Bucknell's legacy program is a service to our alumni. We run educational programs for families who have children involved in a college search to help them navigate the admissions landscape. I serve as a liaison between our alumni and the admissions office to provide guidance and assistance from early in the process all the way through applications and decisions.
As a sophomore or junior, visiting and attending a Preview (info session) and campus tour are the perfect things to do. There is also an open house in April for students who are interested in learning about Bucknell. All Open Houses give students and parents lots of great information and campus experiences. If, after the initial visit, Bucknell remains on your son's list of colleges that he would like to pursue, I would suggest coming to campus for a more in depth visit. We offer some really cool visitation opportunities for seniors that give a student a good idea of what it is like to be a student at Bucknell. If he participates in a Day in the Life, he will attend a class and interact with faculty as well as students and admissions staff. He'll attend some other sessions, as well - eating lunch with current students, etc. The Day in the Life visit offers different academic opportunities on the different days of the week so that the student can choose the day that would allow him to attend a class in the major of his choice. We also have Open Houses in the fall for seniors. Both of these activities require at least two weeks notice. I would recommend viewing the visitation calendar in advance to make plans for your visit. See the campus visit calendar.
We don't offer interviews to prospective students like we used to. The Day in the Life visit includes time at the beginning of the day, and a debrief at the end of the day, with a member of our admissions staff. This is a good time to ask the counselor any additional questions that the student may have. If the student would like to make another personal connection, he/she can look on the admissions website to find the counselor who manages your home geographic area and call or send an email to that person with any questions he/she has. View the admissions staff.
Hearing your thoughts about your alma mater is invaluable to your student! However, your student is visiting, touring and comparing a group of colleges. It is important to give her an admissions visit at Bucknell that will be comparable in scope and level of information to the visits at other colleges. By participating in the Preview in the admissions office and campus tour given by a Bucknell student, your child will be able to compare apples to apples when thinking back on her college visits.
The legacy events that we offer at Bucknell are for the sole purpose of assisting you and your child in learning about the college search process. Attending these events does not have any bearing on the eventual admissions decision.
Bucknell values your relationship with Bucknell and, as a result, pays close attention to your child's application for admission. Her status as an alumni child does not (and should not) take the place of achievement in the classroom and all of the other important things that an applicant brings to the table (such as leadership, community service, involvement in extra-curricular activities, special talents, high quality writing, etc.). We consider legacy status a point of interest in your daughter's application. If she is admitted to Bucknell, it is because she deserves an offer of admission based on her credentials, not because her dad or mom went here. I would imagine that your child wouldn't want it any other way.
There are many factors that come into play when the admissions staff is "building" the next class of Bucknellians. Even if scores are within our average range, that doesn't necessarily mean that a student will be accepted. The application is a mixture of many elements. Colleges (like Bucknell) build classes of students by looking at all of the factors. If you think about a town community, you realize that all types of people are needed — plumbers, lawyers, accountants, retail, child care givers, etc. in order for the town to function well. It is Admissions' job to build our campus community. We are looking for all kinds of students who can add different aspects to our college community: academics, athletics, leadership, community service, good writing, musical expertise, special talents, etc. To add another level of complexity to the mix, Bucknell reads applications by program. This means that the Management applications are read as a group, the Engineering applications are read as a group, the Physics applications...etc., and the best students from each group are offered admission. All of our programs are very strong but there are some majors that are very popular and attract a large number of excellent candidates. In the past, we waitlisted some incredible students in these programs because we can't take more than a certain number or else we'd be overcrowded in those classrooms and labs (and that's not good for anyone).
What is difficult about this message for families is that YOU can't know what a college is looking for any particular year, whether your child will fit into their community needs, or what your child's application looks like compared to the other applications in the pool. Good grades and scores certainly help your child's chances of fitting in at any college. It doesn't guarantee anything, though, which is why it is important to make sure that your child will have some good options. The way to do this is for him to apply to a couple of colleges that would be THRILLED to have him, a few that would be a really good fit - but may or may not accept him, and a reach school or two if he is so inclined.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the admissions process but your student will be happy to know that there are things within her control that can help her chances for admission. Firstly, she needs to keep up the good grades and continue to challenge herself in school throughout her high school career. This will illustrate her intellectual curiosity and her ability to handle a college curriculum. Second, she should put together a knock 'em dead application. At a place like Bucknell, all of the applications are read in their entirety and the staff values applications that are well thought-out and comprehensive — especially the essays. This is your daughter's place to shine by highlighting her talents, sharing her passion, or just opening up to voice thoughts or opinions about something that is important to her. The staff member should feel like he or she knows something significant about your daughter after reading her essays. Finally, if Bucknell is your daughter's first choice and she feels that she can make a commitment, an early decision application is a great way to increase her chances for admission.
Just under 10% of our incoming students each year are legacies.
We have 3 on-campus legacy events that assist alumni families with the college admissions search process. Begin the Journey, a program for 8th and 9th graders, introduces the students to Bucknell and college life. It is an afternoon on campus with activities, sessions and speakers that (hopefully!) pique the students' interest in college and provide some information about what they should be doing in high school to maximize the quality and quantity of their choices when they graduate. College Admissions Workshop (CAW) is a 2-day, full-service program for students and parents offered at the end of June. Alumni children who are rising juniors and rising seniors are eligible to participate. CAW attendees learn about all aspects of the college search/application process from researching colleges to college essay writing. The program includes small group sessions, speakers, and individual meetings with admissions staff. Please go to www.bucknell.edu/legacy for more information and to register for upcoming events.
Patti Struble Flannery '86 Associate Director, Alumni Admissions Programs firstname.lastname@example.org 570.577.3633.
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