Monday, November 14, 2011

Jerry Maguire's Advice for Seniors on the College Admission Bubble

Today I got an email from a colleague on the admission side of the desk.

It was in response to a conversation this admission rep had with one of our students.

This student, as little bit of background, is on the proverbial bubble in terms of admissibility, particularly when it comes to GPA and test scores.

So what can this student do to augment his or her chances at gaining admission?

To answer that question, the college rep quoted one of his favorite lines from one of his favorite movies, Jerry Maguire.

Here is the scene in case you haven't seen the movie.

So often we forget that college admission reps want to see their applicants from their territory get into the school.

They are like sports agents who want to see their clients get the multimillion contract.

They are looking for any additional information they can leverage to help bolster their client's chances.

So how then does a "bubble senior" applicant "help a college rep by helping themselves"?

A handful of specific things to keep in mind.

First. They need to have their best academic trimester/semester possible. The higher the grades the more ammo you give a college rep to show an upward/college readiness trend.

Second. They may need to re-take the SAT or ACT that best suites them. Tracking our student's performance on both the ACT and SAT, they tend to score highest on their 3rd test, which often occurs sometime in September-December.

Third. If a student gets deferred, it may behoove them to have a core teacher write an additional progress report to submit to their college rep, especially in classes where there is growth.

And fourth. Never underestimate the value of grit and persistence.

A recent NYT article recently argued that too often we forget that the best indicators for success in college and in life is character. So often we put so much emphasis on numerical data, and how we can raise our kid's scores or grades, that we end up forgetting what the impetus and thrust of education is truly for. We educate to develop flourishing human beings who can in turn become change agents in culture and society. We educate to see our students become the caliber of people who are full of zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.

This is ultimately how someone helps themselves, and by so doing, helps everyone around them, well beyond just college admission reps and college counselors like me.