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Episode Notes

Episode Title: Andrew Maguire on Decoding the Hidden Curriculum in the College Admissions Process.

Episode summary introduction: Andrew Maguire’s upcoming book - Hidden Curriculum, shines light on the norms, behavior, language and unstated expectations that certain types of students are unaware of, in the college admissions process.

Andrew joins us on our podcast to tell us why he is writing the Hidden Curriculum, how he is framing the discussion and the types of solutions to teach the hidden code.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • What is Hidden Curriculum?
  • The Hidden Code in College Admissions
  • Ways to Address the Inequities
  • Takeaways for Students

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Andrew Maguire, Author Hidden Curriculum [0:46]
  • What is Hidden Curriculum? [2:40]
  • College: Gateway to Economic Mobility [6:20]
  • Hidden Code in College Admissions [7:37]
  • Standardized Test Inequities [10:58]
  • College Essays [15:02]
  • Making a College List [19:40]
  • Financial Aid Policies [23:40]
  • Making it Right [29:01]
  • Who should drive the Change? [33:28]
  • Resources for Students [35:11]
  • Pointers for Int’l Students [37:52]

Our Guest: Andrew Maguire is the author of the upcoming book Hidden Curriculum.  Andrew is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Psychology. Andrew then graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.

Memorable Quote: “But people get ahead, with maybe equal merit to other applicants, because they understand the strategies of how to apply...”.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Andrew Maguire  0:13  

So, you know, I think for those who are unfamiliar with the process, college admissions feels like it's written in its own language. Right. And this is especially true for, for first generation students whose families don't have their own experiences to draw on. And so I would say that the Hidden Curriculum shows up in two ways - One is sort of tactically and one is more fundamentally.

Venkat  0:39  [Introducing Andrew Maguire, Author of Hidden Curriculum]

US College Admissions is a subject of a lot of debate, discussion, controversy and recently, scandals. Of late, it has been about equity and fairness.

Andrew Maguire in his upcoming book - Hidden Curriculum, shines light on a significant, but less publicized aspect: the norms, behavior, language and unstated expectations that certain types of students are unaware of, in the college admissions process.

These students are unaware, because these topics are not formally taught - they are for the most part learned by being in an environment, or having access to family and friends or well-resourced schools.

Andrew joins us on our podcast to tell us why he is writing the Hidden Curriculum, how he is framing the discussion and the types of solutions to teach the hidden code.

So, without any delay, here’s Andrew Maguire!

Venkat Raman  

Hey, Andrew!

Andrew  1:52  

How are you Venkat? Good.

Venkat Raman  1:56  

Likewise, likewise. So welcome back to our podcast, College Matters. Alma Matters. And it's exciting to talk to an author today. And first of all, congratulations on your upcoming book, the Hidden Curriculum, and really looking forward to talking about it today. So very well. So maybe the best place to start would be to sort of talk about what this book is all about, or this topic is all about. But I'd be interested in sort of knowing why, why this was interesting to you. So we tell us what is Hidden Curriculum and why this is interesting, to you?

Andrew  2:40  [What is Hidden Curriculum?]

Yes, Yeah, absolutely. So at the highest level, when when we talk about the hidden curriculum, we're talking about those norms, behaviors and language that have a lot of power in the education system, particularly here in the US, but are not taught, right. So these are things that are unstated, they're not taught there, they're more informal. So there, they still make up a curriculum, but it's one that's hidden the number of students who might not learn it from their families, or communities, or in some cases from, you know, the most well resourced schools or teachers. That's what we mean, when we're talking about the Hidden Curriculum. And that manifests in lots of different ways at many points in the educational journey.

For me, I began to confront that in my own experience in high school, my parents are from the UK. And so you know, I'd had some of the similar experiences of a lot of immigrants to this country. But others were easy for me, right, my parents spoke English. That's what we spoke in the house. So some things were quite familiar.

But there were still some fundamentals about the education system that my parents were just not aware of. And so that was not passed down to me as I began to navigate in particular High School and some of the college prep process in the college admissions process that came with that.

