Tufts University

Courtney Skerritt, The Hockaday School

Courtney Skerritt is committed to single sex education. She attended a women's college, an all-girls summer camp for ten years, and today is Associate Director of College Counseling at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, the largest independent girls' school in the country. 

"There is something special about girls' schools that is hard to put into words, but when you walk across the campus you can see it and feel it. I see an inspiration in them. They've been given the okay to believe in whatever they want to believe in and from that comes an amazing confidence. It's not for every girl, not for every student," says Skerritt. "But what I hear from my students is how much they really appreciate the ability to focus on their academics. Our girls have an active social life and they're dedicated to their friendships but when they're here, they're here. "

Great advice for Juniors from the Admission Officers at Tufts

Tufts University has an excellent behind-the-scenes blog written by the school's admission officers -- Inside Admissions. In today's post, Meghan McHale offers up spot-on advice for juniors on how to maximize what remains of their high school years. Read the whole thing here. Admission office blogs are great resources for students -- providing insight into the admission process and what the school may be looking for, as well as solid information about the mechanics of the process. Spend some time perusing the admission office blogs -- or those of professors, students, and others -- as you research colleges.

"Give us your Top Ten list": And other essay questions from Wake Forest, U of Chicago, and more...

Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post's Answer Sheet has collected some of the unusual essay questions colleges have posed this year in their supplements. One of our personal favorites:  In 2006, graduate student Robert Stilling discovered an unpublished poem by Robert Frost while doing research in U.Va.’s Small Collections Library. Where will your Stilling moment be in college? Courtesy of University of Virginia. Check them all out here.

Tufts' Admission Dean Lee Coffin has a George Plimpton Moment

Lee Coffin, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment Management at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, is having a George Plimpton moment.  Plimpton was a writer famous for his "participatory journalism" which included suiting up for the preseason with the Detroit Lions. Coffin, along with Assistant Director of Admissions Justin Pike, followed suit and donned a full set of gear -- with his bowtie peeking out -- to join the Jumbos for a preseason practice session.

Read the entire post -- Oh, Snap! -- here about his brief tenure as part of the offensive line, special teams and sprint training. "My sanity wasn't tested so much as my stamina!  I had no idea that football players needed so much aerobic capacity!" said the 167-pound Coffin.

Jim Montague, Boston Latin School, and Helen Montague, Lincoln School

Jim Montague is Director of Guidance and Support Services at Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts, a public college preparatory school serving an urban, culturally and socioeconomically diverse student population in grades 7 to 12. Helen Montague is Director of College Counseling at Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, an urban independent college preparatory school for girls from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. We are pleased to feature this husband and wife team as our counselors of the month for January in the new year of 2013. Twice the advice from a duo of counselors who approach our questions from the vantage points of two distinguished educational institutions.

Boston Latin is this country’s oldest school, founded in 1635, with 2,414 students among whom today more than 40 languages are represented. Latin admission is based on a secondary school exam and a strong academic record.  “We think of them as the best and brightest in the city of Boston,” says Jim Montague.

Dean of Admission Lee Coffin, Tufts University

This month 5 Questions for the Dean is delighted to host Lee A. Coffin, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University inMedford, Massachusetts. Join Dean Coffin to hear more about Tufts' creative "optional" essays and the school's future direction. And did you know that the Tufts all-male a cappella group The Beelzebubs are the voice behind Glee's Warblers?!?

Lee A. Coffin, Tufts University

This month 5 Questions for the Dean is delighted to host Lee A. Coffin, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Join Dean Coffin to hear more about Tufts' creative "optional" essays and the school's future direction. And did you know that the Tufts all-male a cappella group The Beelzebubs are the voice behind Glee's Warblers?!?

1. Tufts is known for its “optional” essays on the application—for example, creating a video, or the direction to do something with a piece of paper.  What is the value of giving applicants an alternate means of expressing themselves?


There are a couple of important questions bunched together in this one, so let me split up my answer.