Issue 48: Babson admissions fellow and full scholarship student’s shocking story, plus a letter from a reader about SATs

“My principal ended up calling me on my cell phone. No actually, called my house and was like, ‘Is Dario home?’ to my mom. She got nervous because she felt bad that I missed school and thought I was in trouble.” Dario Guerrero, Jr., Babson College admissions fellow and full scholarship student, tells SocratesPost the filmworthy story of how he got in, the best types of students he recruits, and how he wants to be better.

Exclusive Insider Interview: Admissions Fellow & Full Scholarship Student, Babson College

Mercy at SocratesPost: Dario, tell us about yourself.

Dario at Babson: I’m going to be a rising junior next year at Babson. I’m from Lawrence, Massachusetts, about 45 minutes from Babson, first generation. I’m working for admissions for the first time this summer. I worked with the admissions team prior. I’ve done a couple panels in the last two years, like first gen panels or just representing my grade level on a panel for prospective students.

Mercy at SocratesPost: How does your role in admissions this summer differ from those previous roles?

Dario at Babson: This summer, I’m an admissions fellow. It’s obviously really slow in the summer because there’s no students here, but we have families pretty much coming from around the world, because Babson’s pretty well known internationally. About 30% of our student population is international, so we have families coming from all over that come to visit. So I give out tours. And then I also work with a senior admissions fellow…pretty much a full-timer that reads applications or whatnot. And then we do info sessions. We’ll have someone that’s obviously well more experienced talk about the grade stuff, like the numbers, and then they pretty much turn it over to me to talk about the student life and how it is in Babson and what you can get involved in. I give them that rundown and background as a student.

Mercy at SocratesPost: Wow. It sounds like you juggle a lot of important responsibilities. How do you do it?

Dario at Babson: I just finished my sophomore year — it is historically known to be the most difficult and busiest year at Babson. And in a lot of colleges, sophomore year is probably the most difficult year. But I juggled a couple jobs. I worked in the president’s office here at Babson; I also worked in our abroad office, and then was on an E-board for an organization that I was a part of…Took four classes. So, really busy.

Mercy at SocratesPost: How do you manage being involved in so much without getting too stressed?

Dario at Babson: Like one thing that I always like to tell people like when I talked about those certain things, and I toured, you know, I always mentioned that it may sound like a lot, it may sound scary, but once you’re doing it, it’s something that’s enjoyable, it keeps you busy. You don’t always have to question yourself, “oh, what should I do now?” or “what is this? What is there to do?” Just because you always do have something to do here at Babson, which is awesome.

Mercy at SocratesPost: You said that you got to sit on a few panels. I wanted to follow up and ask: What are some of the most common questions you get from students or families as a panelist?

Dario at Babson: Usually when we do a panel, there’s about usually four panelists, one usually representing each grade level. I did it my freshman year, and I did it this past sophomore year as well, to talk about one, as a freshman, the transition. So that’s a big question: How’s the transition? Or why did you choose Babson? What sets Babson apart from other schools you pick? What are you involved in on campus?

Mercy at SocratesPost: What do you draw upon to answer those questions?

Dario at Babson: What makes Babson different is that we’re an all-business school, so a lot of the time when students are coming to Babson, they do have an idea of what they want to do, just because we don’t offer anything besides business. We do tap into other aspects of liberal arts courses here. But at the end of the day, a lot of students are coming here mainly to do business.

Mercy at SocratesPost: What about common questions from parents?

Dario at Babson: So a lot of the questions we get from parents are: Do the students do internships their freshman year, their sophomore year? What is the rate of jobs post-graduation? How many students are going abroad? Those are kind of the typical questions we would get…When we do panels, they’re typically in our auditorium…which usually most of the time has at least 100 people for a panel. So usually don’t go too specific in the questions…because we do offer an information session, which can range from literally one-on-one with a family, or like four or five families together, but it’s a lot more personal, when you have those information sessions versus like a panel. I think a panel’s more like a broad answer onto a lot of those questions. We do give good answers, but obviously we can give a lot more when we have more time and really want to answer directly to what the people are asking.