And that, that can dominate when I made it to college and even into grad school to continue to confront the sort of hidden norms and behaviors that students come in with because they've been taught that but others it will remain kind of a mystery and put them at a disadvantage in a consistent and prolonged way.

Venkat Raman  4:24  

Yeah, that's that's a very interesting point. So So I guess, I guess, basically, you're saying that people kind of know this, through just osmosis or some some process like that, as they grow up, but it isn't something that is in any organized way, taught at the different educational levels through high school or perhaps...

Andrew  4:52  

Yeah, a little bit. So I think some, some of it is through osmosis, right? It's, it's some of that it's modeled for you. Perhaps by your parents or by peers in your community. Sometimes it's exploited. Right.

And so if you're a young person in a multi generational college family, then your parents are going to, know to suggest certain ways that you might approach a faculty member, they are going to understand how the college admissions process worked because they went through it. So some of it is made explicit, right? But it's, it's made explicit, usually by informal means it's rarely explicit in a formal educational setting.

I would say that there are rare, rare cases. And usually those are some of the most well resourced schools, and we're talking here, especially about sort of middle and high schools, right, yeah. And then sometimes, and this is actually what my book focuses on. There are informal educational institutions like youth development organizations that really play a huge part in shaping, teaching and translating that hidden curriculum for those students who are often not taught that by their parents or their families. And those play a really powerful and often sort of under recognized role in helping overcome this barrier.

Venkat Raman  6:20  [College: Gateway to Economic Mobility]

So, it looks like you've taken this idea of Hidden Curriculum and tried to show how it impacts sort of going to college, I mean, the college admissions process, and I'm guessing you're picking that because that's sort of the first big step that a student typically takes in the education process. Is that, that why?

Andrew  6:44  

Yeah, that's definitely part of it. Yeah, I think it's so especially in the US, right, we have a narrative around the importance of college and how college sort of can, can help you get ahead economically. And I would say today, a lot of both families, parents and youth understand the purpose of education to unlock economic opportunity.

And so when we think about what can help young people do that the most, it's often college that's pointed to. And so thinking about how the hidden curriculum shows up in unlocking that opportunity, is really important. And the admissions process is really the first step of doing that.

Venkat Raman  7:28  

Okay, so let's just get to it, then. I mean, how does it show up? In the college admissions process? I mean, at a high level?

Andrew  7:37  [Hidden Code in College Admissions]

Yeah. So you know, I think for those who are unfamiliar with the process, college admissions feels like it's written in its own language, right. And this is especially true for for first generation students whose families don't have their own experiences to draw on.

And so I would say that the hidden curriculum shows up in two ways. One is sort of tactically, and one is more fundamentally.

So from a tactical perspective, you know, there are certain approaches to the admissions process that the hidden curriculum is a part of so, so this might be in how you choose to build a college list and sort of the strategy behind which colleges might be best for you to apply to based on your academic and financial background.

This can certainly be helpful how you prepare for and succeed in standardized tests, in how you prepare your college applications, how you write college essays, and certainly in how you apply for financial aid. And every step along the way, there is so much confusion for how this process works. And often the easiest step to cut through this is by being part of sort of that multi generational college family.

And so I find that, you know, the process can already be challenging, as we know, you know, especially for the most prestigious universities, they're very competitive. But then to have this added layer of sort of uncertainty and broken rules really impacts how you tactically approach it.

And then I think it also shows up fundamentally and how young people understand the college admissions process. And this is, again, pretty much connected to the narrative we have around education in this country, which is that, you know, education is all about merit. And the way you are selected in for college is solely on your merit.

Reality is that the college process rewards strategy, almost as much as it rewards merit. Right? I'm not certainly not going to say that your accomplishments don't don't mean anything. They mean a lot. But people get ahead with maybe equal merit to other applicants because they understand the strategies of how to apply and how to make themselves stand out as effectively as possible.

And so I think that's another way that the hidden curriculum really influences the college admissions process.

Venkat Raman  10:01  

That's actually a wonderful point. I mean, what you just made about the fundamental difference between sort of merit versus a strategy. And, and I guess there's a lot of business and industry around how to sort of put that strategy together.

Andrew  10:19

Yeah, exactly.

