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Viewing College Applications from a Different Lens

We often view college application as a process that simply requires students to choose colleges, fill out a multitude of application forms, and write several essays. Unfortunately, when seen from such a perspective, we are doing our students and ourselves a disservice.

For the last several years, I have grappled with this same dilemma: do I want my students to go through a process that will simply lead them to their definition of an “ideal college,” or do I want them to delve deeper and, instead, see the process with different lens, one that takes them on a path of self-discovery, self-awareness and self-understanding? A path that will not simply grant them an end result but will also strengthen them as individuals which, ultimately, helps guarantee their success in their chosen path.

Viewing the college application through this distinctive perspective has helped me change my approach with my students. My students don’t just compile a list of colleges, but rather delve into what a right-fit college means and how they can evaluate and compare the various qualities that are important when choosing colleges. During my weekly meetings, students begin to understand that a well-ranked college does not necessarily guarantee success later in life. Attending college is more about taking advantage of the opportunities given, meeting people from different socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, as well as finding ways to contribute to your surrounding community. Every year, colleges are becoming ever more competitive as students are applying to many more schools than before. Oftentimes, colleges have a difficult time choosing among the more competitive and qualified applicant pool. Through our weekly meetings, I probe students on their current achievements as well as their future aspirations and goals. When pursuing a passion, I advise students to consider whether they derive pleasure from what they are doing and can see themselves continuing a similar passion in the future.

Through Academic Life Coaching sessions, students learn what motivates them and how to replace limiting beliefs with positive ones. Through vision recordings, students can envision themselves three to six months from now as well as a year from now. Additionally, students have the opportunity to evaluate how their teachers are teaching and, thereby, tailor their learning. By following Academic Life’s Recipe for Academic Success, students can understand and practice how to become better students.

Through my work with students, I have learned as much about myself as I believe my students have learned about themselves. Using many of the principles of Academic Life Coaching, growth mindset and positive psychology, students at JUMPSTART are able to gauge their successes and failures and move forward towards a better and brighter future!

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