A Message from the Director of College Counseling
These days, college admissions, especially at elite schools, may leave applicants and parents feeling like pawns on a broken (or perhaps brokered) chess board, thanks in part to Operation Varsity Blues and the fallout of the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal. The high cost of higher education may also cause some sticker shock, given steep tuition increases since the 1980s. So, why play this game and pay such a high premium for four years of focused study, especially if Ivy League College X is now so selective that the chances of getting in have dwindled to nearly nothing? Furthermore, why pursue elite college admissions when employer perception data clearly show that an undergraduate’s college reputation matters far less in the hiring process than her relevant skills, knowledge, and related work experience gained while in college?
Despite these challenges and vexing questions, or perhaps because of them, my goal remains to find the best institutional match for each Sage Ridge student. I am eager and proud to support families in their search for college fit because there is purpose in the application and selection process beyond college branding and rankings, admissions frenzy and hype. For more on finding college fit, please review my slides from a professional round-table discussion that I led at the 2019 ACCIS Summer Institute.
Admission outcomes matter, of course. But they matter mainly because the student engagement that drives the holistic admission process and the human character that is shaped by it are key elements in each individual’s unfolding story. For those who engage deeply in this process there are vital developmental currents, critical analyses, and interpersonal dynamics that infuse and inform it, placing admission results in a broader, more nuanced life context. By the same token, personal questions of motivation, self-discovery, and decision making emerge for thoughtful, open students like beacons of truth or windows of insight and wisdom in often unexpected ways, making the admission process uniquely revelatory rather than the defining measure of high school success. Perhaps this is why Frank Bruni, a New York Times op-ed columnist, titled his book Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania (2016).
For these and other reasons I am passionate about supporting Sage Ridge students on their journeys to college. Knowing that I don’t have all the answers, I continue to learn from my colleagues and from parents and students, while the landscape of college admission continues to shift in small and seismic ways. So, bring your curiosity and reflective capacities, your goals and grit, and join me on the journey!