With the holidays right around the corner, the biggest challenge I'm facing now is how to get students to stay focused on the college application process. After all, many of them, with the arrival of AN acceptance letter, feel like they're set. We want them to be excited about their acceptance(s) yet we don't want that feeling of relief ("I was accepted to one of my college choices, whew!") to give them a false sense that they can now slack off on future applications. I've actually had some students say, "I got into a school so I'm done". They have "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads" (or better yet holiday break and time away from school, studying, test-taking, writing and all the other "necessary evils" of their senior year).
These are the students it's most difficult to help motivate to keep applying and, in some cases, retake their ACT to help ensure they have additional acceptances and therefore more options to choose between for college attendance. It's one of the most difficult aspects of the college application process to help a teenager think about the true value of having more than one option, especially when it means more work in the short term. As a college counselor, I don't want them to simply get into college; I want them to graduate! I spent my day trying to explain (for the millionth time?!) why it is important to apply to "reach" schools yet, when I think back to how I was at 17 years old, I doubt that I was really thinking about college graduation rates...but that just makes it even more important for me to get them to!
Caroline Kelly was born and raised in Hinsdale, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. After graduating from Fenwick High School, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from Fairfield University in Connecticut. Upon graduating, she returned to Chicago and joined an AmeriCorps program called Project YES! Through this program she was placed at Pritzker College Prep in October of 2007. She is now Pritzker's Dean of College Counseling and has successfully placed two graduating classes in some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in America.