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College Kickoff

Admission officers from William & Mary, Elon, Randolph-Macon and Delaware help junior and families begin the college search process
The entire junior class and about 55 parents joined the trinity college counseling team and a panel of four representatives from college admission offices for the annual College Kickoff on the morning of Thursday, November 4 in the Estes Athletic Center.

Guest panelists were Barry Bradberry, associate dean of admissions for Elon University, Casey Padgett, assistant director of recruitment for the University of Delaware, Monica Pinier, senior assistant dean of admission for the College of William & Mary and Jim Woods, assistant director of financial aid at Randolph-Macon College.

The goal of the event is to “get the wheels turning” for juniors and their families in the college admission process, said Chet Childress, director of counseling. Attendees left the event with information packets and action items for students over the next several months. 

One of the main takeaways for juniors and families was that students need to be in the driver's seat of the college process — contacting colleges, filling out applications, writing essays and communicating with their college counselor. “Doing even just a little research before going on a college visit or meeting with a representative helps students ask questions whose answers can’t be easily found on the website,” Childress said. “It is an easy way to impress colleges and show your interest.”

Student volunteers were enlisted to play the “GPA Game,” an interactive demonstration of how even hard data points like grade point average can be evaluated subjectively, based on the unique needs of the institution. In other words, someone with a lower GPA might get the nod over someone with a higher GPA because the first student has something the college is looking for in the class they are building for the upcoming year.

“Most colleges are looking for ways to admit students,” said Childress. “Think of the college application as a ‘show me or prove it’ exercise. What students do in and out of the classroom during high school helps colleges determine how successful they might be on their campuses.” 

Barry Bradberry from Elon encouraged each student to showcase a specific talent or passion and share it during the college process as a way of distinguishing themselves. “For us, it’s not just about finding the most well-rounded student,” he said, “we’re trying to put together the most well-rounded class. There is an opportunity for each of you to stand out in your college application.” 

Monica Pinier from William & Mary highlighted the expanding number of non-traditional options for students in recent years, such as gap year and study-abroad programs, as well as those that encourage transferring from community college. “It’s all about finding the best fit,” Pinier said. “There is a college or university for everyone in this room.” 

“I’m so glad that the panelists stressed this idea because it is our philosophy in college counseling here at Trinity,” Childress said. “Helping students find colleges that match what they are looking for is what we do.”

To learn more about the college counseling process at Trinity, please visit

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