#123 College Institutional Priorities: Understanding Who Gets In with Aly Beaumont Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins 00:58

Today, we’re diving into a crucial aspect of the college admissions journey, understanding how University’s intricate web of institutional priorities, shapes, who gets admitted, I’m thrilled to be joined by Ali Beaumont, an independent educational consultant who brings a wealth of experience in guiding families through this complex process in our conversation. Ally sheds light on common institutional priorities that drive admissions decisions, and may help or hurt your team when they’re applying for managing enrollment numbers to recruiting athletes and musicians will uncover these and other factors beyond your student’s control that colleges consider in addition to acceptance rates, GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and more. Understanding these priorities is essential for managing your team’s expectations. And not only building the right college list, but also applying at the right time. So if you’ve ever wondered why well qualified students are often not admitted, and how this impacts your team’s chances of admission, this episode is for you. I’m Lisa, Mark Robbins, and I want to welcome you to College and Career Clarity of flourish coaching production. Let’s dive right in to a great conversation.

Lisa Marker Robbins 02:23

Ali, welcome to the show.

Aly Beaumont 02:26

Thank you, Lisa. I’m very excited to be here. I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. And I’m happy to be on

Lisa Marker Robbins 02:33

Well, it goes both ways. And then I was like, How have I not had an ally on? And we were talking in a group that we’re in about this topic that I think as independent counselors we’re so close to, we forget that the average family doesn’t know it. And I know I believe it is one of the most important fundamental pieces of college admissions that parents and students need to understand. And that’s institutional priorities. So

Aly Beaumont 03:03

yeah, I think a lot of kids when they are applying to college, they’re so consumed with their profile and who they are. Colleges are really way more concerned with creating a class as a whole. And so sometimes it has nothing to do with you that you didn’t get in. It’s that you that your profile wasn’t needed by the college to create the class as a whole. That’s what colleges wanted it.

Lisa Marker Robbins 03:27

Yeah. Yeah. It’s like you could be I say all the time, particularly for, you know, very popular majors, that colleges, particularly with popular majors, because that’s my area of interest. They could enroll many times over freshman classes that could be wildly successful on their campus, but they just don’t meet the priorities of the institution, which we can kind of get into what different priorities are. But like, why, you know, you’re working with a lot of families in your organization. Why do you feel like it’s important for families to understand this idea of institutional priorities?

Aly Beaumont 04:06

So first of all, this is a highly charged process these days, it’s very emotional for families, it’s very stressful for families. It’s not a personal process. That’s the first thing I sit kids down and I say, so for so many years, everyone’s been telling you, you’ve got to prepare for college and you have to do this and you have to do that. And the reality is, this isn’t really about you. This is really about what colleges need to create this diversified class. So when you talk about majors Lisa, like, you know, every other kid you talk to this day today is like I want to major in computer science or I want to major in psychology or I want to major in, in you know, political science or biology. Those are all really impacted majors colleges could fill their classes 20 times over with just computer science majors. That really wouldn’t be that interesting. Wouldn’t be that great to go to school with all computer science majors. What

Lisa Marker Robbins 04:58

No, It would not and you know, and that that word impacted majors. Again, one of a term I think that we’re both very up close and personal with like, how do you define I know how I defined it because I’m zeroed in on majors. How do you explain impacted major to a family? And I would add nursing to your impacted majors. Oh,

Aly Beaumont 05:21

100. But there yes, there are more than what I just asked. Yeah.

Lisa Marker Robbins 05:25

Well, and I would say it depends on the university, what the impacted majors are going to be right, because, like my daughter just graduated from Cincinnati last Saturday, the time that we’re recording this, the honorary doctorate this year was the guy who started all birds footwear. And he is a fantastic bio professional had been a professional soccer player came from New Zealand. Well, he graduated from DAP design art architecture, I’m planning at Cincinnati, which, at Cincinnati, that’s a very impacted College and the majors there. But that’s those majors not are not necessarily impacted at another university. So how would you define impacted. So

