October is the start of a busy season for the WRA College Counseling Office. New Director of College Counseling Anna Barlow-Boesch said her team — consisting of Betsy Barry, Jennifer Easley and Emily Parliman — has a packed month in store for not only students, but parents, too.
"October is already a big month in the world of college counseling because it's the lead up to application deadlines for early action and early decision," shared Barlow-Boesch. "And 90% of WRA seniors will submit a college application by December 1. At the same time, as this application cycle for the members of the senior class culminates, we immediately dive into engaging more with the members of the Class of 2022."
Barlow-Boesch says there's a lot of activity at once and this time of year tends to be student-focused, so one of her first orders of business as the new director was to make sure parents felt engaged during this time as well.
"October is also a busy month for parents as they play the supporting role to their students," she said. "We want to address parents for the pivotal role they play during all of this, and we want to ensure they have the information they need so they understand the process and know what to expect. Plus, thanks to COVID-19, we are in an admission cycle that looks unlike any before."
To fill this gap, Barlow-Boesch and her team designed a series of events for parents of students going through the college process.
"We've created five pre-recorded webinars and two live webinar presentations geared toward what parents might find useful as their students embark on this journey of applying to schools. Any WRA parent is welcome to participate. We've spent a lot of time brainstorming the content and anticipating questions such as, what does it really mean when a college says they are Test - Optional, what do colleges value, and how do admission teams shape an incoming class?"
The live webinars will be hosted by Barlow-Boesch and feature college admission deans and directors from top liberal arts colleges and research universities. The first event on Tuesday, Oct. 6, is titled College Admission in a COVID-19 World, and the next event on Thursday, Oct. 8, is the Junior College Counseling Kick Off.
Barlow-Boesch envisions these to be about 45 minutes each, with time for questions. Everything will be conducted through RingCentral and parents will be able to participate in a moderated chat so the presenters can answer parent questions.
"We've engaged with college admission professionals from six different schools including Bowdoin College and The University of Chicago who are on the front lines and can offer expertise to our parents," added Barlow-Boesch. "These are all amazing admission professionals who we know can offer a huge wealth of experience and valuable perspective to our parents."
The pre-recorded webinars are each about 30 minutes long and will feature WRA's College Counselors and other members of the WRA community.
"Emily Parliman partnered with Associate Director of Admission Jordan Shriver to discuss the admission process for international students," said Barlow-Boesch. "Jennifer Easley worked with the Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dr. James Greenwood on the topic of DEI in college admission, and I worked with Varsity Boys Lacrosse Coach Dylan Sheridan '03 and Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Programming Pete Hutchins on athletic recruiting."
Starting on Monday, Oct. 5, parents can access the first webinar, Meet the College Counseling Team, on the WRA College Counseling Portal through MyReservePortals on WRA.net. Additional webinars will be released every few days through October 21.
According to Barlow-Boesch, there's more to come.
"Once we get through October and mid November, we will continue to advocate for our seniors as they go through the college application process while also meeting with members of the Class of 2022. We'll definitely explore other parent programming for the winter months. Long term, we hope to do something with virtual case studies and mock application reviews."