Filtered by tag: patience Remove Filter

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. 


Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Exterminating College Process Termites

Exterminating College Process Termites

Kate Peltz
Director of College Counseling
Concord Academy

My husband and I were in the midst of a home improvement project. Everything was going smoothly until we took out a large shrub, could better view a post on our porch, and discovered evidence of insect damage.  More than what I could see, what worried me was the places my imagination took me.  I had visions of swarming termites devouring my porch from the inside out. We did not see evidence of any active critters, but how could we be sure we were not facing a major issue?  My mind raced to dark places, causing me to feel both vulnerable and filled with questions.  How big was the scope of our problem?  Is there such a thing as "normal" wear and tear?  Did every very old home have some insect damage? I longed for an expert; I wanted guarantees.  Then it hit me. 

For parents of juniors in high school, worry about the impending college process is the equivalent of termites.  Instead of a manageable project that might even be fun and informative for both student and parent, learning about, preparing for and applying to college feels threatening and destabilizing.  Here are some examples of what college process termites look like when activated: 

Read More

List-Making and Loving The Child You Have

 

List-Making and Loving the Child You Have

Beth Slattery
Upper School Dean
Harvard Westlake School

When my son was in 7th grade, he placed into the highest-level math group. This was a source of great pride for me…until he failed the first three tests. I distinctly remember battling in my head: do I have him move down to a more appropriate level or do I keep him where he is and hope it gets better? I wish I could say I immediately moved him down, but I did not. He stuck it out the whole year, ending with a mercy B- and having no better understanding of algebra than he had 9 months earlier.  Again, I was at a crossroads. This time, I chose the right path for my son. He repeated Algebra (meaning he was no longer in the highest-level math class) and regained his confidence in math.

This incident was about much more than math; it was about deciding to accept the child I had (one who simply didn’t belong in the highest-level course) or spend time wishing he were different, wishing he was the kind of kid who DID belong in the highest-level course. This dilemma comes up all the time for parents at independent schools and is at its worst during the college process, especially as it is time to make “the list.” How many times have kids said “My parents want me to apply to [name any school with a single digit admit rate]”?

Read More