Aly Beaumont 06:09

that’s a great point, it’s typically their most popular major, or their, or, especially if it’s a major that a student has to apply directly into. So at a lot of colleges, now, computer science has become a direct. You know, application nursing is a great example of direct application. And it really does change from college to college. If you think about the colleges in DC, political science is really impacted. My own, our youngest son went to Kenyon College in Ohio, they’re known for their particularly good writing program, English is an impacted major there. And most colleges, English is not an impacted major, they’d like more English major, you know, so I think of it as colleges have professors in every area. And students really learn better when they’re learning with people who are not exactly like that. So they want kids who are studying lots of different subjects. And so that’s where impact it comes into play too. And just for families to know a way to check this to kind of see what could possibly be impacted somewhere, is to go on college navigator, which is the National Center for Education Statistics. And there is a tab in there where you can actually look up how many kids graduated with a degree in certain majors. It’s got like a year or two lag, but you can see those numbers and you can see like, Oh, my God, at this school, everyone’s studying economics.

Lisa Marker Robbins 07:34

Well, and I actually shot a video on this, I’m glad you brought that up, I’ll link to the our video in the show notes. And just, it’s the steps one, two, and three on how to get to what you just said, because we can say it’s over there on, you know, college navigator.gov. And then somebody gets there and goes, How do I get there? So we have a step by step video I’ll put in there. But I that’s there’s two ways to use it. I shot the video because I said, Hey, some of you are thinking about a major at a college where there was only one kid that graduated with that major last year. And that school is not they might offer it. But that does not mean they’re reputable. And then you’re saying like Yes. And then on the other end of the continuum, this can show you like, Oh, my word, this is going to be an impacted major, because it’s, you know, it’s in the top three of their most popular majors at this university. So we’ll link to that in the show notes. Because there’s both ways. If

Aly Beaumont 08:30

you’ve made a great point, I had a student a couple of years ago who wanted to study linguistics, and she kept saying I want to be at a really small school. Well, for anyone who knows a lot about college majors. Linguistics is a very small major at many, many places. And in order to get a group of 50 students who are studying linguistics, she had to go bigger and bigger. And I always say to kids, it’s not the size of the school, it’s what you want to do there that can make it feel bigger or smaller. And that’s a perfect example.

Lisa Marker Robbins 08:59

Absolutely. Well, we have a previous episode on like, the hidden value of honors colleges at large universities to make it smaller. So that’s another great example. I’ll link to that one in the show notes too. So, okay, so one institutional priority could be we have these impacted majors that are highly coveted. We and we’re gonna have to turn a lot of kiddos away. So to understand that that might affect you getting in what are some other I don’t know, whys of what could be an institutional priority.

Aly Beaumont 09:34

Why don’t we start with schools want kids on their athletic teams in their school bands in their school choirs and their debate teams in their theater productions? Yeah, so they might. That’s pretty common one that most people realize is that there’s recruited athletes. I don’t know if they quite realize there’s also recruited kids like who plays some obscure instrument, my button or is but there And so that’s the first thing. They also want a class that’s diversified in many different ways, because it’s been proven, again that students learn best when they learn among a diversified group. So that comes into play in many ways, it comes into play, no longer necessarily by ethnicity because of the Supreme Court ban on affirmative action. But colleges are actually still pretty committed to having a dirt diversified class of in ethnicity, they’re certainly committed to having a diversified group. In terms of socio economic background in terms of geographic location, they want students from all 50 states, and many different as many different international countries as possible. They want students who come from rural underserved locations, they want a good gender balance between men and women. I don’t think that many people realize that we have way more women going to college now than men, and that at many colleges, it’s actually easier to get in as a male student, but then that flips, because then there’s some tech schools where it’s easier as a female student, because we want to encourage women to be in tech. So that’s where you just have to pay attention right to what you’re doing. Some colleges will prioritize first generation students, some colleges prioritize a certain religion, others can prioritize students who are in the military,

