The prevailing approach to college admissions is missing an important first step. Students should begin this process by looking inward rather than outward for the answers.
More often than not, when students dig inside themselves, they find the answers they seek as to how to set a true course for their lives.
A New Approach to College Admissions
Years ago, I began to experiment with a new approach to college admissions. I conducted extensive field research and developed a unique human-centered process — a purpose-driven process focused on empowering students to design their own experiences.
In my experiments, I saw how profoundly transformational this different way could be, both for me as a college admissions professional, for other counselors, and, most importantly, for students and their families. By turning inward, the steps of the path become illuminated. You then are able to design your way forward.
Why Eat Smoked Trout if You Know You Want an Apple?
Think of it this way: When you are a child, you eat what is put in front of you. But as you grow older, you begin to develop tastes and preferences and ask for particular things. Fast forward to life today, if you were in charge of making a meal for yourself, how would you go about it? You might ask yourself questions like these:
What am I hungry for?
What am I craving?
What would be satisfying to me?
What do I need to feel sustained?
It would be crazy to eat smoked trout if you want an apple (though it happens). To not step back and ask these same kind of questions when it comes to a decision like where you go to college is nuts! (Pun intended, of course.)
The college admissions process should be much more fulfilling than the checklist activity that it often is. We need a new approach!
Some Unconventional Answers
If you are a student, parent, coach, or mentor looking for an escape from the current madness of college admissions, you should check out Admissions by Design. You'll find a lot of great tips and research on unconventional, yet tested methods for finding the right college.
These methods do not fit into what traditionally may be deemed the “right” way to approach the process. But as I have implemented them, I have seen life breathed back into students and parents in the face of what otherwise is a difficult and confusing process and one that hardly acknowledges the humans at its center.