The college visitation season has begun, and will run through early November. Which means that it’s time for our juniors and seniors to meet with admissions representatives during scheduled times on campus to find out…something more than just which colleges and universities are offering what signature programs.
Counseling students through the college admissions investigation and application process is an act of challenging minds by encouraging the exploring of possibilities. Our goal is, yes, to have our students, as they approach the end of their high school career, discover various opportunities that are available at various colleges. More important, though, is to encourage our students to investigate themselves: what they value; what they prioritize; what impels them and fires their commitments; who they are even more than what they want to study or what profession they want to enter.
Our students learn in ways formal and informal every day at school. For our juniors and seniors, part of their informal education in the coming months will take the shape of opening themselves to the act of wondering, and being vulnerable enough with themselves to feel comfortable saying, when it comes to college, “I’m not sure; I need to think more.” Practicing thoughtfulness is as much an outcome of “the college search” as an actual acceptance letter.
How appropriate that admissions officials book their visits during Elul, at that time in the Jewish year when we’re asked to be at our most introspective and when our dealings with ourselves and others are at the pinnacle of honesty.