The Network and College Admissions

A message from a College Placement Counselor….

The current high school population is facing great competition for college admission in this country – the most extraordinary competition in our history. Colleges and universities at all levels of prominence and perceived prestige are receiving growing numbers of applications each year for freshman classes which, for the most part, are not increasing in number. This phenomenon is forcing members of Committees on Admission to fine-tune the process, to look beyond the transcript and grades and courses, beyond the standardized test history, for other indications of strength, of uniqueness, for interesting signals of experiential opportunities seized upon by students outside the classroom.

The growth opportunities that abound through The Network of Complementary Schools are legion, 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 is considered in this remarkable time, 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. This in itself is not a sound reason for participation in the programs offered through The Network of Complementary Schools but the richness derived from the experiences is one that follows a participant through all moments of his or her future.

-Ted MacDonald
College Counselor
The Calhoun School
Sept. 2000