I'm excited to share my latest newsletter with you! As always, I've curated some material for reading and listening from the latest admission news, with some useful resources and a timely topic for the college search.
We're well into the new year! Juniors are making their initial college thinking explorations, seniors are playing the waiting game and catching glimmers of the excitement of graduation on the horizon (but there are still important ways to stay engaged in their application process, as I discuss in this edition's calendar), and younger students are thinking about choosing next year's classes, as well as plans for the summer. I hope that this newsletter's content offers some valuable resources for families of students at each of these stages.
In this edition I highlight:
The counseling calendar/ checklist for late winter/ early spring
Insights from six leaders in different corners of the admission world, sharing their thoughts on what 2023 will bring. The folks highlighted here are a generous, thoughtful bunch.
Inside Higher Ed's look at why standardized tests are less important than ever. Recently I saw some reporting on test submission, and roughly half of all applicants at a group of well-known selective mid-size universities are applying without scores this year.
A veteran VP of enrollment, Jon Boeckenstedt, offers some wisdom on “Why You Were Denied.” Bottom line: college admission offices answer to many constituents and constraints when making decisions. Part of the experience in which I guide students is understanding what you can't control, and focusing on what you can. As Jon concludes: things work out, and you can learn life lessons along the way.
On that note, the terrific The Truth About College Admission podcast, featuring Rick Clark (also in the prediction article) and Brennan Barnard (cited below) checks in with the brilliant Angela Duckworth of U Penn's Grit Lab on “Character Development for College Applicants.” Listen to a soundbite here,and the whole interview above. You've probably noticed that I share Rick and Brennan's thoughtful, straightforward work a lot, and I even “blurbed” their highly recommended book for families.
It's time for 11th graders to start exploring their options, and Brennan shares some good mental places from which to launch your own college search, sourced from counseling and admission professionals, in his Forbes piece. You can also read his on-point list of good search resources.
It's also time for 9th, 10th and 11th graders to think about summer plans. There's no right or wrong thing to do in the summer, and if you want or need to get a summer job-- that shows maturity and responsibility! It's also important to maintain balance and some downtime to reflect and recharge. This guide from Teen Life is a good place to start looking for opportunities to pursue and deepen interests.
Eric Hoover writes about admission for the Chronicle of Higher Education. I'm honored to have been a friend of Eric's, and even an occasional source, for years. The Trusted Voices podcast talks to Eric about what's on his mind as he talks to admission leaders these days.
I believe firmly in maintaining a little sense of humor in the midst of the college search, and let's face it, life in general. The satirical folks at McSweeney's offer their rating of “Common App: the Family Game.” Part of my role as a guide in this process is to help the players have a little more fun than this reviewer did, and learn a little about themselves in the process.
This month, I offer my advice on planning and executing college visits. When you have the chance to take them, they can be a valuable tool in the search for fit-- if you take your time, organize your impressions, and dig beneath the surface. Included in this visit overview are links to some nifty resources, including a site for quickly finding and booking tours at colleges, and my Visit Cluster Guide that may help you get started mapping out a trip.
This is the ideal time for this year's 11th graders to get on board with a comprehensive counseling package, and begin the process of self-reflection, initial list building and research. I am grateful that as my practice and referrals grow, I have a great group of juniors on board. There are a handful of spaces left on my docket to onboard soon and have a healthily paced research and application process.
Families with students in grades 8-10 can begin an advising package to do some exploration of interests, and check in with me as questions arise on course selection, extracurricular engagement, test prep, and other topics related to making the most of high school and preparing for a low-stress college search.