“Too much email, Ustaz – I don’t have time!” It’s a frequent complaint in our hallways today. Between IB, testing, and after school activities, it’s no wonder that the massive amount of online communication expected from our world’s 15,000 colleges is overwhelming.
At first it might seem like only the most digital-savvy candidates can summit this mountain. But when I hear students complain about email or ask about college websites, it reminds me of similar conversations I’ve had over the past 10 years organizing thick math binders or looking for scientific evidence. These complaints have far less to do with online expectations, and far more to do with our students’ fundamental organization, communication, and research skills.
To put it simply: today’s seniors expect the college application process to be as easy as scrolling through social media, when in fact it requires incredible research and communication skills to find the best college fit. We – parents, staff, and advocates – must hold the same high expectations we have for subject-related assignments to student email responses and college research.
For my office, students are responsible for their own college lists and communication. Each school option has a unique set of characteristics – location, culture, scholarship availability, etc. – and pathways to enter post-secondary education are endless. My office is a great place to start the climb, but in the end, that “congratulations” letter in the Spring is built on lots of individual research and many emails in the Fall.
As more students than ever apply during early deadlines, some students are already receiving admissions and scholarships! For seniors, expect online communication to increase into the winter months. It’s a tough mountain to climb, but the view from the top is extraordinary. For everyone else, now is the time to clean out that inbox and reach out to every college resource you can find...online.
Chris Akel, College Counselor and TOK Teacher