High School Principal Sheds Light On College Admissions Process

Syosset High School Principal Dr. John Durante recently launched a podcast with the goal of providing information straight from college admissions professionals of top universities and colleges.

Dr. John Durante

“I know that Syosset High School has a fabulous guidance department and the parents here are well-served, but I thought, ‘What if I did a podcast with college reps who would be willing to talk about their school, the entrance process, the essay, the application and more?’ ” he stated.

Through the podcast, named The College Admissions Process Podcast (The CAPP), students and parents can hear straight from the people who ultimately make the decisions, with insight and advice on every aspect of the college admissions process.

“Like most people, during the lockdown, we had to find things to do,” Durante said. “One of my passions is the game of soccer; I love soccer and am a soccer coach.”

He wanted to learn more about coaching so he starting listening to soccer-related podcasts and attending Zoom sessions about the sport.

He had always been fascinated with podcasts.

“It is radio on-demand,” Durante said. “With my schedule, I like listening to things about a specific topic that I like.”

Durante knew podcasts were the answer to a bigger question. He quickly realized what the need was and how he could address it.

Education—his own podcast specialty would be a no-brainer.

“I am a high school principal and I just went through the college process with not one, but two daughters, who are now a junior and a freshman in college,” Durante said.

He reached out to some of the college reps that he got to know well during his own college entrance journeys with his daughters.

“Seven of nine colleges that I approached with the idea said yes right away; they thought it was a fabulous idea,” Durante said. “I immediately thought ‘Holy cow, now I actually have to do my research because I had never really recorded or published a podcast.’ ”

His drive to always learn something new, while also doing things the right way, proved successful in his launch.

Schools represented on the podcasts recorded to date include Cornell University, University of Michigan, Penn State, University of Florida, SUNY Geneseo, Michigan State, Iona College, Adelphi University, High Point University, Ohio State University, Sacred Heart University, Bucknell University and Syracuse University.

“You are getting top-quality information from the people who make the decisions without having to pay a penny,” Durante said.

Within the next couple of weeks, podcasts with SUNY Oswego, Boston College, University of Delaware, Muhlenberg College, University of Arizona, Fairfield University, Susquehanna University and University at Albany will be released.

Dozens of colleges and universities are lined up to be feature on the podcast between now and July.

“I am all about helping people,” Durante said. “People are very stressed about the college application process.”

The CAPP has more than 2,500 subscribers. Most of the listeners are from New York, but Durante said that the analytics show listeners from every part of the country including Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

“By listening to the podcast, it’s going to prompt you to ask additional questions, higher-level questions so that when you meet the rep or go on a tour, you will have better questions to ask as opposed to ‘What’s the application deadline?’”

Durante, a Stony Brook University alum, has been the principal of Syosset High School for 12 years. He is also a member of the Stony Brook University Distributed Teacher and Leader Program Advisory Board. In 2016 he was named “Best Principal on Long Island” from the Bethpage Federal Credit Union and is also a recipient of the PTA Founders Day Award and Jenkins Award.

Durante started his career at Syosset High School in 1994 as a teacher of world languages.
Episodes are available every week and students and parents can send questions to be considered for future episodes to: collegeadmissionstalk@gmail.com.

The College Admissions Process Podcast is available anywhere you subscribe to podcasts (including Spotify, Apple. iHeart Radio, Google, etc.). You can also listen by visiting www.collegeadmissionstalk.com.

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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