May 14, 2020
Though many of us find a linear path from high school to college, that is not the case for a set of students whose life circumstance, economic realities, and ambitions lead them on slightly different paths to higher education. This episode is all about the late bloomers among us who come at college from a wide range of experiences and with their own unique advantages.
April 16, 2020
There’s no getting away from them. And every year there seem to be new ways to rank, score, and otherwise codify the worth of attending certain colleges. But beyond the headlines and bragging rights, do these external signifiers offer insights into how to find the best fit for you or your college-bound student? A roundtable of admissions pros breaks down what matters and what doesn’t in these annual popularity contests.
March 26, 2020
So you—or your child—got accepted to college. Congratulations! But now the financial aid award letter arrives. What does it mean? How much aid are you really receiving? What if it’s not enough? Will you have to pay it all back? This discussion aims to clear up some of the many mysteries about financial aid letters. In this episode NACAC’s Mary Stegmeir welcomes three experienced and knowledgeable guests to break down what the financial aid letters say and how to apply that information in real life. Tristen Black, associate director of admissions at the University of Oklahoma, Ja’Niah Downing, associate director of admission at Purdue University, and Rachel Fishman from New America in Washington, D.C.
February 20, 2020
There’s almost too much information available about students finding a college with the right “fit” academically and socially, but what about the right financial fit? What’s the difference between a college’s “sticker price” and the actual cost of attendance? What kinds of financial assistance are available to students and their families, and from where? How much debt is okay? And when should families begin talking about paying for college? In this frank and pragmatic conversation, Jayne Caflin Fonash, president of NACAC, Tracy Jackson, supervisor of school counseling services in the Loudoun County Public Schools in Ashburn, Virginia, and Megan Coval, vice president for policy and advocacy at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators in Washington, D.C., reveal the essential steps to take and exactly what information is vital in the process. NACAC’s Mary Stegmeir moderates the conversation.
January 21, 2020
Experts say that as many as 40 percent of today’s students transfer to another institution at least once during their college careers. They choose to transfer in order to lower their college costs, find the right academic program, restart and return to college after a break, and a range of other reasons.Despite transfer’s growing popularity, the process is sometimes difficult because of problems obtaining credit for previous coursework, a lack of adequate academic counseling, troubles obtaining financial aid, and more.This episode offers tips to potential transfer students and explores ways to make the transfer process between community colleges and 4-year schools more seamless. The conversation examines new honors programs, scholarship opportunities, and pathways to prestigious baccalaureate institutions that are encouraging students and their families to consider the transfer option. In this episode, admission experts—from both theCollege Admissions Decoded is sponsored by NACAC's National College Fairs. Start your college search for free at a National College Fair, hosted annually in over 90 cities across the country and internationally. Learn more at
December 10, 2019
The college admission process can be long, bewildering and anxiety-producing for students and their families.  Many are looking for the secret formula for getting admitted to the “right” school where a student can grow, learn and thrive. How does a student find that right school? And what are colleges really looking for in an applicant? What really goes on “behind the curtain” when college admissions offices consider a student’s application?  In this episode, two experienced professionals take on these questions and try  to separate some of the facts and the myths in the college admission process. College Admissions Decoded is sponsored by NACAC's National College Fairs. Start your college search for free at a National College Fair, hosted annually in over 90 cities across the country and internationally. Learn more at
November 20, 2019
In this episode, admission experts—from both the high school and college sides of the desk—offer tips to help parents ensure their students remain the focus of the college admission process. The panelists discuss ways parents can help their children not only get into college but through it. Offering empathy and a common-sense approach to applying to college, the panelists share ways parents can be effective, supportive partners throughout the process.The episode features Ashley Pallie, associate dean of admissions at Pomona College (CA); Jami Silver, director of college advising at the Kingswood Oxford School (CT); and Sharon Williams, college counselor at the University of Chicago Laboratory High School (IL). The conversation is moderated by Juleyka Lantigua-Williams.College Admissions Decoded is sponsored by NACAC's National College Fairs. Start your college search for free at a National College Fair, hosted annually in over 90 cities across the country and internationally. Learn more at
October 29, 2019
At the 2019 NACAC national conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Jabari Sellars, a middle and high school humanities teacher at the Sienna School in Silver Spring, Maryland, spoke of the unique interests and experiences of Gen-Z students, our most diverse generation yet. He called on college counselors and admission professionals to “fight for what doesn’t fit” in the standard college transcript. He also asks us to “fight for what doesn’t fit the narrative” and to challenge preconceptions and stereotypes that prevent us from seeing students as they truly are.
October 16, 2019
In this episode, Jacques Steinberg, a member of the NACAC Board of Directors and the senior vice president for higher education and communications at Say Yes to Education and a former national education correspondent of The New York Times, welcomes Rafael Figueroa, dean of  college guidance at Albuquerque Academy and former admissions officer at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Their candid discussion of what educators and college admissions professionals can do to help students and their families achieve the goal of getting into college provides practical advice and thought-provoking questions about the purpose and the pathways to higher education.  Journalist Juleyka Lantigua-Williams moderates the discussion.
August 13, 2019
In this episode, three admissions leaders talk about the pressures from campus stakeholders; the responsibility to serve families; and how colleges are adapting to the rapid evolution of the prospective college students. David Burge, VP for Enrollment Management at George Mason University, Mary Smith, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, Gettysburg College, and Gil J. Villanueva, Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission, University of Richmond join a discussion moderated by journalist Juleyka Lantigua-Williams.
July 16, 2019
The Varsity Blues college admissions scandal sparked national concern among students, parents and counselors alike as students wondered if their qualifications would be delegitimized as a result. In this episode, we explore the messages the scandal unintentionally sent, and look at ways to assuage worries about getting into college. Incoming NACAC president-elect Jayne Fonash welcomes Sanjay Mitchell and Jim Jump. Journalist Juleyka Lantigua-Williams moderates the discussion.
June 18, 2019
Operation Varsity Blues uncovered a complex bribing and cheating scandal in elite college admissions. Guilty pleas, lawsuits, and a growing cynicism about the college admission process have raised lingering questions about access to higher education in the US. In this episode, Stefanie Niles, current president of NACAC welcomes Angel Perez, vice president of enrollment and student success at Trinity College and Jim Rawlins, director of admissions at the University of Oregon in Eugene to talk about it all.
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