Each year Ms. O’Connell, a former dean of admissions at McDaniel
College, in Maryland, gives between 35 and 40 presentations, during
which she urges parents to stay calm despite the “scary headlines” they
have seen in newspapers.
Ms. O’Connell often tries to reassure students by telling them that
if they have conducted a thoughtful search, they need apply to only
four or five colleges.
Sometimes that’s a tough sell. “You don’t see people nodding,” she
says. “They’ll say, ‘No, I’ve got to apply to 12 schools, or else I
won’t get in anywhere.'”
Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president for enrollment management
at DePaul University, encounters the same perception. He has spent a
lot of time, he says, talking to reporters who want to know why
applying to college is so “awful for everyone,” or how “nobody can
“I feel like I’m sort of a buzzkill,” he says, “because after I finish talking to them, I’ve told them they don’t have a story.”
An excellent article that I’d like to be able to show my journalism students. It isn’t common that the story is “there isn’t much of a story here.” But articles that work against the accepted trends suggest a journalist is thinking independently, rather than following the herd.