News and Views from College Counseling

March 27, 2019


Welcome back to News and Views. Spring is here, and with it the final wave of college admissions decisions our seniors are receiving. We are excited for the members of the class of 2019 who are ready to accept offers of admission and make their deposits, and we look forward to the rest of the class reaching certainty about where they will matriculate in the fall. Meanwhile, here are a few reminders for all seniors:


  • If you are sure which college you will be attending next year, please withdraw your other applications without delay.
  • Email is fine for this purpose. In most cases, it should be easy to identify Santa Catalina's representative at a given school, but writing to the admissions office's main email address will also work.
  • Even if a school invites you to decline their offer of admission by simply checking a box online, we still advise that you send them an email as well. Doing so will ensure that you burn no bridges with a school that you may later reevaluate and want to transfer to. It will also reinforce the Santa Catalina community's well-deserved reputation for graciousness.
  • In terms of wording, simply thank the college for their offer of admission and any merit-based scholarships they included, let them know you have decided to matriculate elsewhere, and wish them the best of luck in enrolling a great freshman class for the coming academic year.


For those seniors wondering how to respond to being placed on waitlists, we have some additional reminders:


  • You are free to remain on any number of waitlists.
  • Remember, however, that colleges will only make a decision on whether or not they will take anyone off their waitlists after May 1, by which time you will need to have made a deposit at a school that has already accepted you. Please be ready to forfeit that deposit if you subsequently decide to matriculate at a school that takes you off their waitlist.
  • If there is one school that has waitlisted you and you would unquestionably attend that school if they accepted you, communicate that to us, and we will advocate strenuously for you at that school after May 1. Please keep in mind that this amounts to a guarantee on our part that you will enroll if they ultimately offer you admission, so you need to be prepared to follow through. 

Insurance Professionals of Monterey Bay Scholarship

Insurance Professionals of Monterey Bay is offering a $1,500 scholarship to a high school senior in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, or Santa Cruz County who is planning to continue her education after high school. Any such student may apply for this scholarship, regardless of her anticipated field of study. Application requirements include a completed application form, a minimum GPA of 2.75, an official transcript, and a typed essay of 500 to 750 words. The deadline to apply is May 31. For more information and the necessary form, see here.

College Costs: Five Key Conversations

Not sure when to start talking about the financing of college with your child? This August 2018 article from Forbes provides clear, current, and helpful guidance on that, with support from a sobering statistic or two: author Judith Ward notes that a recent survey by investment house T. Rowe Price found that "62 percent of kids expect their parents to cover the cost of 'whatever college I want' " while "65 percent of parents say they’ll only be able to contribute 'some' of the cost of college." In this climate, following Ward's outline can ensure that you reconcile your family's financial realities and your child's aspirations in a timely fashion.

Start a "To Don't" List

As this article from TED observes, "To-do lists are the human equivalent of a hamster wheel. While they drive productivity and keep us on track, they just never seem to stop. Even as we cross items off, our lists just keep repopulating with more to-dos." It goes on to outline Wharton School of Business professor Adam Grant's remedy for eliminating superfluous tasks while meeting your genuine responsibilities and making more time to do the things you really love. If you find yourself warming to his mentality, you may want to check out his podcast, WorkLife with Adam Grant.

The Perils of Snowplow Parenting

Parenting, of course, is far from a one-size-fits-all proposition, and our culture can be a little exhausting in its receptiveness to parenting fads and in its routine, alarmist suggestions that parents are never quite getting it right. That said, when we find support for our view that it is often best for parents to do less for their children, we like to pass it along. Perhaps enough has been said by now about "helicopter parenting," but particularly in light of the recent college admissions bribery scandal, we think the The New York Times is getting it right in inviting us to focus more attention on the risks of the related phenomenon of "snowplow parenting": eliminating any obstacles in our childrens' way so that they never have to experience frustration or failure, even when doing so requires us to cross ethical (or legal) boundaries. 

Independent College Counselors: A Fresh Caveat

Another recent article in The New York Times that resonates with us is this one. In providing additional context for the Varsity Blues case, it prompts us to affirm that Santa Catalina students do not require the services of independent college counselors. Any legitimate service "independents" provide is offered in-house and is included in the price of tuition. Any additional service they promise should be met with skepticism. If you nonetheless feel that you will not be fully supporting your child unless you contract with an independent college counselor, we hope you will consider discussing your concerns with us before you commit to that expenditure.

Run A Namebranditis Test

We end this issue with a bit of the light-hearted advice Collegewise's Kevin McMullin continues to share with us. In this blog post, "Run a namebranditis test," he invites college applicants and their families to re-engage with the concept of "best-fit school" through a thought exercise that just might alleviate some symptoms of the affliction the post's title refers to. For a more evidence-based version of McMullin's message, consider this recent offering from The Wall Street Journal, "The Right Way to Choose a College," which strongly suggests that the correlation between college selectivity and graduates' later well-being--financial and otherwise--is weaker than many tend to presume.

Santa Catalina School

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