Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shines Like Stars

What stands out to you from the chart below?

Two things shine like stars for me.

One is the application-per-students between 2006 (7.4) and 2009 (5).

Two is the acceptance results between 07' (40%) and 09' (69%).

What this reveals is the dramatic shift that we have made together in the face of humongous cultural forces.

What we have done is counter cultural, especially in the independent school world, and somewhat counter intuitive.

With 3.3 million high school graduates, a swelling influx of international applicants, the mainstreaming of the Common Application/Universal Application, and the media's fixation with rankings and admission statistics, one would think that the best strategy is to apply to more colleges. The logic is simple: the more colleges I apply to, the better chance I have of securing many choices. And the better chance I have of getting into a "name brand" school.

I would argue that this logic shaped how Casady families approached the college admission process through 06'.

Today, though, I believe the evidence points us in a new direction. Instead of "shotgunning" out 15 applications, our students are fine tuning their search, where they are investing themselves in their research (thanks Naviance), keeping an open mind to "hidden gem" schools, placing an accent on colleges that want them for what they will bring, and shopping for the best deal.

In other words, our families have bought into our new paradigm for college admission in which it is all about the right FIT.

Sometimes that fit points to a "CTCL'er" - a "College That Changes Lives" like Rhodes and Hendrix.

Or a "BBB'er" - a "BCS Bowl Bound" university like TCU.

Or a "SS'er" - a "Single Sex" school like Hampden Sydney. (Okay so we haven't had a boy make the plunge yet...but I stress yet...we had 2 applicants this year, both accepted, both awarded scholarships. One visited; loved it; but thought it was just too far away).

Consider, in closing, this year's statistics.

Total Seniors: 74
Total Applications: 366
Application Average: 4.8
Acceptance %: 74%

I don't think it is a coincidence that as we ( as a community) have embraced a philosophy of "best college fit" that our acceptance rate has gone up.

That we are applying to more schools and new schools (30+).

That the scholarship monies offered continues to increase (more on this soon).

And that ALL of our students have excellent college choices.