College Case Studies transforms Webb juniors into college admissions officers


Janitza Luna

Juniors collected pamphlets, business cards, and information cards as they interacted with different admissions representatives and learned about several schools during the college fair.

The college application process is undoubtedly one of the most daunting aspects of a student’s high school career. As juniors steadily prepare to apply to colleges within the next few months, learning about the plethora of colleges and the admissions processes can alleviate the anxieties and mysteries. The Webb college guidance directors promote this awareness through the Juniors Case Studies program.

On the evening of April 23rd, the Class of 2020, all dressed in their uniforms, loaded onto school buses and ventured to Westridge School in Pasadena. Upon arrival, Webb juniors were split into small groups, joined by students from Westridge, Polytechnic School, and Flintridge Preparatory School. These groups were led by a college admissions officer; however, their school of employment remained a secret until the session ended.

A handful of weeks before the event, all of the students attending were given a packet with four different examples of Common Applications. After reviewing each application holistically, students were expected to act as college admissions officers for a fictional university, choosing to “admit” one student, “waitlist” one student, and “deny” the last two.

In the Case Studies meeting, each group debriefed their findings in each application, reviewing the academics, extra curriculars, personal statements, and other background information. At the end of the hour, the new officers made a final vote for the student they wished to admit.

Kate Guernsey (‘20) said, “The Case Studies were really interesting. I thought it would be overwhelming and make me feel bad about my own accomplishments but it was okay. In the end, it was good to know what [admissions officers] are looking for.”

Following the session was an open floor in the school’s gym, where college representatives waited at their respective booths to share more information about their school and attract attention from potential applicants. There were representatives from a variety of schools, ranging from small to big, from East Coast to West Coast, and more.

Caroline Metyas (‘20) said, “It was an insightful way to get to know how [admissions officers] choose who they want to attend. I really liked getting to talk to them afterwards at the college fair too because it was good practice for when we meet representatives for colleges we want to apply to next year.”

Frank Hu (‘20) said, “The workshop was engaging and taught me the inner workings of the admission process of a student. The college fair provided me with the opportunity to talk to deans from some of the most prestigious colleges in the country.”

The College Case Studies program is one of the most valued events in the history of college guidance at Webb. However, the experience is ultimately in the hands of the student and depends on how much effort they want to contribute. Even if there were students who felt bombarded with homework or tired from the week, the juniors had the opportunity to learn something new about the college process. Next year, the Class of 2021 will be dressed in their uniforms and placed into the shoes of admissions officers themselves.