All posts by Steve Peifer

A Reminder: The Work We Do Changes Lives


Editor’s note:  This post was originally published on Admitted in August 2017. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

All of you see it every year.

A senior who graduated in May stops in before they head off to college. The smile is bright, but the eyes betray them; they are scared.

It’s easy for me to reassure them because, as old as I am, I remember how transformational the first week of college was. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I grew up in a town of 13,000 in Illinois. I really had no idea what to expect. I was pretty scared.

It started in my second class. My professor said something, and I laughed out loud. He asked me what was so funny, and I told him that I had never ever thought about what he had just mentioned. He gave me a sly grin and became a lifelong mentor.

Continue reading A Reminder: The Work We Do Changes Lives

Ode to an Admission Rep


My youngest children—twins my wife and I adopted in Kenya during our 14 years there—are just beginning the college search process.

They are now 16, and my daughter and I went on a college tour last week. We visited two large public schools and two small private schools. We got up at 3 a.m. to make a flight, and our first school was a very large public university. It was a great tour, and our rep had gone beyond expectations to make it personal for my daughter. But then, something extraordinary happened.

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Close to Missing Something Great


Editor’s note: This column was first shared on the NACAC Exchange.

It’s just BUSY this time of the year, and while what I WANT to do is close the door and write, write, write, there are a myriad of other things that have to do done. There is nothing that says fall like the word busy.

So when a student popped in my office and asked if she could work on her application, I told her sure and kept working on what I needed to do. She would ask the occasional question, but mostly we were both working on her separate to-do lists.

Then there was silence. As a father of five, I FEAR silence. I looked up, and she was crying.

Continue reading Close to Missing Something Great

College T-Shirt Beach Etiquette


Editor’s note: This column was first shared on the NACAC Exchange.

Like many college counselors, the only T-shirts I own are college T-shirts. Last week, I wore lots of them during a beach vacation. Since the only time I usually wear them is at the gym at 5 a.m., I don’t usually get many reactions. However, at the beach, people would respond to the college on the shirt, and it became challenging to know how to respond:

Steve Peifer with his wife, Nancy. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Person at Beach: I WENT TO TEXAS A&M!

Me: That’s nice.

PAB: DON’T YOU JUST LOVE IT? (At the beach, people scream when they see their college on a T-shirt.)

Me: I think it is one of the greatest large universities in the US.


Continue reading College T-Shirt Beach Etiquette