The Admissions Blog

An inside look at the undergraduate admissions process and the transition into the first year of college, as seen through the eyes of Chris D'Orso, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at a major East Coast research university.

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Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Stony Brook University, New York, erstwhile Jeopardy! contestant, Mets fan, baseball card collector, and dad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SUNYCAP 2013 Storify recap

Had a fantastic time in Rochester for our 2013 conference. What better way to celebrate than with a Storify page?


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monsters University!

So very, very excited.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer/Fall 2013 Conference Schedule!

Excited to be making the rounds this year, sharing my wisdom and meeting all sorts of new people.

June 5-7, SUNYCUAD, Huntington, NY
Awesome speakers this year. Presenting at 2:15 on Wednesday, in the first block, which means Sree Sreenivasan is basically opening for me. No pressure.

June 12-14, SUNYCAP, Rochester, NY
More great speakers, including Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Scott Jaschik from Inside Higher Ed, and Maura Cullen. Presenting at 11:30 on Thursday, during Session 5:

July 22-25, Hobson's U in Orlando, FL
Not confirmed to attend this yet, but it's on my tentative calendar.

September-October, SUNYCAP Operation Inform, various sites across New York state
Operation Inform is SUNYCAP's annual series of presentations and workshops for the high school counseling community.  I'll post the full schedule once it's confirmed.

October 6-9, HighEdWeb, Buffalo, NY
Excited for this excellent conference to come this far east! My first time attending, and Steve Wozniak will be there. This is not a coincidence.

Plus I'm hoping to make it out to San Francisco to meet with our friends at Inigral this October/November as well. See you on the road!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

AWESOME night!

I had one of those nights tonight that remind me why I love what I do.

At 7:00, I guest-hosted Admissions Live, a weekly web show geared toward the admissions/enrollment/counseling community.  I've been a guest on the show a few times, but this was my first (of hopefully many) guest-hosting spots.  But this was more that just the typical give-Chris-a-microphone-and-a-camera situations.

Our topic tonight was Operation Apps: Taking College By Storm, a NACAC program being run in conjunction with NJACAC and NYSACAC to support students, families, and schools affected by Hurricane Sandy.  This weekend, students and families can go to one of five locations in New Jersey and New York and get college information, financial aid help, and anything else that they can use to make sure that any impact from Sandy doesn't roll into college plans and upset the application process or any future dreams or plans.

(I'll stick a link to the show here when it's posted, probably some time on Wednesday.)

Then I swung over to the sports complex on my way home from campus.  Our women's basketball team hosted FDU tonight, and seeing as we're in the middle of finals week right now, our marching band director gave our pep band students the night off so they could focus on academics.  But you can't just have no pep band at the game, right?  So he recruited faculty, staff, and alumni to come out and play and support the team!

AWESOME.  Totally makes me wish I knew how to play a band instrument.  (But if they need a guitar next time, I'm in.)

So, fully energized, I hopped in the car to head home.  Waiting at a light, I caught a tweet from a student affairs colleague:

AWESOME again.  It's so easy to forget sometimes that there can be incalculable value in what we do in higher education.

I haven't been this hopped up about things in a while.  Gotta take that positive energy and focus it into great things now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Making An Impression At The College Fair"

As the calendar turns to October, we're firmly in the midst of "travel season" here in admissionsland.  One quick really relevant reference today:

Great post by Sara Zessar a few weeks back about making an impression at the college fair. I posted a few weeks ago about the kinds of questions not to ask; well, Sara nailed EXACTLY the kinds of questions you should be asking.

  • What makes your college different from other colleges?
  • I’m interested in ____ major.  What are some unique opportunities or programs offered for students with that major?
  • I’d like to get involved in ____ (activity) in college.  Can you tell me about opportunities for this activity on your campus?
  • Are there a lot of students from my state/area?  What would attract someone from my state/area to your college?
  • Can you tell me about special programs and opportunities for freshmen?
  • Are you the admissions representative for this region?  (If not, ask who is and ask for that person’s business card or contact information.  Then, send him or her an email and say you attended the fair and ask any additional questions you have.)
Fantastic job, Sara!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Rankings

Standing ovation for Lynn O'Shaughnessy, whose blog I love.  Here are her thoughts on the US News rankings, which came out today.  (Full disclosure: Stony Brook comes in at #92 on the list of top national universities this year.)

Lynn also posted a link a few weeks ago to a new tool for college searching from the Chronicle that I found fascinating: College Completion.

It takes the data set information that all colleges release and allows you to play with it a bit to match your needs, because YOUR criteria for school probably don't match any known "ranking" system out there.  The chart above compares Stony Brook's data across the spectrum of four-year public schools across the country.

If you're going to use stats and rankings, make sure you're using them the right way!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


College is hard.

But you know what?  It's supposed to be hard.  Part of going to college -- especially if you're going away to college -- is being ripped out of your comfort zone of friends and family and familiar surroundings and learning how to adapt, how to react, how to think outside the proverbial box.  Because that's life.  Kindergarten was hard too, even though you probably didn't realize it much at the time and don't remember much now.

But you know what else?  It gets better.  The more you work at it, the more you reach out to friends and advisors and teachers and mentors, the better it gets.  One of the things colleges and universities do really well is personal growth.  There are enormous resources available to you: academic advising centers, career centers, residence life staff, student activities offices, recreation centers, disability support service centers, counseling services, health services, faculty members, teaching assistants... all of us have been there, in your shoes, with a lot of the same questions and concerns.

So reach out.  Knock on a door or two.  Make an appointment to sit down with someone and tell us what's up.  Ask someone to go to lunch; a roommate, a suitemate, someone in one of your classes.  Make up an excuse if you have to ("Can we go grab dinner at the dining hall so I can pick your brain about our homework that's due next week?") and see where it leads.  Go to the workout center, hop on the treadmill next to someone, and strike up a conversation.  Go to a meeting of a club that interests you and see what they do, ask how you can help, ask how you can do more.

Don't know where to start?  We're here to help; our doors are open.  We got into this business to help students.  Come see us!