Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wash U and Chicago Tours

September was my month of visiting schools.

First stop. St. Louis. The city with the arch. And the old Mississippi. Not to mention the red hot Cardinals.

I had the privilege to spend two full days visiting Wash U and drink in the gorgeous Gothic architecture.

The spacious quad. The friendly, very "nice" student body of 5,000.

I know now why Wash U is the "Harvard of the Midwest".

Next stop. Chicago. Three schools in three days.

First day. Lake Forest. The national liberal arts college of Chicago.

Lake Michigan is a block away. Chicago a 50 minute train ride away. What stood out to me was the passion Lake Forest professors have for teaching.

Second stop. Northwestern. I felt right at home in a sea of purple. Love Evanston too. It's know as the "cuisine capital of the world". And what stunning architecture and beautiful Ivy.

This is a picture of "the Rock". To advertise NW students have to camp out for 24 hours to claim rights.

Last stop. University of Chicago. Interesting factoid: U of Chicago was the second choice for the Harry Potter movies. U of Chicago IS HOGWARTS.

Another interesting factoid. U of Chicago is the home to the 1st Heisman Trophy. Who would have thought it?

Great stretch of college visits. And a reminder that there are excellent schools all over the US. There is just no such thing as only "one good school".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peter van Buskirk Recap...if you missed

130+ from Casady community showed up - students and parents. From the feedback I received - all were educated and energized by Peter's seminar on what they learned about the college admission process.

Here is main message I took:

A student-centered approach to the college search as opposed to a destination-centered approach serves the student best.

Our overarching goal overlaps with this approach: we want to provide each student withe excellent college options and discern the best college fit.

Other content highlights from Peter's seminar:

Pyramid of Selectivity

All 3,000 colleges and universities in U.S. fall somewhere inside the pyramid. 15% of colleges have either a 1/4 (e.g. USC) or 1/8 (e.g. Harvard) admit-to-deny ratio. 85% of colleges, however, have a 1/2 or 3/4 admit-deny ratio. So then the higher a student aspires on the pyramid, the higher the unpredictability of acceptance. The key then is to build a final college list that reflects the college reality. The majority of schools then a student should apply to will fall into that 1/2 and 3/4 range. What all the schools though should have in common is the right feel and right fit for the student. In other words, apply only to schools where you will not just get in, but thrive, and graduate.

The Agenda versus The Hidden Agenda

Peter talked about the college agenda and hidden agenda. The former represents the faculty's "core values": they want bright, motivated, high achieving, diverse, and giver-not-taker students. The latter represents the administration's "core v's": $$$ (fully pay represents "free student"), ? (yield factor: if student is accepted will he or she enroll?), and SAT (test scores matter for college status).

The second half of the seminar moved into mock admission. Each parent and student was assigned an applicant. They were asked to review the application for "hotspots" (spots on application that are important: geographic location, plan of study, parent's pedigree, student passion, etc.) and "hooks" (a hook is something that will give applicant advantage in process because the applicant has something college wants). We then debated the candidates in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and the "hotspots" and "hooks". And then we voted. And we learned that admission decision at the "top of the pyramid" is not so black-and-white.

Here is breakdown of each candidate as discussed.

Applicant #1: Austin

Applicant #2: Danielle

Applicant #3: Josh

Applicant #4: Hobie

So who did you admit?

To purchase Peter's best-selling book, The College Admission Game, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The College Admission Quiz

Next Tuesday, September 15th, Peter van Buskirk, author of The College Admission Game will be presenting in Fee Theater at 7 pm.

ALL UPPER DIVISION students, parents, and faculty ARE INVITED to attend.

Peter van Buskirk sent me a quiz for the Casady community to take in preparation for his presentation.

Click here to take The College Admission Quiz.

I took it.

Scored 22 out of 25.

It seems I still have much to learn about the realities of college admission.

To Juniors and Seniors

This week Juniors will get the keys to the Ferrari.

Juniors will sign up this week through our office to get their Naviance account.

Junior parents: Let your students test drive the Naviance program a bit before you ask for the keys.

To Seniors: If you haven't come by to visit with your counselors about your final college list - then do so in the next week.

To a great short week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

an EPIC program

Tuesday night I spoke with Junior parents about the future direction of the college guidance program.

A bit of vision was cast.

EPIC. That's the acronym that shimmers with what we hope our program becomes.

For you.

For the entire Casady community.

So what does EPIC stand for?

I invite you to read a fuller version of the vision for our program. Just click here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Junior Parent College Night

Junior Parents:

So it begins.

I hope the following soundtrack hums and rattles and pulsates in your brain from here to graduation.

Come tonight and get fired up with us about the college adventure ahead!

See you tonight in the Student Center.