It is almost Thanksgiving. WOW! It seems as though it
was just summer, with my students headed for college in the Fall of 2010
digging into the application process. Thanksgiving is a special date for
me. In addition to it being my favorite holiday of the year, it is the
deadline I give my students for completing all applications: Early
Decision; Early Action; and Regular Admissions (even though the latter
may be held in readiness to submit by the beginning of 2011). And I am
delighted to say that this year all of my seniors are meeting that
deadline. Indeed, they have done excellent work on their applications.
Hopefully, they will reap good rewards!
In September, I posted an article
in US News by Kathleen Kingsbury with the message that a demographic
shift, resulting in a population dip, is good news for applicants and
their families. College will become more accessible to many; and colleges
will compete harder for the best and the brightest of students. One
positive benefit is that there will be considerably more merit aid for to
those who do not qualify for financial need.
However, I have recently posted an article
that contradicts that view. In the New York Times Education Life
issue of November 7, Eric Hoover cites that the application numbers
"keep rising." He states that the college-bound population is
still growing, along with the number of applications each student
submits. This increase comes in part from the aggressive recruiting by
colleges. Last year applications to top colleges increased by
double-digits. This year, it is anticipated there will be even greater
increases in applications to those same colleges. Colleges are concerned
about yield as they strive to build a quality class. Increasing numbers
of applications help them to have a larger pool from which to draw, while
they also help them to appear more and more selective.
But where does that leave the students? Frantic and stressed! Fearful
about not submitting sufficient applications to ensure that they will
find a good match for themselves during their college years! Fearful of
rejection! Yet, I might add that as students submit more and more applications
to protect themselves, this becomes a double-edged sword for colleges.
While the application numbers are going up, the yield of accepting
students may be going down.
All of this being said, I find when colleges are selected
carefully and suitably, my students do make a good match and have a very
satisfying college experience. When I can help them expand their horizons
and discover colleges that may be unknown to them at the outset of our
work together, their options increase, while their potential for
During the first week in November, I attended the semi-annual conference
of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)
in Cincinnati, Ohio and had contact with several area colleges. Each of
these schools could be just the right match for some of my students, even
though they might not be known to them as they initiate their college
The opening session of the conference featured three college presidents:
Dr. Bobby Fong of Butler
University; Dr. Rock Jones of Ohio
Wesleyan; and Dr. Owen Williams of Transylvania.
Each focused on the purpose of college: ask the larger questions and
discover a purpose for life. That is the opportunity that a liberal arts
college offers. Colleges must fulfill their obligation to provide
excellence in teaching, offering academic programs that prepare students
for tomorrow and the rapidly changing world we inhabit.
Butler is a college of 4,000 students located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In addition to its liberal arts, it features programs in Business,
Education and Health Sciences. Ohio Wesleyan is a smaller comprehensive
liberal arts college in Delaware, Ohio with 2000 students; Transylvania
is an even smaller college in the beautiful horse country of Lexington
Kentucky. Under its new president, it is emerging rapidly offering
comprehensive liberal arts, as well as a number of pre-professional and
I also had the opportunity to discover another fine small Ohio College, Otterbein.
Located in Westerville, Ohio, it is within thirty minutes of Columbus.
This pristine campus, with an outstanding school plant, offers a very
diverse program in the liberal arts. The music, theatre and arts programs
are notable. There is a unique Equine Sciences program. Students are
actively engaged, both in community service at home and abroad. Indeed,
the Center for International Education and Global engagement encourages
and facilitates meaningful study abroad programs.
Good options, such as I have discussed, abound for good students. I do
worry, however, that the hype that comes with "news" from
articles such as I have posted will be taken as some sort of gospel.
While it is good to be cognizant of these points of view, it is most
important to do a personal reality check and to feel positive about the
steps taken to ensure that there will be a promising college experience
for each of my students on the horizon when Spring, my favorite season,