Venkat Raman  10:26

So, before we sort of get ahead of ourselves, so maybe the best thing to do is sort of you listed out a bunch of places in the process, where, on the tactical side, where the hidden curriculum kind of shows up. So maybe we can just take that, you know, one by one. Yeah. Maybe we can start with the standardized testing.

Let's see. I mean, what, what is, is to ask the question, somewhat controversially, what is wrong with standardized testing?

Andrew  10:58  [Standardized Test Inequities]

I don't think that's uncontroversial. It is absolutely a broken, broken system. You know, there are a lot of really bright scholars who have studied and documented the ways in which standardized testing are biased. One resource that's really accessible I recommend is Paul Tough book The Years that Matter Most, and that he really does a great job of detailing how, you know, sort of the standardized testing industry and a lot of the main stakeholders there have, have tried to avoid the reality that these tests are biased.

And actually, in 2013, the College Board which, which is the organization that runs the SAT is finally admitted in some of their own data, there is a consistent bias in their scores, that shows a direct relationship between your family's income and SAT's with lower income students corresponding to lower foreign equities.

There, there is just data to say that it is broken. And so I think when we think about why, in the end, the SAT and other standardized tests are often not really about measuring aptitude as they claim, they're about measuring test strategy. And, as you alluded to, this is one industry that has absolutely grown around this reality, to be able to help those who can afford it, learn how to have the strategy to test well.

So there's a great example again, from Paul Tough’s book, he profiles, someone named Johnson, who leads a really sought after test prep group in DC suburbs. And his approach is all about focusing less on sort of the academic content, right? How do you, How do you manage analogies, or vocab or the tricky geometry questions, and it's more of a strategies to combat anxiety during the test.

And basically, part of does that is by saying, look, students, this test is silly. And it doesn't reflect how smart you are. It's just a system that colleges have used to try and understand and approach admissions. So he tries to minimize its importance and its reflection on a student's ability. And in the process, then focus their energy on saying, Okay, if you see this kind of problem, what kind of shortcuts might you think of? Or what kind of examples might you have to sort of help you get through this question?

And that has proved really valuable, he's seen huge success with his students. And as a result, he's able to charge $400 an hour for his services. So there's a huge premium here, right. But I think, this story and his work, and you know, he is just one of many Test Prep providers around the country, and frankly, around the world.

It shows that the brokenness of this system, and I'll say, just as a final point on this, that I actually think one silver lining, there are a few of them, but a silver lining of COVID-19 is that many colleges have started becoming test optional.

And I think that this is, I hope, and I think that these policies are actually likely to stick around in many cases. And I think by doing so the admissions process will have gotten a little less biased and a little bit more inclusive, particularly for students from lower income backgrounds, who can't pay 1000s of dollars for those test prep courses, and are going to be, you know, judged and and considered based on their other merits and their application rather than a test that that really doesn't prove helpful comparison of one student's aptitude compared to another.

Venkat Raman  14:52  

Let's go to the next point that you made. I think it had to do with college essays. What's, what's the challenge there?

Andrew  15:02  [College Essays]

Yeah, so I think college essays are a great example of how the hidden curriculum shows up in a very specific way.

So when you prepare a college application, as a student, you, you receive a prompt for an essay, almost always, the common application has this, there are supplemental essays. And those prompts come with explicit instructions on what you're expected to write, and for how much so maybe, to write about a challenge you've overcome in 600 words or less.

And so we look at that and we say, Okay, well, you know, that's essentially explicit. What more could there be to that they've given me a prompt their instructions? It's clear.

But I think the reality is, underneath that prompt, there are these unseated expectations from an admissions perspective around the best ways to write a college essay. And so some of these unstated expectations are making sure that you're telling a story, right, and this is something I remember, from my high school days, some good advice, which is, imagine being an admissions officer who is reading hundreds, if not 1000s of essays at some points. How do you stand out? How do you give them a break by giving them something that feels like a true narrative and is really telling a story and makes them enjoy it and not just feel like it's sort of checking a box or a formula?

So you know, that's sort of unstated, right? Colleges are not necessarily prompting you to tell a story, but it's a really effective strategy.

