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Faculty, staff to receive tips on the college search process

By : Eric Coker

Admissions will turn its attention to faculty and staff when it offers a program for employees with children approaching college age.

“Navigating the College Search/Application Process: A Program for Parents” will be held from noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in UUW-325. Registration is encouraged at training.binghamton.edu.

The program will feature information, tips and advice on the college search process from Nick Forcier and Tom Gaube, assistant directors for undergraduate admissions.

“The logistics of the college search draws anxiety,” Gaube said. “You hear things from guidance counselors; you hear things from family and friends. You have a lot of different people shouting at you. This program will answer some of the questions people might have.”

Gaube and Forcier will begin the session with an overview of the process that examines key elements such as standardized tests, campus visits and building relationships with the admissions offices of prospective schools.

The benefit of parents and students making connections with schools is just one example of an insider’s tip that Gaube and Forcier can provide.

“The parents have their own anxieties, such as cost,” said Forcier, who specializes in international recruiting. “The kids can’t wait to go to college, but their anxiety is about interacting with college admissions representatives. They don’t want to call and talk because it’s intimidating. They want to send you the instant message.

“We always say that it’s harder to reject a student you’ve met and can put a personality with and a level of enthusiasm with.”

Gaube pointed out that there is more to a student than a test score or grade point average.

“We’ve had students who may not have had the highest SAT scores, but have been involved in amazing entrepreneurial things or have been involved in organizations that have shown leadership abilities,” said Gaube, who specializes in New England recruitment. “We absolutely want that student here.”

Gaube and Forcier will follow their presentation with a Q&A with participants.

“We want to cram a lot of good information into a short amount of time because I think we’re more concerned with addressing the issues the attendees have,” Forcier said.

Denise Chewens is one participant who already has questions ready for the program.

Chewens, an administrative assistant in the Sociology Department, is in the initial stages of the process with her daughter, a junior at Vestal High School. Among the things she is wondering are: How should you begin the search? How important are SAT scores? Is it beneficial for your child to take the ACT?

“It is nice to have something for parents to learn from,” she said. “Any information that I can get is good.”

Forcier and Gaube both said another component of the program is introducing Admissions as a resource for faculty and staff members going through the search process with their children.

“I don’t hesitate to contact the Math Department when a student has a question about algorithms,” Gaube said. “(Faculty and staff) shouldn’t have any concerns about contacting us. It’s our job and a service we provide.”

“We want to be available not only to the students from our respective regions, but to our colleagues as well,” Forcier said. “This is a campus community.”

Forcier and Gaube said they hope to continue the program in the future, possibly expanding it into a series of sessions that focus on specific topics.

“The biggest thing for me is that people leave feeling like their concerns have been addressed,” Forcier said. “It’s so difficult to watch families, especially families of first-generation college students, try to figure this out on their own. We want people to leave saying, ‘This is something I can do’ and ‘If I get stuck, there are people willing to guide me a little.’

“At the end of the hour, if people feel like they have an ally or resource on campus, it will be a successful program.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08