The Benefits of the Network Experience

Azcapotzalco The college admissions process is competitive. All students are looking for ways to set themselves apart from other applicants. Network experiences provide students the opportunity to do just that. A Network trip can provide an enriching experience that aims to:

  • push students out of their comfort zones. A student who spend her entire life in a rural Midwestern community, for example, can spend a week living and attending school in New York City.
  • open doors to adventurous activities: work on a farm in Kansas, cross-country ski in upstate New York, attend a Friday night football game, go to a rodeo in Texas, intern at a bank in an urban financial center or pharmaceutical center.
  • provide multicultural experiences to see the diversity our own country offers.
  • experience a different type of school environment. Some Network schools are public; some private; one is located on a Native American reservation; some schools are religious.
  • build independence. We encourage students to travel on their own and navigate a new cultural environment.

Kozyatyn The growth opportunities that abound through The Network of Complementary Schools are restricted only by possible limits of one’s imagination. A few examples:

In November of 1994 a junior at Calhoun left us for a three-week experience at The Rock Point Community School on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Her program included the creation of a documentary video of her day-to-day life on the reservation, including interviews with members of all ages of the Navajo nation. She learned important lessons about assimilating into other cultures and returned the richer for her remarkable experience. The entire school community benefited as well from the presentation of her adventure. (She entered Washington University the following year, graduating in 1999.)

Another student (Calhoun Class of 1995 and Harvard University Class of 1999) went to Toronto as a sophomore where she participated in a Multicultural Leadership Conference. As one of two students from the U.S. at the conference and an African American she participated in a number of poignant meetings and experiential exercises. She not only learned skills to animate the multicultural club at Calhoun, but also realized some of the assumptions U.S. citizens routinely make about our Canadian neighbors. She described the effect of her trip on her as “profound”.

As each senior’s college application, substantial attention is paid to whether or not the student has engaged in enriching, educational, often adventurous experiences, experiences which build character and further one’s mental, emotional, and/or physical health and maturity. The richness derived from the experiences of the Network follows a participant through all moments of his or her future.

-Ted MacDonald
College Counselor
The Calhoun School
Sept. 2000