Taking The Next Step

Essential Information for the College Bound -- Summer 2014



Which School?

Your decision is one of the most important
you will ever make.


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Taking The Next Step
12904 Mizner Way
Wellington, FL 33414

Another academic year is coming to an end, and with it comes closure on the tempest of college applications. The angst of selecting a college for the next step in education is done, and the transitioning into that promised Nirvana is at hand. Some will be heading to the school of their dreams; others will be discovering that there is more than one school that will fulfill their dreams.

And now it is time for me to breathe a sigh of relief that each of my counselees has made a good choice with the promise of a valuable college education. For despite the hoopla that dictates choices - the location, the physical plant, the campus beauty, the athletics, the college "scene" - it is the education offered that interests me first and foremost.

But that sigh cannot last long. The rising seniors are at the door; and they have come armed with ideas, and their parents' firm ideas, as to what college they will select. Now it is time for a new deep breath and my personally fabled speech.

"I understand your desire to attend college X; I know you are an excellent candidate for college X. Your academic credentials to date make you a good match for College X. You have a distinctive résumé. You might even have a deep legacy or key source of recommendation. However, you have mirror images who also want to attend college X. You may or may not be accepted.

"My job is to protect you. I want to open your eyes to other excellent possibilities you may not have thought about - or even be aware of. When the year is done, I want to know that you have made a good match, even if it is not the one you initially considered. If it is that one, bravo."

Each year seems to bring new challenges. The cost of college continues its spiral upward, making some colleges out of reach for many. Numbers of spaces are being filled by international students who can afford to pay, leaving fewer places for American students. Admission is less often need-blind, as very few colleges have the financial strength to meet that commitment. Families who cannot qualify for "need" have to stretch, seek loans and hope for the merit aid that some colleges offer. Loans can result in many years of painful payments following college.

Selective colleges are receiving increasing numbers of applications each year, thanks to their enrollment management/marketing practices, and thanks to students who apply to many more colleges to increase possibilities of acceptance. While there may be a top choice, when it comes time to apply, there can be as many as fifteen to twenty colleges on one student's list. So the competition is fierce; the anxiety is huge. The results are skewed, offering little explanation to deserving students who may have to face disappointment for the first time in their lives.

Still I go on believing in my students and believing there is a special place for each in the best of education the United States has to offer, its higher education system. That is what brings me back to the table, after my deep breath, each year. I meet so many special young people who have so much promise, who are discovering who they are, what they want to become, and how they will contribute to the world. Knowing them is my reward and brings my renewed belief in the future of our world.