Essential Information for the College Bound -- Fall 2010




Which School?

You will live with the answer
the rest of your life.



Please visit my blog: BLOG

Taking The Next Step
12904 Mizner Way
Wellington, FL 33414

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 disappointment decreases.

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 search.

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 cross-discipline programs.

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, comes.