Lisa Marker Robbins 11:21

as well, I think too, you brought up something like this gender diversity, along with like the major, right that it’s like, oh, well, we’ve got a lot of L if you’re a male who wants to major in elementary education? That’s fantastic. Because they want more male teachers, right? Or there’s been more female nurses, historically. And I think that trend is starting to change, or it’s starting the

Aly Beaumont 11:47

I think so to nursing. It’s, yeah, love is just, it’s yeah, it’s not

Lisa Marker Robbins 11:51

going to necessarily be a leg up anymore to be a male going in. But you know, you brought up something about, like, the geography, because you’ll see on college websites, oh, all 50 states and this many countries are, are coming here, a few years back, this is just before COVID. I live in the Cincinnati area, and somebody from the University of Oregon, reached out to me and said, Hey, we are we have an institutional priority to get more students from Ohio. And your name keeps coming up as a counselor in the area, I see that you’re attending some local college fairs. Could you introduce me to some people at the high school level in your area, which I did, and then she ended up coming out and going to these college fairs. And that was simply because they wanted more students, I don’t know if it was Ohio, or the Midwest, which were like barely the Midwest, but you know, that that was gonna give a kid in my area a leg up?

Aly Beaumont 12:54

Well, and I definitely see it both with private institutions and public institutions, many public institutions actually have to have a certain number from their state, because they receive state funding, but many are also seeking outside, like, you know, kids from other states because of the money. But in a private way, you still see it, like, I I’m in the heart of what I always say, is college crazy. Man, I live in Fairfield County, you know, Connecticut, where an hour from New York City, this is an area where vast majority of students who go to these public schools go on to four year universities and pretty selective ones. So people are always like, well, it gets really hard if you’re from Fairfield County to get into schools. And it’s like, not necessarily, it depends on where you want to go. There are certain places who would like to get students from Fairfield County. And in the same way, you know, there’s colleges in California that don’t really necessarily want kids who are from next door. Right? Because they don’t necessarily need them some private school. So it really is, it’s may be seeking out places that need you, which is really what it comes down to, to fill their diversity and fill their geographic want for kids from different areas. But that said, you will also have to think about just because there may be easier to get in. Is that where you want to be. I love that maybe a kid from Cincinnati doesn’t want to be out in Oregon, or maybe a kid from Fairfield County, I don’t know, doesn’t want to be in the middle of the country, because maybe they want to be next door. Right?

Lisa Marker Robbins 14:26

Absolutely. Now, you brought up, you know, the needs of the university. Right. And I think like you said, intuitively, we all know that if the football team needs a quarterback for next year, or they know in two years, they’re gonna need a good quarterback, they’re gonna really be looking to that quarterback, that’s the star athlete could probably have their pick of whatever major that they would like, and be able to get into that university if they’re going to fulfill that particular institutional priority. That one’s kind of a no brainer to to everybody right? ate, what would be like a lesser known institutional priority that you feel right now. And 2024 is having a fairly big impact on who’s getting in.

Aly Beaumont 15:13

So I don’t think that most people realize that. It’s really enrollment management that drives decisions way more than acceptance rates. And to give you an example of what I mean by that, and enrollment managers job is to figure out what number of students they need in a class and to get the college to that number of students when they’re done with the admission cycle. And what is happening lately is everyone’s talking about applications have been up applications have been up everywhere. Well, actually, they’re kind of leveling out a lot of the highly selective schools. And what’s happened is now colleges like Boston University, Johns Hopkins, they are taking about a third fewer students than they took just two or three years ago. So that’s why those colleges are getting so much harder to get into. There’s also colleges like the College of Charleston that have gotten so much more popular, and yes, their apps have gone up. But they also now have a problem where they don’t have enough housing for students. So they have to take fewer apps. The last sort of piece of that enrollment management that I think is really crucial for families to understand is it’s often about when you’re applying, not just that you’re applying. So what I mean by that is many colleges can be easier in early action or early decision, they are in regular round colleges like Middlebury and Emory last year excepted 70 to 80% of their class, in the early rounds, places like Penn State filled up their entire University Park campus this year in the early round. So what ends up happening is literally a college that can be, you know, in reach if you apply early. And it doesn’t even necessarily mean that you’re applying Ed, which is binding, but just early, can then become completely out of reach in the regular round, because they’ve kind of filled up their class. And I think people only sort of associate that with rolling admission schools. And it’s not that it’s with all colleges. Yeah,