Another piece of this is, sometimes you'll get more generic prompts. And an expectation or pressure that many students pick up on is that colleges want to understand about your values, and often about challenges that you've overcome, your ability to adapt your resilience.

And this can be particularly tricky for students who come from underrepresented backgrounds for many first generation students who might read into that and think, Okay, I have to tell the most traumatic or difficult part of my life. And that can be really jarring, it can be re-traumatizing, it can feel really performative or really transactional, to say, basically, you know, I feel like I'm cashing in on sort of the worst things of my life. And that can be really challenging for students to understand how to navigate that.

And so I think, there, this is another piece where there's sort of an implicit understanding of how colleges might recommend or expect you to portray yourself in an essay. But in practice, it's much more nuanced and really difficult to accomplish.

And so this is where, you know, having that individualized college counseling, like you might have at private school, really helps because then you have someone who can coach you in telling a good story and showing off some of your own experience or, or telling maybe about a challenging time in a way that doesn't feel transactional, or, or too, too intimate. And so it's a really difficult balance to strike.

But I think it's, you know, students are rewarded for, for finding that balance. And many students who know about that, and sort of those expectations that are unstated from the college, or those with the privilege to be able to decipher and decode that hidden curriculum.

Venkat Raman  18:31  

Do you know if there's any data, if you will, around this? I mean, I'm assuming that I mean, this is happening every year, for the last, you know, bunch of decades. Do we have any data at this point? Or any studies or anything of that kind?

Andrew  18:48  

I haven't Yeah, I haven't seen data? It's a good question. I think it's a tricky one to capture, right? Because there are a lot, there's lots of anecdotal evidence. And certainly that's been true in a lot of the interviews that I conducted with students, and it's true in many other scholarly pieces as well. But it's a little bit harder to capture that in a in a more quantitative way. But I'd be curious if there is some. I haven't seen any.

Venkat Raman  19:21  

Okay, so moving along, I think you mentioned College Lists, so making college lists as another element in this process that is, that is hidden. So what about what about making a list?

Andrew  19:40  [Making a College List]

Yeah, so this is very much wrapped up in, in financial aid in some ways.

But one things that I think is a big surprise, and this is something I heard from a lot of folks who work with young people is the idea that actually some of the most competitive Universities are actually some of the best options for highly achieving but low income students, I think, are for lower income students to wrap their heads around, it certainly was difficult for me to understand because you see a really large price tag on the most prestigious universities.

And so you think, well, I can possibly pay that myself. And I don't want to go into that level of debt.

The reality is that those universities also consistently have the highest endowments. And as a result, we have the most generous financial aid policies. In many cases, some of them will meet now 100% of your demonstrated need. And in some cases, they will meet 100% of that demonstrated need without loans, so it will only be through either on campus study, like work study, or grants won't have to pay back.

And so that was the case, actually, for me at Vanderbilt University, which is my undergraduate alma mater. They have committed to that in recent years, and they're one of just a few institutions to do that. And it's incredibly important in providing more accessible college space and a really top notch one at that.

So, but I think that that's important, right is to understand when, from a financial perspective, which for me, when building other colleges was was variable, number one, thinking about understanding financially policies from the universities that you might be most excited about.

If they are a stretch, if you get in, you actually probably could get more financial aid than maybe some of your schools that are considered a little bit more accessible to get into. And then I think, you know, so there are a lot of other pieces around how you think about building a college list, you know, the idea of there being sort of reaches, which are those that might on paper, you know, maybe your GPA is a little bit outside of the average or SAT scores, or out of the average, and be aspirational, right.

And then you also build sort of the quote unquote, safeties, which are, where you're probably on the top end, of course, right? And then you find some of the middle, right. Even that idea is potentially unfamiliar to people. And there's no, there's no standardized resource that we could turn to as a student to say, How do I build a college list?

And then I think that the one other piece, I think, is really important is, and this is probably the hardest one is, is finding a way to really understand what the community on a campus is like, and really hard to go beyond the pamphlets, right and, and nice, shiny websites, but finding ways to really connect with folks who are on campus in that community, or alumni who have had their experience they can share, you know, understanding what's important for you, the kinds of community you want to build, the kinds of resources you hope to tap into. And asking and trying to get those, those first hand experiences, I think is really important.

