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Character counts in the boarding school and college admission process

September 14th, 2021

What do schools want? This million dollar question is asked time and time again by students applying to boarding schools and colleges. Many of you have heard me say that we shouldn’t allow that question to lead us; we don’t want the tail to wag the dog. Instead, we want you to find ways to develop into the strongest version of you possible, to make the greatest possible impact on the world around you. That, in itself, will make you a more compelling applicant.

Admissions committees in both settings are looking for a candidate who has depth and will offer value to their school community. Evaluations, of course, begin with academic transcripts, activities, teacher recommendations and standardized test scores (although scores are increasingly considered optional).

Image via Niche

Schools are also looking for evidence of personal qualities that foster cooperation, community and compassion. In order to accomplish this kind of evaluation, many boarding schools ask applicants to complete the Character Skills Snapshot, which helps admission officers get a sense of seven key character skills in students. College admission officers must read between the lines to develop a comparable sense of each applicant’s character.

Overall, colleges and boarding schools are trying to understand you as a whole person and before you can adequately reveal this on paper, it is important for you to get to know yourself. What are your passions, interests and talents? What motivates you? How are you impacting those around you? How do you demonstrate resilience, persistence, grit?

I’ve always believed that self-discovery and reflection will lead you down the path of finding the right fit for college, boarding school and life in general. When you are your true, authentic self you can really deepen your impact all around.

The lowdown on college honors programs

August 31st, 2021

As the college application season rolls on, you may be considering whether to apply to an honors program. These programs give eligible students a chance to participate in what is typically an intimate and more rigorous educational environment. We encourage highly motivated students to explore carefully, as honors programs can be rewarding but are not the only option if you are looking to benefit from an advanced academic track.

The process for applying can vary: some colleges expect students to seek out the honors program at the time of application while others, upon admission, will identify and invite a select group of high achieving students.

Image via shutterstock/Dean Drobot

As with any important college decision, there are advantages and disadvantages to understand and weigh carefully. The article we share today gives a more detailed look at college honors programs, and explains the process most schools follow for acceptance. If you think you meet the academic profile of an honors student, we hope this information helps generate the right questions to ask yourself and discuss with your parents as you assess your own fit for an honors program.

Article referenced by Studentcaffe Blog, written by Katelyn Brush, published on March 27, 2016

An Inside Look at College Honors Programs: Pros and Cons

Honors programs are designed to give excellent students additional educational opportunities. These programs are challenging on purpose. They encourage students to push themselves academically and personally. Students in an honors program often form small communities on campus. They may live together in an honors dorm or take special classes together.  

If you are a prospective college student interested in applying to a specific honors program, study the fine print first. The curriculum and requirements of honors programs will vary college to college. In your search, you will find that most honors programs genuinely want to support high achieving students. Up for a challenge? By all means, proceed.

To read more go to StudentCaffe blog>>

Experience exploration: Some colleges see benefit in waiting to decide on a major

August 17th, 2021

Deciding your career path right after high school can seem like a tall order. It may appear as if most of your peers know exactly what they want to study and where this will lead them after college graduation. While true for some, many students benefit from time to explore options in order to find their best fit.

Image via The Hechinger Report

Universities with multiple academic divisions still need students to choose a starting home base, such as liberal arts, business, engineering, etc. However, a trend is on the rise where some schools are creating programs to help students navigate the process and are easing up on the push to make a decision early on. University of Colorado Boulder offers a Program in Exploratory Studies, which gives students the resources and guidance to feel confident in their academic and career journey. The article referenced below from The Hechinger Report highlights several schools now encouraging more time to explore before selecting your major.

Article referenced below from The Hechinger Report, written by Jon Marcus, published on July 23, 2021

Some colleges ease up on pushing undergrads into picking majors right away

BOULDER, Colo. — Ingrid Dominguez can’t remember why, when she was applying to college, she decided she would major in business.

“I don’t really know, honestly,” Dominguez said. “Senior year in high school was just, like, ‘You have to decide what you want to do right now.’ ” And picking business “is what everybody else was doing.”

But Dominguez wasn’t chosen for the highly competitive business track when she was accepted to the University of Colorado Boulder — “a blessing in disguise,” she said, because it gave her the chance to take courses in science and health. And she enjoyed those so much she’s now majoring in integrative physiology with plans to open a chain of protein cafés.

Read more at The Hechinger Report>>

Time management: Start the year focused and organized

August 3rd, 2021

Ahhh, the first day of school is right around the corner. Welcome back to a jam packed schedule, which we know can be equally exciting and exhausting! Most of us get the feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit it all in, but I can promise you this feeling won’t go away after high school, so embrace the challenge and learn how to manage it now.

Image via International Education Management

By implementing time-management strategies, you can start the school year feeling more organized, focused and balanced, which is really the key to success for all ages.

Today, we share time management tips published by My Click Journal. Not only does this link provide guidance on the topic but it also gives sample planners and examples for time-blocking. Who doesn’t love a good color coding option? We are excited for this school year and want you to make every minute count!

Article referenced below from My Click Journal, published September 21, 2019


Welcome back! Today we are going to talk time management tips for students! As a student myself, I’ve always been trying to find the best ways to be more productive and manage my time better. So here are my best time management tips for students!

Need a study routine? Here is mine!

1. Try social media blockers

Blocking your computer or phone for a set amount of time from social media is one of my favorite ways to be more productive and manage my time better.

Apps called FocusMe, AppBlock, SelfControl, or Flipd allow you to block certain websites or apps for a set amount of time, with no option to turn it off. You have to wait for the timer to expire before having access to the apps again.

Believe it or not, it is super effective and makes you really focus on your work and studies.

To read more go to My Click Journal >>