California Dreaming


To provide information to parents who need to learn about their children’s getting into college, the alumni office headed west for its first Alumni Admissions Forum, held in Santa Clara, California, June 23. Edith Sprunt Toms ‘62, Alumni Affairs assistant director and director of the alumni admissions program, says the idea was to spread the news.

“Since the Alumni Admissions Forum we hold every other year at Duke is so popular, we thought we would reach out to Duke alumni on the West Coast,” she says. “The forum is specifically designed for current high-school students and their parents to offer expert advice on college selection and the application process.”

Sponsored by the Duke Alumni Association and Duke’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the all-day conference featured Duke’s admissions director Christoph Guttentag and a knowledgeable faculty on how to prepare and maximize admission chances, what colleges are looking for, the costs, and available financial options.

The local experts were Alice Tanaka, college counselor at Seattle Mercer Island High School, and Lisa Tseng, dean of juniors and seniors at Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood. Five sessions, with a break for a luncheon attended by current Duke students and recent graduates, included The College Search (on creating a timetable and building a list), The Application Process (on early action, early decision, and regular decision, plus Duke’s procedures), and Case Presentations, where participants got to review real applications. Tips for interviews and essays and the role of parents were also discussed.

“This was so valuable,” wrote one participant on an evaluation. “Thanks for having it on the West Coast.” Another parent wrote, “Great to hear the inside scoop. Very sobering about how difficult it is to get into Duke, but good for Duke.”

The conference is offered as a service to Duke alumni and their children, regardless of their intentions to apply to Duke. Participation has no effect on a student’s candidacy at Duke.

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