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Pingry Families Engage with Over 30 College Representatives at "Ask the Experts" Event

On the evening of April 15, students from the Class of 2022 and their parents gathered virtually to meet with 33 college admissions representatives from across the country, and one abroad. They discussed recent trends in school admissions, greatly influenced by the pandemic, and gleaned advice around the upcoming application process. 

The Zoom-based event was a reimagining of the school's annual—and much-anticipated—College Case Study Night, during which the Office of College Counseling invites admissions counselors to the Basking Ridge Campus to participate in mock admission committees with families of juniors.  

Pingry's Dean of College Counseling and Director of Student Support Services, Tim Lear '92, kicked off the evening with a lighthearted, personal story around some of the more humorous situations he's faced this year at home, including the day his son dressed up as a talking mime for class (despite the fact that it was not, actually, a costume day). Following Mr. Lear's opening, additional members of Pingry's College Counseling Office introduced each panelist, sharing some amusing and relatable pandemic experiences from the last year.

After learning about the admissions panelists, Pingry parents and students (more than 250 in total!) were randomly assigned to one of 12 breakout rooms. Each room included two or three admissions representatives, purposefully selected to reflect different types of schools in different geographic regions. A Pingry faculty or staff member moderated each discussion.

Prior to the event, Class of 2022 families were invited to submit questions, and their inquiries ranged from asking advice about whether to take the SAT or ACT to what some of the panelists' favorite essays were this year. A number of parents and students also asked their own follow-up questions live, which provided additional, real-time insight that would otherwise be difficult to ascertain.

According to College Counselor Cherilyn Reynolds, one of the lead organizers for the event, the evening was an overwhelming success, as she received a number of complimentary messages from parents, students, and the college representatives. She was also quick to note, "An event of this magnitude would not have been possible without the incredible technology support of Pingry's System Administrator, Dave Azar."

After approximately 45-minutes of interactive Q and A's in each group, a final student question from one of the groups concluded the evening: What is the most fun activity on your campus? Answers included appreciating the amazing food at Washington University in St. Louis, noticing the breathtaking sunsets and scenery around Gettysburg College, and participating in Southern Methodist University's "fountain hopping" graduation tradition. 

Interested in some of the advice imparted by the admission experts? Here's a sampling:

  • Take a deep breath and don't forget to experience the wonder of senior year!

  • Set parameters and do not talk about college every night.

  • Don't listen to the noise. This is your process—not your friends', not your parents', and certainly not your friends' parents.

  • Sometimes the best essays are based on the everyday, the little things. 

  • Check your emails! We can tell when students open them. Plus, if you don't read information from schools that are of interest to you, you miss out on learning more about them.

  • Keep an open mind and apply to the schools that feel right to you. Find a school whose program is meaningful to you.

Colleges and universities represented at "Ask the Experts":
Bates College, Boston College, Bowdoin College, Bucknell University, University of California Los Angeles, Carleton College, University of Chicago, Colgate University, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Dickinson College, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gettysburg College, Emory University, Haverford College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, College of the Holy Cross, University of Michigan, Northeastern University, University of Notre Dame, Olin College of Engineering, Princeton University, University of Richmond, Southern Methodist University, University of St. Andrews, Syracuse University, Vanderbilt, University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, Wellesley College, University of Wisconsin, Yale University

Read more about the Office of College Counseling's virtual programming this year, including Senior Parent Night last fall.  

Read about College Counseling's annual College Case Study Night in the Fall 2019 issue of The Pingry Review

Contact: Dina Glasofer, Communications and Admission Associate,