Because ultimately, you know, name brand, yes, it matters, you know, how procedures, something is? Sure I absolutely understand the value of that. But at times that masks some of the realities of what it would be like to be there in person. Right.

And so I think it's really important and helpful to be able to connect with people who have had that experience and can give you an insider's account where possible.

Venkat Raman  23:40  [Financial Aid Policies]

Is there anything else on financial aid, that, that, is an unknown? I mean, I think I think this idea of top notch universities, you know, willing to open their wallets a lot more is certainly something important for everyone. Yeah. So there are at least once that need help, consider.

But there's also this myth around, I've heard this from people saying that if they show the need financial aid, then the chances of admission are somewhat diminished, you know, this whole idea of need-blind versus need-based. What have you heard about that, what does that sort of fit in that equation? Where does that fit in this?

Andrew  24:30  

Yeah, I mean, I think that that's one of those cases that sort of straddles the hidden curriculum and what's explicit, right, because institutions do share and they do have to share what their approaches whether they're their need blind, which means that they will not they will consider application independent of your financial aid application, right. So they will not see what your ultimate need is, versus need based where it will be incorporated into their decision, which means that basically they're balancing their books so that they don't accept Too many students who would require full financial aid, and instead are trying to balance it so that they are still basically financially solvent. Right.

And so, you know, making sure that you understand that again, I think, sometimes what happens because of the sequencing of financial aid and college applications is that usually you finish your financial aid application after you've completed your college applications. And so sometimes it becomes an afterthought. And I think one thing that can be important that maybe is often unstated, is to make sure you understand what those financial aid policies look like, before you start compiling your list before you start your application.

And then be aware that if you're applying to a lot of need based organ... institutions that and you'll need a lot of, you'll have a higher level of needs, you know, keep that in mind and see if you might be able to add a few other neat blind institutions. You know, I think, being strategic about that, that matters.

I think, you know, other pieces, I would just say broadly, it's worth acknowledging in, in this moment, for folks who are listening that financial aid, the financial aid process in the US is just completely unacceptable, and you shouldn't feel bad if it feels overwhelming or confusing, you know, the primary form that we use for financial aid here is the FAFSA, which is a federally designed and kind of managed form. And it's called just because it's consistent. And so we fill out one form.

But it's been critiqued for a number of reasons, namely that it's built for a very narrow kind of student experience and family experience. It's sort of traditional. And so a lot of institutions like the Gates Foundation, Young Invincibles, and a lot of other stakeholders have been lobbying to fix the FAFSA. And actually, this year, you know, as we speak, there are new initiatives and and edits to simplify and make it more accessible.

But, you know, I think it can be a surprise, particularly for students whose family situations might be sort of, quote unquote, non-traditional, it can be really challenging to get the right forms you need, etc.

So, you know, someone I spoke with, for the book, a former classmate of mine, she worked for the YMCA and worked primarily with Latino students. So a number of their their parents were undocumented. And so they don't have the formal financial documentation necessarily, that might be needed for the FAFSA.

And so she found this sort of this interesting insider information really, which was, for students with undocumented parents, there's basically a glitch in the system that you just have to kind of keep hitting submit until the FAFSA platform accepts your application, right, and you have to sort of skip a couple of fields. And that's insane, right? Right, that just should not be the way it’s done.

It should be so much easier for a student from with undocumented parents to be able to apply. And so that's just one example.

There are lots of other cases, for instance, folks who are adults, or independent, maybe they're emancipated teenagers who don't have a relationship with their family, and are often expected to provide their family's financial information. So there's an inflexibility in the forms that can be really frustrating and biased against folks from certain backgrounds.

So that's all to say that, you know, it is just a messy and complicated system. And I'm glad to see that there are some reforms coming along. But for folks who are listening and preparing for that process, you know, if it feels frustrating and confusing, you are definitely not alone.

Venkat Raman  29:01  [Making it Right]

Obviously, there are a whole bunch of let's just say issues and challenges. How does one go about fixing them? How can the powers that be, the stakeholders, sort of create an environment that this becomes a lot more equitable?

