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It’s All About You (No, really. For once, it is.) A few thoughts on the college search and decision process Blake DeYoung Director of College Advising.

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Presentation on theme: "It’s All About You (No, really. For once, it is.) A few thoughts on the college search and decision process Blake DeYoung Director of College Advising."— Presentation transcript:

1 It’s All About You (No, really. For once, it is.) A few thoughts on the college search and decision process Blake DeYoung Director of College Advising The Bear Creek School Bellevue Christian, ’93 Seattle Pacific, ‘97 and ‘02

2 #1: Focus on You (Common Opposite: Focus on the Institution) The school is neat, clean, presentable… measurable. You are murky, complicated and “constantly” changing. We’ve been taught to look at schools as a commodity (e.g., rankings). This is not a consumer eating a pizza; it’s a two-way street, an interactive experience, so there has to be an understanding of what makes you tick. Off-limits question: “How will this look?” Who cares how it looks? Now the focus is solely on ‘others’ (usually the school). The question is: is this helping me become better, more self-aware, more interesting?

3 #1: Focus on You Questions to Ask Do I understand what I am not good at or what I do not like, in addition to what I am good at and what I do like? When do I perform better: when I’m the smartest/best, or when I have to push to keep up with the pace? Am I content with some level of anonymity, or do I need to be visible and/or connected as I interact with my surroundings? In what area do I have so much confidence and tangible success that I have absolutely no need to boast and am completely comfortable with the fact that I don’t know everything?

4 #2: Immerse Yourself in the Language/Culture Common Opposite: WAIT - then be rushed and ill-informed For most, higher education is a totally new experience: vocabulary, operation, autonomy. Identify the available “teachers” of this language: school Guidance/College Advising office, older friends, siblings Identify the available opportunities for exposure (think of language immersion): campus tours, admission officers, college websites. Go below the surface: attend a game, concert or lecture; read the student newspaper, stay overnight, faculty/department websites and scholarly activities.

5 #3: Expect Unknowns and Overwhelming Moments Common Opposite: Be afraid of the unknown, act like experts to save face, and make poor decisions It’s a whole new culture; you’re not supposed to know everything. If you can identify the unknowns, you can at least focus on the “knowns” and use those to make decisions. There are certain unknowns that cannot become knowns, but you can mitigate them: Culture (esp. geographic) shock, personability of faculty, food There are certain unknowns that will never be known: Roommate concerns, the economy

6 #4: Don’t Rush the Process Common Opposite: rush and make bad choices Too many people want to be “exceptions” and make decisions prior to when they are ready. There’s a good reason that: –Students start the process at the beginning of their junior year; –They visit schools in the spring; –They apply in the fall, and; –They decide in spring of their senior year. And all the while, students are narrowing, narrowing, narrowing. Avoid the temptation to narrow too early, to visit too early (though any visits are good visits), to write your essays too early, to apply to too few schools, or to make your decision too early.

7 #4: Don’t Rush the Process Trends that concern me: Early Decision, “Priority Applications,” early NCAA recruiting demands, contingent scholarships Schools are concerned about enrollment planning, leading to earlier and earlier processes, but the best interest of the student must remain at the heart of policies.

8 #5: You Won’t Know FOR SURE until January Common Opposite: I hate it here, I made a mistake, and I want to go home NOW! EXPECT to be all of the following: homesick, sick of the food, sick of your roommate, sick of classes, and actually sick. The above do not mean you are too far away, going to starve, need a new roommate, in over your head, or your immune system doesn’t work on this specific campus. For many students (and parents), fall semester is a constant roller-coaster of emotion, of success and failure.

9 #5: You Won’t Know FOR SURE until January Whenever possible, students need to stick it out until the beginning of second semester. Let yourself experience campus, and all the related activities, for a second time. Let them not be new anymore, then see how it feels. Proverbs 16:9 – ‘A man makes his plans, but the Lord directs his path.’

10 #5 (+): January?? When Do We REALLY Know? Wherever you go, you’ll top all the rest. Except when you don’t, because sometimes you won’t. I’m sorry to say so, but sadly, it’s true, that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up/in a prickly perch/And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a lurch. You’ll come down from the lunch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a slump. And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

11 #5: You Won’t Know FOR SURE until January You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact and remember that Life is a balancing act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! Yes, you will indeed. (98 and ¾ percent, guaranteed). Kid, you’ll move mountains.

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