ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled
Saved to My Favorites. View My Favorites
Articles / Applying to College / Podcast Recap: Author Jeff Selingo Shares Essential Admissions Insights

Podcast Recap: Author Jeff Selingo Shares Essential Admissions Insights

Written by College Confidential | Dec. 3, 2020
Podcast Recap: Author Jeff Selingo Shares Essential Admissions Insights


The college admissions process isn't a meritocracy, and involves a fair amount of mystery, which are among the factors that make it so anxiety-inducing for students.

That was the word from Jeff Selingo, author of Who Gets In and Why, during today's edition of Strada Education's Lessons Earned podcast. Selingo spent a year embedded in college admissions offices so he could get the inside scoop on how the admissions process works, and he revealed some of his most intriguing insights on the podcast episode.

"We have this belief in this country that if you work hard and do well, you're going to get to go to the best colleges," Selingo said. "And that's not the case. It never was and never will be." In reality, he noted, every college has its own institutional goals, and applicants won't know what those are, so they can't gear their applications in that direction. This underscores the need to convey the total picture of who you are in your applications, so universities will know as much about every applicant as possible.

In addition, he said, many families approach the conversation about paying for college in a backward fashion. "When we're beginning the college search, we'll say, 'Don't worry about the price of the college. Go and find the perfect academic and social fit, and then we'll figure out how to pay for it later on.' And I actually think that's a wrong way of thinking about the college search. I think that the financial fit of a college needs to be up front and center much earlier on than it is for way too many families and students."

Selingo also discussed the growing prevalence of merit scholarships and their importance on admissions decisions, the widening gap of students who can afford college vs. those who can't, and how certain school districts "package" their students to make them shine in the admissions process. To listen to the complete podcast, visit the Strada Education Lessons Earned website.

Written by


College Confidential

More on Applying to College

See all
typing at computer- karolina-grabowska-6958506-resized

Authentic Voice in College Essays

That’s why you want to use your authentic voice when writing any college essay.

So what’s the problem? A student has shared an ess…


College Interview Prep Tips: Brainstorm, Research, Analyze, Generalize

I recently visited Washington University in Saint Louis and was lucky enough to set up an interview. By speaking with peers of mi…

campus gates

Academic Index Scores: Why They Matter and How They're Calculated

Note: Click here for 10 Summer Programs You Can Still Apply For or keep reading to learn more about academic index scores.

8 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

7 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

Podcasts can offer a wealth of information to busy students, particularly when it comes to the college admissions process. We…


Avoid College Application Regrets: Tips For Getting It Right the First Time

Decision Day occurs each year on May 1st and is the deadline for students to inform the college of their choice of their intent t…

Get a student loan that goes beyond tuition.

Ascent offers cosigned and non-cosigned student loans with exclusive benefits that set students up for success.

Explore Now!
Find Your Scholarship

Want to find money for school that doesn’t need to be paid back? Access insights and advice on how to search and apply for scholarships!

Search for Scholarship