Andrew  29:22  

So I'm going to answer that from the perspective of a few different stakeholders, because I think it's important to acknowledge that this has to happen as a system.

So you know, my book, as I mentioned, we really focus in on youth development organizations, and these are kind of operating outside of the formal system. They're capturing students in voluntary after school and weekend programs often, and they play this amazing role. Right?

And so that responsibility that they play is often overlooked. And it really deserves to be acknowledged for one because I think what, particularly for students that can be really powerful to understand that these youth development organizations are actually a great outlet for them. And somewhere that they could turn to, particularly if they're in a lower resource school that maybe has a really high burden on their college counselors, which in a lot of cases, you know, you might have one counselor for an entire grade.

So, you know, I think it's worth just acknowledging that the youth development organizations play this really key role, and actually, I think if they were brought into the sort of college process, whether that's through formal partnerships with high schools, formal partnerships with higher education institutions, post secondary institutions, actually could help a little bit with this just process, because they serve as one medium to be able to break down the hidden curriculum to make it more explicit.

And by doing so, hopefully, make the hidden curriculum less powerful by making it more, more available to everyone.

But they can't change the system on their own. So of course, college have a lot of responsibility. So they could certainly for one, make their admissions process more transparent.

You know, simply start with the college essays, be clear about the kinds of applications you're looking for, give application tips, offer webinars, for prospective applicants to understand what an essay how to build an effective essay might might be, and maybe even hear from current students about how they approached it.

You know, you can think about, of course, boosting financial aid availability, which in many institutions is really difficult, because financial situation right now is already quite strained. Right.

And then, you know, I think there's just an element here of just creating more inclusive environments, and that's less about admissions. But it does sort of trickle up and trickle down, if students feel truly included on campus, they're probably going to be more vocal, and reach out to people at their high schools or young people who are interested in that institution, help them understand the the processes of the admissions to their institution in particular. And so there is a ripple effect there, you know, beyond just being a good thing to do, I think it could have positive impacts on admissions.

And then, you know, we zoom out even farther, and stakeholders, like the federal government have a play, a role to play here, by making financial aid more accessible, which fortunately, they're small steps to do.

And think earlier in the pipeline, you know, how our high schools investing more in communities investing more in things like college advising, and support to parents and families in navigating something like the financial aid process, that can be really powerful on an individual level.

Venkat Raman  33:01  

Where are we finding this right now? And what do you think is the state of play of all this is?

You know, certainly, What are colleges doing? What, what are you sort of hearing? or what have you learned about that, you know, in terms of making changes to the admissions or to the financial aid, and some of the other things that you mentioned, the forms...

Andrew  33:28  [Who should drive the Change?]

I mean, I haven't seen many tangible examples of it proving, particularly sort of from that, from a college perspective, I think they're sort of ad hoc approaches.

I've been thinking less about how the colleges can make changes, because I think there's a lot of attention on that and focus on sort of other spaces. And so I think that's where the real innovation is, to be honest, you know, things like the College Advising Corps, which has had mixed results, but you know, it's trying to provide more readily accessible college advising on a virtual basis in sort of unreached communities.

So examples, like those, I think, are basically trying to fill the gap that colleges are frankly not feeling on their own right now.

So from my perspective, I think we continue to sort of need to push and have a call to action for those institutions to step up.

Venkat Raman  34:27  

Yeah, I mean, I guess, I guess that of 5000 plus colleges effecting change, there is a longer process, there are fewer sort of inflows and throttles that you can work with that can make a difference. So yeah, I think I think that makes sense.

Venkat Raman  34:48

So what what's the message for students out there? I mean, I think, one is to sort of double click on the hidden curriculum, maybe translate it for them.

But how should, How do you want, you know, aspiring students to take this information? What should they do with it?

Andrew  35:11  [Resources for Students]

Well, you know, for one, I just want to reiterate my earlier point, which is, if you're feeling confused, if you're overwhelmed, if you're frustrated by the college admissions process, you are not alone.

You're not alone in this moment, and, frankly, for generations before you, we have, we have been there, we have been frustrated. This system is not built in a way that is supposed to be inviting or inclusive, and that needs to change. But it is a frustrating reality. And I think acknowledging that can be helpful.