Lisa Marker Robbins 17:10

well, because that meets they know, it gives them an assurance that they’re going to meet their budget. I mean, if they miss that number, Mark, by in I’ve heard other episodes and other podcasts, we haven’t talked about it, but you miss that enrollment bars marked by 50 students have what they want to yield for a freshman class, the financial impact can be significant at the university, so it makes sense why? Well

Aly Beaumont 17:37

in this is the whole thing, it goes back to colleges or businesses, they have to operate like businesses. This is not about kids. This is not personal. This is business.

Lisa Marker Robbins 17:49

It’s like how do we how do we d personalize this for our families? Because it does feel highly personal. When these are rolling out? And we know it’s like, no, you could have been successful there. But you didn’t meet you know, X, Y and Z? Well,

Aly Beaumont 18:06

so first of all, that’s a really hard question, right? And every kid’s a little different. But I will say this, we, in our business, I try really hard to build lists that are not just chance of admission, but that the decisions are going to come back at different times. And so when kids get decisions earlier, it helps but it can also assure them, okay, I’m into a school, I already like I have a place to go. So I have a place to go and it takes the pressure off a little bit. So all of our students have schools that are rolling colleges where they will come find out early in the fall, they might have some EAA schools will they’ll hear back before Christmas time. And we just adjust this accordingly. I also make Joyce who works with me at admissions village has a great saying she goes leave with your life, please. I have been trying to encourage all of our families to fall in love with schools that are really still going to be attainable for them. And some of my favorite institutions in this country are not that selective. And so what I’ve tried to do is when they go off to the super selective places, it’s human nature you get caught up into I need to go to a selective school, it must be better because it’s selective. And no everyone full disclosure, those colleges are not better just because they’re selective. They’re just more selective. And so what we try to do is get our families to visit schools that are more obtainable first. Because sometimes the first schools you visit are the ones you find the most in love with.

Lisa Marker Robbins 19:37

I like that so it’s it’s not only having a balanced list, but why don’t you visit those more reach schools, the reachable schools the more likely schools first so that your kid has is falling in love with them and feeling good about it. And you know, I think about my own kids. I did because I did do that. I visited some campuses that were likely that I also knew were fit many other ways early. But then going back and doing a second visit with them after they started to see the bright shiny objects as well, to say, a reminder of how good this this other one was that you saw early on. But this idea of the balance list in and having some rolling, I like that, make sure you have like rolling school on there. I’ve not really practiced that before. But one of the things I’ve always practices, if I have a student who’s like, oh my gosh, I need to get out of state, I just want to go away, which a lot of kids say and then it’s funny when push comes to shove, and it’s, it’s down to the wire at the end, a lot of them end up staying pretty close to home. So parents don’t fret. If you’re a kid saying they want to go to Hawaii, they made really change their mind greatly. I see that a lot. But I always say to everybody, you have to have an in state public that you like, like, well, and I’m in Ohio. So we have a ton of in state public’s right, we have a ton of public universities and private universities. So we have a lot of options. So somebody might be in Nevada and going like we don’t have a lot of options, Lisa, but somewhere close to home that’s affordable. Because I’ve also found like sometimes things happen, like a job loss and a family or a health crisis in a family. And that could be the reason why there’s either a financial impact or just an emotional desire to be closer to home. And occasionally those kids will be like, Oh, I’ll destroy Ohio State or Cincinnati or Miami on the list. And I Mike, but you got to I was just what you said you gotta love that likely, it’s in your backyard as well, not to say like, Okay, check. I’ve got the school that will give me the in state tuition in building that list.

Aly Beaumont 21:45

But first of all, you’re very fortunate in Ohio, because I love all of those three schools that you just named right. I am particularly partial, because I’m a horseback rider to Miami of Ohio. Oh, yeah. Full disclosure has phenomenal writing facilities. So I just like, live here.

