Charting the Course to College

College Admissions 101 seminars gives employee parents information and structure for the application process

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christophe Guttentag speaks with parents at a recent College Admissions 101 Seminar. Photo courtesy of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christophe Guttentag speaks with parents at a recent College Admissions 101 Seminar. Photo courtesy of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

For Jameca Dupree’s son Demecio Adams, hints to his future can be found in a shared Google document the family has maintained for the past few months.

The document lists around 20 colleges that Adams, a senior at Durham School of the Arts, is considering. Next to each school, there are important application deadlines, information about tuition costs and, in some cases, thoughts from visits.

“I just like to be organized and have all the information,” said Dupree, the director of business services for Duke Libraries.

Jameca Dupree, left, and her son Demecio Adams, right, are currently navigating the college application process. Photo courtesy of Jameca Dupree.Dupree and her son have an organized, informed college application process thanks in large part to the “College Admissions 101” seminar hosted in September by Duke’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The seminar is open to full-time Duke University employees with children nearing college age. There’s another seminar entitled “College Knowledge” that’s aimed at younger students.

“It’s a complex process,” said Christoph Guttentag, dean of Undergraduate Admissions. “It’s a process that benefits from attention and organization and planning. We’re lucky enough to have this expertise in our office, and we wanted to make this information available to the broader Duke community.”

The sessions offer basic insights on how to plan for the college application process, what to think about when selecting a school and how to take advantage of the Duke Children’s Tuition Grant Program. The seminar does not focus on admission to Duke or any other specific college.

Dupree found the information helpful.

“He’s my first child going through the process, so I just wanted to learn more about the timeline,” she said. “Some of the information I was aware of, but it wasn’t until I got to the seminar that I got some good tips about being organized.”

Among the tips Guttentag said parents find most helpful are to encourage students to commit to activities that interest them instead of trying to impress colleges and to apply only to schools that the student has a compelling reason to want to attend.

“That makes for a better match between the student and the institution,” Guttentag said.

Jameca Dupree said the Google document was an idea she got from a seminar. She also followed advice from the seminar about creating an email account for her son, that they can both access, that was solely for the college admissions process.

“That way we don’t miss anything, and we can both stay on top of everything,” Dupree said.

Dates for "College Admissions 101" seminars will be communicated to university employees when the next sessions draw near.

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