Apr 24, 2024 | Blog, College Visits, Newsletters

Tenth Grader with President Kim Cassidy of Bryn Mawr College

“It was intriguing learning how she became president and what she does now.”

“It was a great experience and I would love to meet her again.”

“It was very inspiring and interesting to meet and talk with her.”

“I would describe it as fantastic and awesome.”

“It was a very good and unique experience.”

“Very informative.”

Our Girls & Young Women’s Feedback on Breakfast with President Kim Cassidy of Bryn Mawr College

Recently, we returned to our annual multi-day, overnight college visits during spring break, March 26 to 28, 2024, with visits to Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. In 2020, with the Covid shutdown we switched to virtual college visits which allowed us to expand our reach to schools like Vanderbilt University and Oberlin College. Last year, we transitioned back to in-person visits with a one-day visit to Howard University.

This year was SisterMentors first foray back into our multi-day, overnight college visits. Sixteen girls and young women, mainly in middle school, were on the trip. We spent most of our time at Bryn Mawr with an afternoon visit to Haverford. Both colleges are in close proximity and located approximately thirty minutes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are also part of a consortium which includes Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania.

Bryn Mawr rolled out the red carpet for our visit which, in addition to breakfast with the President, included a meeting with BIPOC students; attending classes; a session on support for low income, first generation students; a fun competitive scavenger hunt, a dance class and information on the value of attending a liberal arts and women’s college. Instead of a regular session on admissions, Bryn Mawr offered a workshop where our girls and young women learned how to review applications and then pretended to be an admissions counselor by reviewing mock college applications and debating whether to admit applicants to the college.

Breakfast with the President

President Cassidy graciously spent an hour at breakfast with us answering questions. The president explained that she was stepping down as president this June and returning to full time teaching. She has been at Bryn Mawr for thirty-one years as faculty, provost and president. She said that her favorite thing about Bryn Mawr is the students and that she had continued teaching a Psychology course while serving as president. She loves the college because she likes being in a small, caring, diverse community.

Our girls and young women were well prepared for a conversation with the president since they had read her bio and brainstormed possible questions the night before. After their questions, the president said that she has had many interviews in her lifetime, but the questions from SisterMentors girls and young women were some of the best questions she has been asked.

One of our young women asked the president to explain what makes a successful president. The president responded that it takes someone who cares deeply about the institution because it can be a hard job. Communication is especially important, she said, and the times she struggled the most were when she forgot to communicate. Relationships are also important because it takes a village to build a college and people want to be involved.

Another young woman asked the president to talk about one of the most difficult times of her presidency. She responded that it was when Covid hit and she had to send students home and didn’t know when they would return, and the college also had to house students who were unable to go home. They did a lot of things right but made lots of mistakes during this scary time, she said.

One middle schooler asked the president to describe the craziest thing she has experienced as president. The president recounted a day when there was a snapping turtle loose on the campus and they had to contain it so it would not hurt anyone. “I would say that I had a very special and unique experience meeting the actual president and being able to talk to her,” said one of our middle schoolers when asked what she would say when asked about meeting with President Cassidy.

Our Visit to Haverford College

SisterMentors at Haverford College

“Because there are people who can’t afford college and come from families who have never been to college,” replied one of our young women when asked why support for low income, first generation college students is important. Our afternoon at Haverford consisted of a session on admissions and a session on different kinds of support available through the Chesick Scholars Program for low income first generation students. An assistant director and a participating student spoke to us about the services the program provides including a food pantry, advice on careers after college, research opportunities with professors and access to an emergency fund. The program is named after a former professor and was initially funded by one of his students. One of the surprising things we learned about Haverford is that ninety percent of students who live on campus are in singles instead of shared sleeping space.

Final Thoughts on Visit to Bryn Mawr

The following are our girls and young women’s final thoughts about their visit to Bryn Mawr:

“It was such a unique and wonderful experience it went way above my expectations.”

“As we were going through the students’ transcripts I saw that it is so important to improve and go above the academic level.”

“I need to get better at including myself in things and set my standards high.”

“I really like how it is a women’s college and everyone is very respectful and treats everyone with welcoming hands.”

“I know exactly what admission wants now since we had a talk with her (admissions counselor) and we could ask her any question. I had a fun time and we got to review admissions papers. Now I know that I should take all the [tough] classes I can get and do a lot of outside activities.”

“If I want to study at Bryn Mawr, I need to work harder.”

More in this Category

Annual College Visits 2023

Annual College Visits 2023

Virtual College Send-off “Very Inspiring! I'm in tears of joy!,” one of our guests exclaimed. We kicked off our week of college visits, on Monday, April 3, 2023, with a packed virtual send-off teeming with excitement and energy. Over fifty donors and friends showed up...

read more