Lisa Marker Robbins 22:03

It’s a beautiful campus.

Aly Beaumont 22:05

It’s beautiful. It’s sunny and happy. Like, I definitely think that there’s five of campuses, some of them just have more of a happy feel. I think that’s a happy place. You know? And so yeah, I’m a huge fan. But I think not everyone I agree with you has a perfect sort of in state. But I love what you said things change. And that’s why I do like kids to have some likely options pretty early on. Because I also think sometimes kids have to sit with whatever Yes, has happened. And sometimes they sit with it. What I have been excited about is I have really been pushing our families to go to likely schools, also because I think as part of Enrollment Management, colleges consider demonstrated interest, sometimes even when they don’t say they consider demonstrating interest in a visit is the best way that you can show interest, whether it’s online or in person, showing them some love is important. But what I keep getting excited about in our practice is parents keep coming, coming back and going. I was so impressed by blah, blah, blah. Like I didn’t expect that. And I’m like, yes, yes, yes, that’s true.

Lisa Marker Robbins 23:11

Are you to give good advice, right?

Aly Beaumont 23:12

Yes. And I was like, Yes, I wasn’t lying when I told you to buy the plane ticket to go there.

Lisa Marker Robbins 23:19

Absolutely. Why you brought something up? You know, you said that you liked the fact that I said, Hey, things might change for your kiddo or your family during this process. I also think that brings us to the idea that what’s an institutional priority today is not necessarily the institutional priority tomorrow. And that’s another thing that also changes

Aly Beaumont 23:43

100%. So I think, really hot button topic was that, you know, people needed certain kids in certain majors, they wanted women in engineering or men in nursing. And that’s kind of changed. That’s those things have evened out quite a bit at colleges. So it’s not so much of a priority. That’s exactly the point. And I think institutional priorities change all the time. I think it’s certain schools become more selective. They, they can do things differently. And that comes down off into colleges yield, which for people who don’t know the term means that the students that they’ve accepted the rate at which those students accept them.

Lisa Marker Robbins 24:22

Yes. And meets the budget. Oh, yeah. 100%. I’m like that’s the enrollment in their budget piece. Now. We’ve run through a bunch of them like they need to manage their enrollment. They’ve got the special interests of athletics, teams, bands, debate teams, majors. Economic racial diversity. Are there any of them that we’re missing? That might be those are the top of mind one and I know your blog really actually takes a deep dive on all of them. So we’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. The thing that got us started down this path months ago. What Are we missing?

Aly Beaumont 25:00

I think kind of gotten through a lot of them? I do. I think that piece of colleges must balance their budgets gets very sort of large, when you start thinking about it. At certain colleges, I feel like they are prioritizing Pell eligible or low income students and other colleges, I think they probably simply can’t afford you. Yeah, you know, and you kind of have to have that in play, I get that a lot with our pro bono kids, not really understanding some of the decisions that come back. And, and I’m like, again, this wasn’t about you, this might be the fact that the college couldn’t afford you, like buying a house,

Lisa Marker Robbins 25:38

like you get pre qualified for a home, and there’s a certain amount that you’re going to qualify for. And you just can’t, you know, that’s an analogy that maybe makes that make a little more sense. Right. Right.

Aly Beaumont 25:50

And I think some colleges really will prioritize for pay students where other schools who doesn’t quite speak, you know, it doesn’t help them in the same way. I think some colleges, you know, will use merit aid, or tuition discount, which is basically what that is, and they prioritize accepting students, you know, that way. So, there’s so much that comes into play with enrollment management, which is all of this because part of Enrollment Management is by balancing budgets. So

Lisa Marker Robbins 26:18

if I’m a parent navigating this with my first or second kid, and anything like okay, that’s all well and good, I can manage my students expectations around how this works, which is one of the first things we want them to do. Is there a way that you suggest how would a family find out what a particular colleges institutional priorities are? Or can they, you know, as we’re kind of bringing this into home plate? So

