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Admission Advice: A College Counselor Talks Admissions

The best college admission advice can be hard to come by. But when it comes from an admissions advisor, it has to be good. Dr. Terry McCue, head of admissions for Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, offers the low-down on today’s competitive college admissions process.


Dr. McCue spoke at Your Teen‘s College Event Cleveland in January 2015. Watch all the evening’s videos here.

Best College Admission Advice—Straight From The Source


I’m going to try in twenty minutes to cover some of the greatest hits of the college process. Some of the things you need to be cognizant of if you’re the parent of an eighth grader, ninth grader, tenth grader, or eleventh grader. And actually, I’d love to get a sense of who’s in the audience. If you’re the parent of or actually a middle school student, can you raise your hand? Ninth grade, please, parents and ninth graders? Tenth grade? And eleventh grade. Wow, okay great, thank you so much.

All right, so, how many colleges are there in the United States? I’d love somebody to throw a number out that approximates the actual number. Anybody have an idea? Thirty-five hundred I hear, that was excellent. There are different ways of counting. The number that a lot of people will agree on is about four thousand colleges and universities.

We have this huge laminated map in the Hathaway Brown college office that has twelve hundred schools highlighted, and you can sometimes see students and their parents at times, staring in a mesmerized, coma-like fashion at that map, which really covers only a very small portion of what’s out there. I always say if you read the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, you think that only twenty to thirty colleges exist, because those are the only schools they seem to write about, they’re the only schools they seem to be concerned about. But the great news is there are so many ways to be happy in the college process, thousands of ways, and as you move forward and as your work with your counselors in your home schools, sort of be excited about that prospect.

For those of you who are eighth, ninth, and tenth graders, or the parents of, remember, please don’t fall in love with a college if you’re younger than sixteen or seventeen.

(For the rest of this presentation, please view our attached video)

Terry McCue, former director of admissions at Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, Ohio

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