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Postcards from Kal: Supporting a Military Veteran in his College Process

Postcards from Kal: Supporting a Military Veteran in his College Process

Sam Bigelow
Director of College Counseling
Middlesex School

There were so many more tourists in St. Mark’s Square at 9am in the morning than the previous night. And the late June heat, my wife and I knew we were about thirty minutes ahead of Kal who was coming from his brother’s army base by train, about an hour south of Venice, so we sought the shade, found a spot, and waited. I had spoken with Kal plenty of times, emailed with him more, and yet, now that it was time to meet him (as chance would have it, we were both in Venice, Italy, of all places, at the same time), I was really nervous. 

A year prior, my father, who is a retired admissions director and college counselor, and I had signed on as Service2School Ambassadors, volunteer counselors for active military who were transitioning out of the service and hoping to enroll in college. So, thanks to the encouragement of my dad, and after a short vetting process, I was matched with Kal. He wrote me a very formal, gracious note introducing himself and sharing his Service2School profile. We set up a time to talk, he was from Austin, Texas, and I was at my mother-in-law’s in Maine. We got on the phone and the connection was scratchy. It took me no time to figure out that Kahlil was actually calling me from Kuwait, not from Austin, and he has just returned from a mission. He wanted to go to business school, didn’t know what schools beyond his in-state schools he could be competitive for, and more than anything really just needed someone to tell him he was good enough. From my perspective, he had strong testing, a great set of grades from high school and online college courses, and an incredible story to tell from his years as a Navy Medic Corpsman. He was a hero. In his eyes, Kal saw himself as a young immigrant who got in trouble in high school, wasn’t ready for college, and enlisted in the Navy to straighten himself out. One of the biggest issues I would face, I realized, was helping him see just how worthy and deserving he was. 


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You are the Best You: Tips for Authentic Applications

You are the Best You: Tips for Authentic Applications

Lesley Klecan
Director of College Counseling
St. Mary's School


The best thing you can do to better your chances of admission is to be authentically yourself. 

Admissions officers say that the best applicants are those whose personality shines through. They read thousands of applications, so they can usually tell when someone is not being completely truthful. Melea Tejedas, Assistant Director for Portland Metro Recruitment for the University of Oregon, says, “When students are authentically themselves through the admissions process, it shows. Sometimes students will write an essay, or have a conversation with us, or withhold information about themselves, thinking that it is what we want to hear- or don’t want to hear. The truth is that when a student is honest and open about who they are, it shows. Honesty and authenticity allow us to truly connect with the student and their experiences, and to envision how they will fit on our campus. No individual is perfect, so a student attempting to portray that they are does not come across as genuine.”


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Success and Happiness in the College Search

Success and Happiness in the College Search

Beth Foulk
Associate Director of College Counseling
The Lawrenceville School

I had just wrapped up college applicant interviews at a community-based organization in Philadelphia, and a staff member and I were informally chatting about my experience. All of the students were impressive; one was participating in lab research at the University of Pennsylvania, another was learning about drinking water impurities in the Philadelphia area, and an aspiring engineer had built his own computer from scratch. It was a rather self-selecting pool of students; they had already researched my institution and each had a competitive academic profile for the admissions pool.

“It was an awesome night,” I shared. “I have to admit, one of the students really struck me as that perfect fit for my university. I can imagine him studying across colleges, probably majoring in engineering while minoring in business. He’ll love that he can participate in theater without majoring. He described wanting a campus that is highly involved and has a lot of school spirit, and we pride ourselves on that. He even described what he would do with the fully funded international internship we offer.” The staff member nodded her head, smiling. She had requested that he research my institution, already seeing how his values, goals, and personality lined up with our student body. Then she said, “He is currently stuck on just one institution, though, and I’m trying to get him to branch out. I think he would be successful at that particular college, but I worry that he won’t be happy.”

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Calming The Storm: 4 Takeaways from Harvard's Turning The Tide II Report

Calming The Storm: 4 Takeaways from Harvard's Turning The Tide II report

Lesley Klecan
Director of College Guidance
St. Mary's School 

The newest report out of Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project targets families and high schools as central to increasing sanity in college admissions.

And rightly so.

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"!Pero qué escándalo!" A College Counselor's Perspective on the College Admissions Scandal

 

"!Pero qué escándalo!" A College Counselor's Perspective on the College Admissions Scandal
A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion AdmitAll Post

Ashley Armato

Senior Associate Director of College Counseling
Palmer Trinity School

As a part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) committee, DE&I blog posts endeavor to share opportunities and perspectives that will allow us to better support our students and communities, while building on our own professional growth.

“What a scandal!” That’s all I heard from parents as the news of Operation Varsity Blues hit the airwaves. This was tabloid fodder at its strongest, wrapped in prestige, intelligentsia, and privilege. By now, a plethora of articles have been written exposing the ugly underbelly of college admissions, athletic recruitment, and standardized testing procedures.

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Unwrapping the Gift of Gratitude: How High School Seniors can Show Gratitude in the College Process

Unwrapping the Gift of Gratitude: How High School Seniors can Show Gratitude in the College Process

Kait Long
Assistant Director of College Guidance
Sewickley Academy

A quick Google search of the word “gratitude” will give you countless results ranging from blog posts to TED Talks to scientific articles. It’s a popular topic in many fields, including education, and the importance of expressing gratitude has been discussed at length. But there is one thing many of these excellent pieces neglect to mention — expressing gratitude can be hard. And sometimes, it can be really hard, especially for high school seniors in the midst of the college process. It can also be uncomfortable, awkward, and make you feel incredibly vulnerable. And that’s how you know you’re doing it right. True, genuine gratitude takes time to understand and develop, and it takes even more practice to learn how to express it.

I’ll be the first to admit that expressing gratitude was not a priority when I was a senior in high school, especially in February when the days felt long and I was anxiously awaiting college decisions. Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to thoughtfully acknowledge all of the wonderful people in my life, instead of handing out quick “thank yous” and hugs during the final nostalgic days of school. I’m sure it would have felt awkward opening up to others in this way, but in hindsight, I know they deserved more than I offered.

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The Radar: An Educator's Response to the Pittsburgh Tragedy


We are honored to share this blog entry and we realize it isn’t typical for an AdmitAll post. Lauren Lieberman’s words below are deeply personal, yet also universal. She reminds us that even as school leaders, we are also human and there are times when we have to care for our school communities AND let them care for us. And sometimes seeing the adults in their lives as vulnerable allows students to grow and learn and realize that we all struggle through tragedies together. 

The Radar: An Educator’s Response to the Pittsburgh Tragedy

Lauren Lieberman
Director of College Counseling
Shady Side Academy

When I received a text message from our school counselor this past Monday evening, I showed it to my husband and said, “I’m officially on the radar.”


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