Each college application cycle is undoubtedly a very stressful time of the year with students having to balance their challenging senior courses while learning to express themselves in their applications. Similarly, as a college counselor, the application cycle requires late-night essay sessions in addition to the hours of planning, reflecting and finally putting into words an in-depth personal, yet objective, letter of recommendation for each student.
However, each application cycle has also become a source of unexpected joy for our counselors as they have always brought to light novel and often unexpected characteristics of our students. With each discovery, not only are the teachers able to appreciate the individual students at a deeper level, but the students gain confidence as they begin to see the image in which they are created. Holding onto the values, identity, and the lessons they have learned throughout their high school years, their personal statements soon become their testimony of life, beliefs, and vision.
As we continue to observe our students throughout the application process, our counselors are reminded how the act of going through the application itself is utilized as a powerful tool to refine and establish oneself, instead of simply being a method to enter college. With each cycle, there has been a transformation that takes place as students begin to comprehend their assigned role in this world and the gifts and situations that has been provided for them. The students become more purposeful in their goals, more confident in their beliefs and more intent on finding the right path instead of their dream path.
Importantly, it is only when our students begin to see the big picture of college applications as an important lesson in their life that we have been able to observe them become free of the specific results, yet look forward with eagerness to their next step in life. The maturity and growth that takes place in such a short time period is staggering as they begin to take root in their identity not as a high school student trying to enter college, but as a follower trying to live the right life.