I would say, think about where you can find those resources that you might need to navigate this process and, and understand what questions you don't even know what to ask, right, which is really how hidden curriculum is exposed.

So maybe those are in pool, right and, and understand, you know, turn to that counselor and ask them questions, don't just maybe take for at face value, what they're giving you to try and dig into it a little bit more. If you don't have those resources in your school, consider what youth development resources might exist. There are lots of CUNY organizations out there, in almost every major city, certainly there are those that are made virtual and available to you. So look into those if you can.

And then you know, some of those tactical pieces, we thought about, you know, keeping those financially policies in mind, especially as you're building out your your college lists, trying to understand, you know, the nature of campuses, communities, and then, you know, to your to your point around sort of this is it can be hard to create change on college campuses.

And one of the ways I think that we can most effectively do that is, when students are the ones sharing the concern. And I think what happens is, you know, we get accepted to university, and we say, oh, gosh, okay, I'm so glad I made it. I'm not gonna think about the admissions process again.

But the reality is that the same problems continue, and not everyone is as lucky to make it. So you know, if you're able to if you're comfortable doing so, you know, trying to be vocal, with, certainly on your campus, join in other efforts, if you find them that are lobbying for some of this change, I think when young people's voices are the ones calling for that change, it's often the most compelling.

So I hope that that, you know, plays some part in continuing to make our educational system just a little bit more inclusive.

Venkat Raman  37:52  [Pointers for Int’l Students]

Oh, that's a good point. That's a good point. I mean, I think they do go through the process. And they do, you know, the experience is fresh in their minds when they arrive on campus. And that's probably one of the best times to sort of engage in something like this.

Venkat Raman  38:10

I did want to ask you about international students, I mean, applicants? What? Anything in particular, I mean, if, if it is hidden for domestic students, then it can be totally foreign. Pardon the pun. Yeah. for international students. So, what, if any additional advice…?

Andrew  38:32  

Yeah, I mean, of course, financial aid situations are very different. And so, you know, that's probably a little bit less applicable.

But I think a lot of the, the other elements are quite similar.

Certainly, you know, the way you think about your application, the way you think about your narrative and your essay, are super important. You know, I think, for international students, it's, it's also a pipeline question, you know, if you if you've gotten this far, and you're listening to this podcast, you are far ahead of the game, because you're seeking out that information about the college admissions process in a way that that might not be available to other kids in your community.

So you know that that's a great resource. And if you can share that share the love, that that's great. And then, you know, I think and, and maybe I'll come back for another episode on this.

But I think one of the ways that the hidden curriculum shows up in a really powerful way. And a challenging way for both first generation students in the US and international students is on some of these kind of on campus elements.

And so yeah, that's that's a whole another conversation, but I see that being an area of strong overlap.

Venkat Raman  39:58  

Sure. No, absolutely. We will plan on doing part two of this on this topic. And so very well, anything more you want to add to the current discussion.

Andrew 40:11  

I really appreciate you having me.

Venkat Raman  40:17  

No, this has been great. There is so much insight, and there's so much value. And it's at a good time, but it's early in the year and students are just getting ready, hopefully getting ready for the fall application.

So I will certainly get all this together and promote it and publish it and hopefully get it in place.

Andrew  40:42

Great. Well, I hope it’s helpful.

Venkat Raman  40:47

I'm sure it will be. And so Andrew, thank you again, and I look forward to chatting more.

Andrew 40:55  

Thank you so much.

Venkat Raman  40:56  

Thank you.

Venkat  40:56

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Andrew Maguire.

Andrew’s discussion applies equally to International Applicants, given that they do not have access to any formal education on the requirements of the US College Admissions.

Based on Andrew’s detailed insights, as a college-bound student you should develop a better understanding and a strategy for your college application.

To find out more about Andrew’s book - check out https://www.andrew-maguire.net/ 

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

US Colleges, College Admissions, University of Pittsburgh, Pitt, Study Abroad, India, China, Extracurricular, International Students, Model UN, Common Application, Common App, College Essays, Innovation, Gig Economy, Thesis, Capstone, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Business Development, Dubai, Singapore, Grab, Ride-Sharing.


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