A father asked me recently if the Collegewise message was, "It's OK to expect less."
It's not an unreasonable question given how much time we spend preaching that you don't have to have straight A's, perfect test scores, or a degree from a famous college to be successful. Still, I think he's missing our point (or we're not explaining it well enough).
I think our message is, "It's OK to expect more."
If you believe that kids have to go to one of the most selective
colleges to be successful, you actually believe that most kids
aren't going to make it in the world. The most selective colleges only
take about 10% of the students who apply. So those 10% are golden and the other 90% are bound
to fail? I don't agree. We expect more than that.
We expect kids to throw themselves into their classes and try their best, but to do it knowing that scraping out a B in a tough course is something to be proud of.
We expect kids to develop a love for learning so they have an answer when someone asks them what their favorite class is.
We expect kids to have enough initiative and gumption to find and commit to activities they really love, not to just plod reluctantly through activities they've heard colleges like.
We expect kids to appreciate what a wonderful opportunity college is, to be excited for the chance to have four years of learning, self discovery and fun regardless of where they go.
We expect kids to step up and actively search for colleges that are right for them, not to sit back and be passive observers in their educations.
And we expect parents to encourage and reward the process, rather than the outcome. Raising a nice kid who works hard, who's respectful of his teachers, who's nice to his peers, who likes school and enjoys his activities, all of those things are much more important than a GPA, test score or an admissions decision from a particular college.
So yes, we have higher expectations for our kids at Collegewise. And I think it's good for parents, kids and counselors to expect more, too.