I’ve heard my friend and Collegewise Chief Academic Officer, Arun Ponnusamy, remind students how much “agency” they have in the college admissions process. He’s referring to your power, influence, and instrumentality. Students, you might feel like you don’t get a voice, that the world has already decided that famous colleges are better, that test scores measure your worth, that you are a voiceless cog in a process that’s defined all the acceptable outcomes. But that perception just isn’t true. It’s your process, it’s your future, and the more you recognize and embrace your agency, the better it’s all going to go for you. He should know. He read applications at three of the most selective colleges in the universe (University of Chicago, Caltech, and UCLA). And he’s helped hundreds of students apply and get accepted to the right colleges.
As the director of college counseling and outreach at The Derryfield School in New Hampshire and a widely trusted admissions expert, Brennan Barnard has also spent years on the front lines helping students find their college admissions agency. His latest Forbes piece, “College Admission, Helplessness, And Choice,” doesn’t just remind students that they have far more agency than they may realize; he actually lays out a dozen specific areas, from high-stakes testing to college rankings to peer pressure, and offers both encouragement and advice to help students regain their voices.
If you’re a student, please read it. If you’re a counselor, please share it. And if you’re a parent, please encourage your kids to embrace it (and please applaud them if they do).