perhaps its quirkiness – that it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Our daughter is like that.
  • Zeek!
  • The food!

I suppose it should come as no surprise that our LU parents are as thoughtful and perceptive as their students (and no, we didn’t offer scholarships for best flattery—IHRTLUHC). We truly appreciate you sharing your stories, and we look forward to having the class of 2018—and their awesome parents—on campus this September!

Keep doing well and being well, as we know you always do.

Patrick Marschke (’13), Conservatory Admissions Counselor


Breaking the news to colleges

April 25, 2014

Editor’s note: Our colleague and one-time Portland-based regional admissions guru, Andrea Hendrickson, penned this blog last year. She has since joined the admission staff of another college closer to her home that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with “Read”). However, because she loves her alma mater so much (yep, she’s a Lawrentian), she has enthusiastically […]

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“Why Lawrence?” Let our applicants tell you (in 47-ish words)

April 24, 2014

On our application for admission, we ask a fun little question: “Why Lawrence? It’s a short question seeking a short answer. 47 well-chosen words—give or take a few—should work.” We appreciated some of the early questions from students about how to answer the question, along with their adherence to instructions. “Can I go with 48, […]

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The waiting… ugh, the WAITING!

April 15, 2014

You’ve probably caught on by now that there is a LOT of waiting in the college admission process: Colleges (and parents) waiting for students to submit applications. Students (and parents) waiting for schools to respond with offers of admission. And now, colleges (and parents) waiting for students to make a final college selection. As impatiently […]

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Ready to submit your deposit…?

April 11, 2014

…only to be thwarted by internet-dwelling gremlins? (We hear that from time to time.) If you are ready to join the Lawrence community for the coming fall, and wish to pay your $400 tuition deposit online, you might find the following steps helpful. 1. Log onto your admissions status page, and you’ll see a screen […]

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