College Corner is a new feature in which lesser known, yet highly competitive colleges and universities will be discussed. A new school will be profiled every two weeks to assist students with their search for a good college match.
Students should be who they are and pursue the experiences that truly interest them and develop qualities that are valued by their families. They then should look for colleges that value who they are and who they are becoming. That is approaching the college search process in the right direction. That being said, the way to approach the process backward is to choose colleges, find out what they value and then try to become a person they will value. First, it would be exhausting to do this. Second, it would likely feel quite unsatisfying. Third, there is no guarantee that it will work---becoming the person whom you think the college will value may just put you in contention for admission but is certainly not going to guarantee it. This is true whether a student is trying too hard to be well-rounded, or trying too hard to develop expertise in a single area.
Some colleges build a well-rounded class by enrolling students who are each expert at different things. Other colleges seek a well-rounded class which is filled with well-rounded students who will connect with one another across various interests and who will also develop new interests while in college rather than taking a singular talent to the next level. Neither way is right or wrong, good or bad---but they are very different.
Parents and students should not put the cart before the horse, but should make choices based upon their own interests and desires, versus what they believe the colleges might want to see. The latter is a recipe for regret and misdirection. Kids need to have their own identity, and not attempt to fabricate a personality or set of interests based upon what is of interest to a particular admissions office at a specific point in time. Playing the oboe may work one year for an individual school, but from year to year, we don’t know what their needs are.
Wardlaw-Hartridge offers numerous opportunities for students to participate in our many offerings academically, athletically and extra-curricularly. This is what is going to prepare our students for their futures.
In this edition of College Corner, we are focusing on Reed College in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about Reed College, click here to read the description from the school's website.
To read "On the Wisdom and Merits of Exploring 'Less Visible' Colleges" by New York Times journalist Marty O'Connell dated July 28, 2009, click here.