College Advice from a College Dean

As the second semester drones on, college decisions still loom for many seniors.

     Juniors begin their College Counseling meetings, and sophomores start exploring colleges that catch their eye.

     But where is everyone in the process?

     More importantly, where should everyone be, and what should Ursuline girls of all grades expect in the near future?

     Dean Matt Myers is here to help.

     Myers is the ninth dean of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

     After serving as a medic in the U.S. Army Airborne from 1979 to 1982, primarily in Panama, he received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and a Masters of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina.

     He has served as visiting faculty at ESSEC-Paris and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, as well as having taught at the Vienna University of Economics and in other locations including Italy, Romania, Taiwan and Uzbekistan.

     He has appeared or been cited on CNBC, Fox Business, CBS Radio, “The Financial Times” and “The Wall Street Journal.”

     To add to his impressive list of accomplishments, he also has two daughters at Ursuline—seniors Winston and Carlisle Myers, who are fraternal twins.

     When asked about a typical second semester for seniors, Myers emphasizes the importance of keeping grades up.

     “You should take as many courses as possible that will prepare you for freshman year [of college],” he said. “It’s important to stay motivated this semester, so these classes should keep you interested.”

     Most seniors are done with applications, but those awaiting decisions have likely heard the term “demonstrated interest,” which entails touring campuses, emailing admissions counselors and ultimately showing “interest” in colleges.

     According to Myers, though, not all colleges consider this as an admissions factor.

     “It depends on the school. Smaller schools need to see that you are serious about attending the school—for big state schools who are largely admitting based on GPA and test scores, it’s not as important.”

     Although demonstrated interest happens before and during applications, juniors don’t need to worry about doing this yet.

     However, several seniors recommend getting a head start on standardized testing.

     Emma Kenchel ’22 took her SAT in September 2021, right in the middle of college applications and a tumultuous first semester.

     She thinks that if she could do it again, she would take it junior year.

     “It was so hard to balance SAT prep with college applications and my other commitments,” she said.  “Take it junior year so that you don’t need to worry about it when you start applying to college.”

     She also mentions regretting taking the SAT and prefers the ACT due to the smaller math section.

     “The ACT has four sections while the SAT has two, so it’s easier to get through math with the ACT.”

     Finally, sophomores should start exploring what they’re interested in.

     “I don’t think it’s too early for sophomores to consider what they want to do later in life,” Myers said. “For example, if you know you want to go overseas, studying abroad at a university is a great option.”

     He added, “Think about what you want to do, and when you’re a junior, explore colleges based on what you decide.”

     To round off the father-daughter interview, Myers notes how different college is from high school.

     “They’re worlds apart.

     It’s a completely different universe.

     What a school like Ursuline allows you to do is be prepared for college—it teaches you the right habits for being a good student and for understanding what a heavy workload is.

     But once you get to college, it’s different in so many ways.

     The challenges will be different, but at the same time, a whole new world will be brought to you, both academically and socially.”

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