Aly Beaumont 26:47

I think that colleges clue you in. I think that first of all, if you look at their mission statement, they give you a pretty good idea of their culture and what they’re looking for. I think if you look at their past announcements, for you know, they often announced like this was our admission trade. This is what our classes they’re cluing you in, as an example, and even just really deep diving into their website, to lane, which two lane does is has a lot of institutional priorities like everywhere else. And two lane five years ago, had a very white admission staff. If you look today, they have a very diverse admission staff. They now post a lot of the times on their website. You know, on their announcements of their admissions decisions, they post we have X number of Hispanic students, we have x number of first generation students are Pell eligible, they have put their money behind this, their institutional priorities, because they have now offer a huge amount of scholarship money to local Louisiana students who are underserved. So I think they have clued you in that those have become institutional priorities for them in a way that they weren’t before. I think when you go to colleges, if they put a lot of pressure on you to Ed, that might be signaling to you that that is an institutional priority for them to enroll students early. So I kind of say, colleges really clue you in a lot during the admissions process, believe them, start listening to what they’re telling you. And then you know, listen to things like your podcast will really help some families to figure that out to be educate yourself. Knowledge is power in this process. And I think there are a lot of fantastic free resources for families out there. And you should be educating yourself during this process, especially the parents, they will help you

Lisa Marker Robbins 28:41

such great advice. And I think this idea of just pausing and taking time to really dig deep in your words. It’s out there, but a lot of times when they go to the website, they’re just looking at the admissions page for admission stats, deadlines, go over to financial aid and look at scholarships, but you’re really going to get to know the college. If you start taking time to go through and look deeper. You know, I advise my families or in my college major and career coaching course, that they should buy halfway through sophomore year, have at least a 30 minute college bound meeting with their teen every weekend. And if something’s bumping that Fine Time, there’s always something to do as you and I know, literally from about the midpoint of sophomore year, all the way up until you’re enrolling it could be let’s just talk about where we’re going to visit. Let’s look at a website together. If they’re doing test prep planning their test dates, if they’re doing my course using that time to do the course for to get college major discernment down. There’s always something to do and so slowing down and creating the space. The information is out there and it’s going to set you up for better outcomes.

Aly Beaumont 30:01

such great advice I, for me the key to really great outcomes for students in this process. And I don’t necessarily think a great outcome is getting into most selective school, I think it’s getting into the school, that’s the best fit for a student. But to me great, the key to great outcomes is college research. And it goes beyond just visiting the school and I have a very hard time convincing families of this all the time, but I see it in the results every year.

Lisa Marker Robbins 30:28

And it takes time and intention. Well, Ali, pay attention. You have been very generous with the information and the time. If our listeners want to learn more about you, we’re gonna link to the blog, but how do they find out about your practice and how you guys work with families?

Aly Beaumont 30:46

Our website admissions village.com I’m happy we offer a free consultation and you can just reach out to us through there.

Lisa Marker Robbins 30:54

Awesome, thanks, Ally.

Aly Beaumont 30:56

Thank you so much, Lisa.

Lisa Marker Robbins 31:03

And there you have it, a deep dive into the intricate world of universities institutional priorities, and how they shaped the college admissions process. I hope you found our conversation with Ally Beaumont insightful and empowering as you navigate this complex journey with your team. As we wrap up, I want to leave you with a Practical Action Step. Choose one college your teen is interested in and do a deep dive on the University website. Explore what the school values hypothesize what their institutional priorities might be, and consider how these align with your team’s goals and aspirations. Engaging in this discussion as a family can provide valuable insights and help your team make informed decisions about their college journey. Remember, understanding these priorities is critical to building the best college list and applying at the right time. So take the time to explore, discuss and plan accordingly. If you want more practical college bound advice, follow the podcast and do me a favor. Share it with a friend who can benefit from it too. I’m Lisa Mark Robbins and I thank you for listening to College and Career Clarity, where we help your family move from overwhelmed, confused to motivated, clear and confident about your teens future