Portrait of Brooke Thames and Bryan Wendell

College Admissions Insider Podcast Surpasses 15,000 Downloads in First Year

November 11, 2021

by Nina Smith

Bryan Wendell and Brooke Thames host Bucknell's "College Admissions Insider" podcast. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications


Bucknell University's College Admissions Insider podcast was created a year ago to provide useful information on the admissions process for prospective students and their families. It has done just that with more than 15,000 downloads of its 26 episodes over the first year, giving parents and students convenient, timely solutions to overcome the sometimes-stressful process of applying for college.

Hosted by Bryan Wendell, associate director of editorial strategy, and Brooke Thames, communications writer, the biweekly podcast helps demystify the college admissions process for listeners. Joined by guests that include Bucknell admissions experts, Wendell and Thames choose topics designed to be current and answer questions commonly received by the Office of Admissions.

"There are so many details to the college admissions process that it can feel a little overwhelming," Wendell says. "But we also know that high school students and their families are incredibly busy. So we designed each episode to be less than 30 minutes long, giving listeners useful information in bite-size nuggets."

So far, listeners have proven they're hungry for that information. Some of the most popular episode topics to date have included: Inside the Mind of An Application Reader (Episode 4), Choosing a College without Visiting (Episode 1), Writing a Killer College Application Essay (Episode 5), What 9th and 10th Graders Can Do Now to Prepare to Apply (Episode 8), and Applying Undecided (Episode 3). 

In addition to the podcast, a partner admissions blog was also created.

"The blog overlaps with the podcast but is another accessible channel that illustrates the ins and outs of the admissions process," Thames says. "The blog also allows us to take a deeper dive into topics of particular interest to high school students and their families."

Wendell and Thames want to continue to dive into the most compelling admissions topics of the day — providing information families need, when they need it. 

"We worried a little at first that the podcast would seem too nuanced — too in the weeds. But we quickly discovered that listeners really want all those specific details about college admissions," Wendell says. "As a podcast team — which also includes Content Strategy Assistant Kim Faulk and Digital Marketing Specialist Stevie Blyler — we want to guarantee that each episode feels up to date and current as the college admissions landscape continues to change and evolve."

The podcast hosts underscore the importance of feedback from individuals as they work toward making the college admissions process less stressful. They emphasize that they want to continue hearing from listeners, turning their questions into episodes that answer the top questions and concerns on listeners' minds. Questions, comments or ideas for future episodes may be emailed to podcast@bucknell.edu.

"One of the most rewarding parts of working on the podcast is hearing from listeners," Thames says. "It's such a nice reminder that people are using what we're sharing to enhance their college journeys."

Use the links below to find the podcast on your favorite player.