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On Wednesday, September 16, Pingry's College Counseling Office invited college representatives from two schools—Duke University and Haverford College—along with two Pingry parents from the Class of 2020, to answer questions from Form VI parents and discuss the current college landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual event, called Senior Parent Night, included speakers Jess Lord, Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Haverford College; Kathy Phillips, Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke University; Pingry parents Keith Wargo P '20 and Lisa Billington P '20; and members of Pingry's College Counseling Office. Current Form VI parents had the opportunity to submit questions in advance and engage with the speakers through a moderated, live event chat.
One of the most pressing questions on everyone's mind was how the college landscape has changed this year in light of COVID-19, particularly around standardized testing, as many schools have adopted test-optional policies. Mr. Lord and Ms. Phillips were both in agreement that testing has always been just one of many factors considered in the admission process. According to Ms. Phillips, "Testing was never the reason to admit someone. It's just one of the factors, and Duke is not changing how it evaluates applicants. Some of the other factors Duke looks for are resilience, open-mindedness, kindness, and compassion." Mr. Lord was in agreement, adding, "High grades and test scores are signals to us, but not a reason to admit someone."
The pair also addressed additional topics such as the anticipated impact of college deferrals from the Class of 2020 on current high school seniors, how colleges are adapting their programs in response to COVID-19, and other relevant updates.
In addition to engaging with college representatives, Form VI parents heard from Mrs. Billington and Mr. Wargo, two parents who recently completed the college admission process with their own children. They shared their different experiences and advice for others, as well as updates about their children, who just started college—one student is learning remotely and the other is on campus for in-person classes. After providing some tips and lessons learned from her own experience last year, Mrs. Billington reminded attendees, "Don't wait until the end of the year to let your children know how proud of them you are. Give them all the support you can and celebrate them throughout the entire year."
For the final segment of Senior Parent Night, Pingry's college counselors announced important updates and changes to the college counseling program this year, such as the transition from Naviance to Cialfo, an online college planning platform, as well as information about upcoming events.
Although the admission season will be different this year, Pingry's College Counseling Office is just as committed to delivering high quality programming and services. A full lineup of events is already underway for the 2020-21 school year, including a recent September Senior Retreat that took place virtually (with Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech, and John Leach, Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment and Financial Aid at Emory University), upcoming campus visits via Zoom with college officials (80 visits have been scheduled already), on-site ACT and SAT testing in October for Pingry students, and much more.
Stay tuned for upcoming news about some of the creative ways in which Pingry has re-imagined college counseling programming to support students and families during COVID-19!
Contact: Dina Glasofer, Communications and Admission Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org