Last night I had the privilege to present my thoughts about the college search to the Barrington Council for the Gifted and Talented, a wonderful community group that provides social opportunities for students in our school district. They host game nights, pizza parties, and meetings about practical matters throughout the school year. Last night was their very first College Night, which drew a healthy audience of students, siblings, and parents.
The first step in any college search is to really work on "knowing thyself." What you like, what makes you tick, what others identify as your gifts. Academic gifts are part of the equation. But every student also has other gifts and interests that deserve as much (or more) attention in determining what to seek from college, and from life. This is truly a joyful part of the "college process": the opportunity to really reflect on the meaning of your life.
Talking to parents after the presentation, I was pleased to hear that they felt enormous relief when I pointed out that the student is the person who has control in the "college process." The student has the power to decide which colleges have the privilege of receiving the student's application. The student has the power to decide what under what conditions (early decision, early acceptance, regular acceptance, etc.) that the college may review the application. The student has the power to decide which school with be blessed with the student's enrollment when the next school year begins.
Squelching this pervasive cultural fear is why I began working with college-bound students. It breaks my heart to see students and families stressed out over misplaced fears. Fears that their student is not good enough, fears that no schools are interested in receiving that student, fears that the college process is about measuring up to the mythical "college expectations." These fears are all based in falsehoods. I believe the college process is a time of self-evaluation, self-discovery, and the first steps in the student's life as a young adult. I hope that you will consider engaging my services to assist your student through the college process. I promise that it will be fun.
Shepherding our children to adulthood demands our love, our attention, and our acceptance of who they are.