Some 50 educational leaders and friends of The Winchendon School gathered for a lively conversation in Manhattan earlier this month to discuss trends in college admissions and their potential impact for today’s middle and high school students. Our panel was lead by The Winchendon School trustee Manuel Carballo — who served as Middlebury College’s Director of Admissions before taking on his current post as Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Oberlin College (OH) — and was moderated by Dr. Pola Rosen, publisher of Education Update.
Perhaps Mr. Carballo’s most important advice? College Admissions–just like learning–isn’t all about test scores or the number of AP courses a student takes. Admissions officers at selective colleges and universities like Oberlin and Middlebury look for applicants who are interesting and interested, have done something meaningful in their communities, or have deeply engaged in a passion. It’s our responsibility, Manuel asserts, to move our students’ education away from artificial and anxiety-inducing tests, activities, benchmarks, and checklists that work against their growth, happiness, and health. Rather, if we hope to unleash our students’ potential–and best prepare them for success in college and beyond–we should support them in their high school years to find and pursue their passions. When we do, great learning follows.