Mercy at SocratesPost: Got it. It sounds like being a panelist is more like making a speech, whereas doing info sessions is more like having a sit-down conversation.

Dario at Babson: Yeah, I would say that, exactly. Most of the time, when I’m on a panel, I’ll brush upon what worlds I’m involved in. But when I’m doing an information session, I usually explain what the org is about, what the org does, why I joined the org, just because we do have more time and we want to provide answers when it’s more of an information session. So the parents and the student get an understanding of what there is to get involved in, but usually, on a panel, since there’s more than one student participating, we just try to let everyone answer the question, as broad as we can.

Mercy at SocratesPost: Interesting. Since you’ve been involved in admissions for over two years now, do you feel like you’ve gotten a sense of what Babson really wants in the student, and when you talk to someone, whether it’s at an info session or meeting them elsewhere, do you have a feel of whether or not they’d be a good contributor or a good fit to campus?

Dario at Babson: Usually, that’s the question that we get a lot: what exactly do you look for when you’re looking at transcripts, or applications on the common app. One answer — it’s not to sound cliché — but it’s a holistic view.

Mercy at SocratesPost: What do you mean by “holistic view?”

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Mercy at SocratesPost: What do you think set you apart and got you into Babson?

Mercy at SocratesPost: No, I’m not, tell me about your involvement with Posse and why that’s such a big accomplishment for you.

Mercy at SocratesPost: Even though you didn’t win the scholarship at the end, you still consider this one of your biggest accomplishments. Why’s that?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Having gone through their rigorous selection process, what do you think the Posse Foundation is looking for and why do you feel you got so far?

Mercy at SocratesPost: How does Posse evaluate their applicants?

Mercy at SocratesPost: It seems like because you got recognized as a finalist for Posse, that opened doors for you to go to Babson. What’s the story behind that?

Mercy at SocratesPost: When you applied, what did you do differently from others?

I heard back from Babson and I was asked to come on campus for an interview with the Dean of Admissions, which is very rare. I found that out today, actually…

Mercy at SocratesPost: I don’t think any student in the country gets an offer like that. Usually, it’s an email decision or a letter in the mail. I’ve never heard of three higher-ups from the university coming to the high school to announce the news to the accepted student. Did you know they were coming?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Wow, what a coincidence. What kept you out of school that day?

I walked in and there were cameras, flashing news coverage. There were about four newspapers.

Mercy at SocratesPost: What a huge surprise. Did your family attend, too?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Yeah, you thought you’d be going over paperwork, right?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Oh, my goodness. When you saw that, did you take it pretty well? Or were you shocked for a long time?

That’s one thing I definitely needed: the people that helped me through the four years of high school.

Mercy at SocratesPost: What was the significance of these headlines to your high school community?

Mercy at SocratesPost: How did that make you feel? Was that a point of pride for you?

Mercy at SocratesPost: How did this doubt affect your transition into a first-year college student?

Mercy at SocratesPost: In contrast to your millionnaire roommates from Dubai and Indonesia, what was your background?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Even without the same background, how do you differentiate yourself from the others at Babson?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Absolutely. I feel like I can sense that you have humility, but you also give yourself credit where it’s due. You know that you’ve worked hard for your accomplishments, and what I think is unique is that you’re willing to share these experiences with other people. Because it’s one thing to go through them yourself and be happy about your accomplishments. But when you tell people your story, it inspires others. You were talking about how you’re the first person in your high school to go to Babson. So you’re basically a part of your high school’s and your city’s history. That’s a big deal.

Mercy at SocratesPost: It seems like the SAT score isn’t a huge factor in admissions at Babson. Do you think that’s true?

Mercy at SocratesPost: How did your parents’ expectations of you and your sister affect your performance and wellbeing?

Mercy at SocratesPost: How did your family deal with their misconception of you and how you viewed school?

