Filtered by author: Samantha Schreiber Clear Filter

Six Easy Ways to Earn MVP on Turkey Day

Six Easy Ways to Earn MVP on Turkey Day
Bartley Sides, Christ Church Episcopal School (SC)

This is an updated blog that Bartley originally wrote for SACAC many years ago. However, even as the college admission landscape has changed, the advice remains the same.

In a few days, roughly 46 million turkeys will be consumed when our country pauses for a day of thanks with family and friends. However, one thing will certainly not pause this Thursday: the nagging feeling of anxiety and worry for the millions of high school seniors awaiting college decisions. While their younger cousins play football in the front yard, seniors may very well be cornered in the dining room answering endless questions about college from aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  

I’ve had students share with me that they often dread family gatherings because of the questions, the unsolicited advice, and the comparisons between other family members, friends, and neighbors. To be fair, college is an easy conversation starter. It’s relevant, it’s important, and everyone feels like they have a little something extra to add. However, I beg of you: please allow the seniors to relax and enjoy their pumpkin pie in peace!  


Read More

New Home, Same Furniture

New Home, Same Furniture 
Shawn Miller, St John’s School

NRG Stadium has a maximum capacity of over seventy-two thousand people, yet over ninety-five thousand are packed in tonight. My wife, wearing boots purchased from Amazon, is chatting with my new colleague, his pair blending in with the sea of Cavender’s. He is spirited and kind, accepting our last minute invite to join us at the first Garth Brooks concert in Houston in seven years. As the lights dim and the crowd rises, I feel like I’ve finally encountered a small part of what it means to be Texan. 

Napa, California has a total population of around seventy-eight thousand people. With some of the finest wineries, restaurants, and natural beauty in the world at their fingertips, the tourists regularly outnumbered the residents, save for “heavy” traffic on the two lane streets. 

Read More

The Miracle is You

The Miracle is You
Carter Delloro, Marymount School of New York

I am a father to a toddler. And like many parents of toddlers, at some point in the last eight months or so, I was introduced to the new Disney film, Encanto. Repeatedly. Our household is currently averaging one viewing of Encanto per day. Every car ride features at least some of the soundtrack. So I’ve had a lot of time to mull over the themes that Lin-Manuel Miranda and his co-creators were addressing in their film.

Whenever I think about Encanto, and especially its songs, I can’t help but think about my students. While the whole world knows the smash hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” (which my wife and I have fashioned into a nifty duet for our bedtime routine), the songs that hit home emotionally for me are the ones that immediately precede and follow that hit. Just a fair warning: light spoilers lie ahead.

Read More
1 Comments

The Waitlist: The Final Frontier

The Waitlist: The Final Frontier
Matthew DeGreeff, Middlesex School

On July 17th, 2020, I was standing in the parking lot of Drake’s Island Beach in Wells, Maine when I received a phone call from a college admissions officer with an urgent request. He wanted to offer Sam, one of our recently graduated students, a spot in the Class of 2024 for the fall semester; however, he wanted to know before the offer was made if Sam would take it. Breathlessly, I called Sam, pulling him away from his summer job to ask him the big question:  do you want to go to your dream college that deferred you in early decision, waitlisted you in regular decision, and now wants you to join their incoming class?  And by the way, they are asking you to commit on the spot in the middle of the summer!  An eternal optimist, Sam had the full range of emotions from sheer joy to momentary confusion. He had done the hard work we asked him to do. He finished his senior year brilliantly, nailing terrific scores on his APs and was recognized by the faculty for his remarkable senior leadership during the crazy spring of 2020. He fell in love with the college he deposited with, and he had found roommates, started registering for classes, and was preparing with his parents to make his first tuition payment. He was in a very good place, yet he kept hope alive for his dream school, just in case something changed. In the spring of 2020, COVID changed everything, and the world of college admissions witnessed record numbers of waitlist acceptances as deans of admissions tried to figure out what the fall of 2020 would look like on their campuses. Within an hour on that hot July day, Sam accepted the offer from his dream school, feeling a bit guilty about saying no to the college he was intending to enroll in, but knowing that he could not turn down an opportunity that he had been considering for nearly two years.   

As I reflect back on Sam’s story I wonder who benefits from the waitlist and what are the costs to the students. There is a lot to unpack. In many ways, the waitlist is the most unregulated, least watched, and emotionally loaded space in the admissions cycle. For students, the offer to remain on the waitlist means, as Jim Carrey noted in Dumb and Dumber, that “there’s a chance” that a spot might open up in the incoming class. However, for this generation of students waiting even longer cuts against the grain of their online existence and need for immediate feedback. The waitlist requires another round of “letters of continued interest” to demonstrate their unquestioned fealty to the college along with finishing senior year strongly when their classmates are thinking about attending prom and walking across the stage at graduation. The waitlist requires patience, resilience, and the strength to buckle up and ride out the process to the bitter end, and this is a tall task for students as early May turns into late June with their final notification still pending. One of my old admissions colleagues used to remind younger members on the admissions committee that “until the last acceptance letter is in the U.S. Mail truck that there was always a chance.”  As an admissions officer and a college counselor, I have always believed that if there is a chance why not pursue it with eyes wide open, knowing we gave the process our collective best effort; however, I recognize that the elongation of the process is not always healthy for teenagers who need to move forward with their lives. I have found that more and more students are done with the college process by late April. Once they have attended revisit days, felt the love from the college they deposit with, and start to feel a sense of belonging with their college, they are ready to move forward with their lives. The hardy few try to keep hope alive.       

Read More

To Educate is to Lead: Empowering Counselors as Leaders

To Educate is to Lead: Empowering Counselors as Leaders
Timothy L. Cross, The Lawrenceville School

Two decades ago with my Classics diploma still curled into a scroll, I assured myself there was no shame in not wanting to become a Latin teacher. Nothing of note had been written in Latin in a couple millennia plus no exciting discoveries in grammar or syntax were making headlines. In reflection, I realized that teaching Classics was too slow an expedition because I didn’t see the opportunities for growth for me. I still wanted to help students develop and mature, and I thought back to how my greatest moments of personal growth during high school transpired beyond the classroom. Now, partnering with students through the ever-mutating college process has provided me the opportunity to join their journeys while ensuring that every day brought progress–both for them and for me. With all that is going on in the world, I recently needed to remind myself why I counsel students: to walk stride-for-stride with them toward their goals.

The etymology of the term “education” comes from the Latin verb ēdūcō, ēdūxī meaning “to lead forth, draw out.” The definition depicts physical movement: an educator driving a learner from one place (of not knowing) to another (learnedness). Thus, to educate is to lead. Educators must recurrently generate and sustain movement toward a shared goal among colleagues or students; I believe this because complacency begets obsolescence while the unpredictability of the world—and the college process—is constantly evolving. The etymology of “education” shows me that all educators are, by definition, leaders.

Read More
1 Comments