The journey to adulthood, a ritual not often marked in today’s Western society, is an important milestone, not only for students leaving high school and heading toward college, but also for their families.
Historically, the purpose of rites of passage is to acknowledge and give meaning to a person’s transition from one phase of life to another. In the case of college admissions, this is a shift both from child to adult and also from dependency toward autonomy. While this transition point marks a time of enormous promise and opportunity, it also brings with it the stress and uncertainty of change and challenge.
A More Human-Centered Approach
It is my desire to promote a more human-centered approach to this important juncture. Students, you should know that college is but one step on a larger journey of life. As such, what is uncovered about life will undoubtedly evolve and change over time as you change and evolve.
Search first for your own soul. This is a paradigm shift that requires a new way of thinking. As Dr. Michael L. Cohen writes in Great Transitions: Preparing Adolescents for a New Century:
"Ensuring the healthy growth and development of adolescents requires the combined commitment of all the institutions that have a profound impact on youth. No single entity can be responsible for a young person’s successful transition from adolescence into adulthood – not today and certainly not in the next century. Families, the schools, health care organizations, community organizations, and the media must work singly and in concert to launch all young people onto a successful life course."
This important ritual in its highest form rests in a shared journey. Parents, mentors, coaches, counselors, admissions officers, and so on--all are engaged in the process and all require support.
If you are a parent, a counselor, or a coach, check out Admissions by Design, a guidebook that will help you reconsider ways of providing support to students on the road to college and beyond.