If you have a child in college, or if you’re getting ready to send one off to school, chances are you have a lot on your plate. You want to stay up-to-date to make the college process easier for your family, but when can you fit in all that research and reading?
Here’s the secret: podcasts.
You can listen to podcasts during your commute, while you’re at the gym, and even while you’re walking the dogs. You don’t have to squint at tiny text or even spend hours in front of the screen. Instead, you can listen to friendly voices share information about the college application process, financial aid, dorm room essentials, and everything else college-related.
Not sure where to get started? We’ve got you covered.
What you should be listening to
1. USA College Chat
This weekly podcast is for parents and high school students who are preparing for college. It was created by the non-profit Policy Studies in Education (PSE).
There is content about nearly every college-related topic you can think of. The 175+ episodes cover a variety of issues related to the college search, including what classes admissions teams look for, what you need to know about college security, and ideas to improve college essays.
2. Freakonomics Radio
This award-winning podcast is hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the popular book by the same name. It explores topics ranging from business to money to psychology through interviews with experts and everyday people.
How does this relate to the college process? We suggest checking out this episode:
Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1.
3. Getting In
This 42-episode series produced by Slate followed a group of high school seniors inNew York through the process of applying for, and being accepted to, college.
It played in “real-time” meaning the series technically ended in June 2016. But each episode is wonderfully narrated and informative. Each episode contains the stories of students who are advised by a panel of experts, including a former admissions officer from Princeton and experienced high school counselors.
In addition to the students' stories, the experts answer questions submitted by the listeners. This series gives a detailed look into the lives of the students and their families, so when you listen, you won’t feel like you’re doing this alone. Start with episode one: Meet the Students, Meet the Experts.
4. NPR Education
The NPR Education collects all of the radio news and written content related to education that is shared by local NPR stations across the country.
So, while it’s not technically a podcast, it’s a way to get concise, well-reported news about the higher ed landscape in one place. Most of the recordings are less than five minutes long. For example, check out this story about how more students are requesting additional financial aid because their families have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also sign up for the NPR Ed newsletter to get updates sent straight to your in-box.
5. Stuff You Should Know
This podcast covers everything ... and we mean everything. The purpose is to help the public understand how common things work or have worked in history. This isn’t a podcast specifically about the college admissions process, instead, it’s about educating yourself on a diverse cross section of topics.
Curious about Trickle-Down Economics? How about walruses? These topics, and just about anything else you can think of, are available. It’s a great option for the car when you're road-tripping to visit schools or if you need a distraction when the college search progress is taking over your brain.
Podcasts are a great way to learn information on the go. You don’t have to have your face glued to a screen to learn about scholarships or the costs of meal plans. No matter where you listen, podcasts keep you up to date about the latest trends in higher ed.
See also: 4 Ready-to-Go Checklists You Need Before College