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“Life is for service” – Mister Rogers

May 24th, 2022

Seniors, the day has come. You are now – or will soon be – a high school graduate. What does this mean to you? A diploma in hand and so many opportunities at your fingertips; as you head off with great promise in whichever direction you choose, think about what kind of a person you will strive to be in the months and years to come.

This time of the year, I love sifting through commencement speeches. I find them motivating and inspiring for my own life. When powerful enough, I believe the words will stick for a long time to come. I recently came across a speech from a non-speaking valedictorian with autism at Rollins College. The most simple statement, a quote from Mister Rogers (also a Rollins graduate), really spoke to me, “Life is for service.” In the article linked below, Elizabeth Bonker communicates what this statement means to her and how we as a community can see the worth in others as we keep service in mind. I hope you will take the time to read this incredibly well-written speech, which was delivered with the help of technology.

Article linked below from Rollins College, published on May 9, 2022

Be the Light: Elizabeth Bonker’s 2022 Commencement Address

Greetings to my fellow members of the elated class of 2022 and to the relieved parents, cheering siblings, and dear friends who supported us. Salutations to the caring faculty, administrators, and staff who fed our brains and nurtured our souls. I would also like to thank my fellow valedictorians—Emily Curran ’22, Sofia Frasz ’22, Charlie Mellin ’22, and Jessika Linnemeyer ’22—for giving me the honor of addressing you.

Rollins College class of 2022, today we celebrate our shared achievements. I know something about shared achievements because I am affected by a form of autism that doesn’t allow me to speak. My neuromotor issues also prevent me from tying my shoes or buttoning a shirt without assistance. I have typed this speech with one finger with a communication partner holding a keyboard. I am one of the lucky few non-speaking autistics who have been taught to type. That one critical intervention unlocked my mind from its silent cage, enabling me to communicate and to be educated like my hero Helen Keller.

Read more at Rollins College >>

How to enjoy summer AND make it count!

May 10th, 2022

Summer is so close we can almost taste the freedom. Tests, studying, homework and extracurriculars will soon be in our rear-view mirror, making summer the perfect time for a little self-exploration. What are your interests? What motivates you? What are you passionate about? How can summer experiences help you explore some or all of this?

Hero/Getty Image via Thoughtco

Summer programs are often a topic of discussion in our advising sessions; parents and students want to know what’s best to pursue and whether structured programs will affect admission. Programs can provide tremendous enrichment opportunities, to be sure. On the other hand, particularly where volunteer service is concerned, depth of engagement closer to home can also lead to significant growth and impact, and allow for continued participation during the academic year.

The article linked below from College Essay Guy is full of great insight. The author points out the significance of connecting your core values to your summer experiences in order to gain a better sense of meaning and engagement. So, as you consider how you’ll spend your time in the coming months, think about how much personal growth and development can arise from summer pursuits!

Article referenced below written by Andrew Simpson published on the College Essay Guy website

How to Spend Your High School Summer

During summers when I was in high school, I often felt torn—how much of the summer should I spend working to save more for college (be wary of loans and college debt)? How much working to save the world (how exactly I’d do this was always a little vague)? How much just spending time connecting with friends and family and living my life as fully as I could (if you’ve never been to Montana, a summer can easily fly by on the rivers and lakes and mountains)?

In this post, I’m going to assume that you’ve wrestled with some similar questions. And I’m going to walk you through some of what I would’ve loved to have understood back then, to help me decide how to spend my high school summers. (And I’m probably going to have a few more parentheticals.)

If you just want some options for stuff to do, you can skip down to here. But if you want to understand more about how you as a human being function, and how that understanding can lead you to living a happier life, read on.

Read more at College Essay Guy>>

Preparing for the unpredictable landscape of college admissions

April 26th, 2022

The media picks up on trends in college admissions and every year we hear that it is becoming more and more competitive. Many people question, is this all hype or is it the truth?

Image via Shutterstock

There is no denying that changes have occurred in the world of admissions since the pandemic. Some of the most competitive schools are now test-optional, which invites a wide range of students to aim for these colleges while the number of open spaces remains the same. Online access to virtual tours, interviews and college fairs has also been a contributing factor for this record number of applicants.

Because of this shift in admissions, students and parents now have the opportunity (perhaps mandate?) to reset their thinking about college matches with today’s more competitive landscape in mind. The vast majority of U.S. colleges remain accessible to well-matched applicants, which is good news that we don’t often see reflected in media reports. It’s now more important than ever to make sure students’ application lists and our admission estimates align with current reality and reflect potential for great fit.

Record Applications, Record Rejections

March 31 was the day this year that many of the most competitive colleges picked to tell applicants if they’d been admitted. On March 31, top colleges boasted about record applications. But since very few of those colleges are getting any bigger, it was also a day for record numbers of rejections.

Harvard University offered admission to 1,954 students, out of 61,220 applicants. That 3.19 percent admit rate and the application total, 7 percent higher than last year, are both records. Harvard didn’t reveal the admit rate, although it released the information used to calculate it. (Some universities don’t release the information used to calculate the rates. Jim Jump considers such policies in his column this week.)

Read more at Inside Higher Ed>>

Senioritis can affect us all!

April 12th, 2022

Spring is in the air and that little taste of summer can seriously affect our motivation as the school year winds down. In this final stretch, many students are feeling a bit of burnout. So much excitement lies ahead as summer is right around the corner, making it difficult for many students to focus and persevere to the end of the school year.

Senioritis is a term all too common for seniors as their high school career nears an end! However, that same lack of focus as the weather warms is commonplace for adults and students of all ages. The article linked below from The New York Times, although written several years ago, is full of great advice and we know this will inspire students to finish the year strong!

How to Cure the New Senioritis? Make Yourself Your Senior Project

As most college-bound high school seniors learn where they’ve gotten in and decide where they’re going, many feel that the pressure is off. Whether they are celebrating acceptances to their dream schools or coping with rejections, nearly all realize at this point that the die has been cast: The push for high school grades that used to drive everything suddenly matters much less.

“Senioritis” used to have positive connotations for students. It meant coasting through their last semester in high school in anticipation of college entry in the fall. Today that mood has shifted. Many students — and their parents — have been driven to believe that high school is merely a four-year audition for the right college. A result? Eighteen-year-olds who feel their lives are not really driven by them.

Read more at The New York Times>>