Mercy at SocratesPost: Earlier, you were talking about how you were a two-sport varsity athlete, president of the National Honor Society; you did over 200 hours of community service, and all these different activities. What what stood out to me is, when you’re in high school, it’s really tough to keep up all of those activities, and some people in different districts will do those things only for the purpose of getting into college. For you, it’s almost like you wanted to do it just because you were having a great time, and you liked it. Do you feel like there’s a difference between the students in high school who try to beef up their resume for the purpose of getting into college, kind of like reverse engineering admissions, versus what I think is what you did — correct me if I’m wrong — which is you just had a good time being a mentor, being a tutor, being involved in afterschool programs. That’s why it surprised you that you got the scholarship; because you weren’t doing it to get the scholarship. You were doing it for other reasons.

Mercy at SocratesPost: That sort of alignment helps you keep going, because just imagine if you realize that somebody had awarded you a scholarship for someone that they thought you were, but you knew deep down, it wasn’t who you truly were, and it was an accomplishment that was somehow fabricated. I can just imagine the pressure.

Going back to when you had that interview with the Dean of Admissions, what was that interview like? Did you get a sense during that conversation — the first interview you had with her — that you would get the scholarship and you’d get accepted? What were you thinking then, and what did she want to know about you?

Mercy at SocratesPost: What personal story did you tell in your admissions interview and how did it help sell you as a candidate?
Mercy at SocratesPost: Absolutely. That’s neat. That’s amazing for anybody, really.
Mercy at SocratesPost: It probably took a while to get all the camera crews and all the media people in place, too, because they were planning a huge party for you.
Mercy at SocratesPost: How are you managing the transition to college? You’re halfway through college, and next semester, you’re not even gonna be on campus. But how did you manage it up until now? And how do you see yourself continuing to manage the transition?
Mercy at SocratesPost: Oh my goodness. How did that happen? Were you in sports?

One of the hardest things every Babson student — whether you’re a senior year, a graduate — everyone can come back to that class and say that it’s something that they will never ever want to go through again, very difficult.

Mercy at SocratesPost: Something stood out to me was when you said: you wish that you laid those foundations of learning how you best learn, so you can best study. It’s like you’re on the way to learning those foundations. Do you feel like you’re there yet? If not, how are you learning those skills?
Stay tuned for the rest of our exclusive insider interview with admissions fellow and full scholarship Babson student, Dario, next week!
Stephan Donche a.k.a. Steph, an artist originally from the South of France, will be designing fresh, humorous college admissions-relate cartoons exclusively for SocratesPost, published only in our weekly issues! “’If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you,” Steph quotes Groucho Marx. Find more of his work and follow him on Instagram here: @life_medium_rare

Dear Socrates Q&A

This week, a reader, Jeremy Craig, wrote a Letter To The Editor in response to our Q&A last week. Jeremy has a different take on the answer to Vy’s question from last week.

“When is a good time to take the SAT?”

From Jeremy, who has been teaching test preparation since he was an undergrad Asian history major at Columbia University in New York in 1993.

“The SAT/ACT test what students learn in school. Therefore, the more students go to school, the higher the scores will be. The tendency to start prep for the tests too early in the summer before 11th grade is a common one, but ultimately foolish. The time would be better spent on any number of other activities that will make for a stronger application and ultimately better personal growth. Students will learn much more about the world and themselves scooping ice cream than taking a stack of practice tests over the summer.“

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SocratesPost is always on the frontlines scouring the news for relevant updates in the college admissions landscape. We look for anything that can help shape our understanding of the latest trends in admissions and help our readers see the direction in which we’re moving. Questions we explored this week:

  • Some universities are drastically cutting tuition fees. Then why are students still paying the same amount?
  • After the college admissions scandals this year, this top public university has now implemented stricter regulations on recruiting student-athletes. Which one is it and what are they requiring now?
  • A former US first lady wants to give you a crash course on your freshman year in college. Here’s why she’s doing it and how to access it.

Get answers below.

August 8, 2019 — It might be a marketing tactic.

Most students don’t pay full price tuition anyway, so the reduced tuition fees now only more accurately reflect what most students actually pay. When the sticker price tuition drops, scholarships can also drop accordingly. Schools that have implemented this strategy include Mills, Wells, and St. John’s College.

What does this mean? The sticker price doesn’t mean much. The majority of those who actually paid sticker prices were wealthy or international students.