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News Archive

2019

  • June

    The Early Decision Debate

    Brennan Barnard
    The world of college admission is ruled by competing interests. There is an inherent tension between serving students and maintaining sustainable schools. At the fulcrum of this tension are admission officers and high school counselors, trying to do their jobs, do them ethically, and in ways that both promote justice and engagement....
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  • May

    Image by Cari Dobbins from Pixabay

    Elite Admission: What Is College Worth?

    Brennan Barnard
    This spring, the country has watched, aghast and astounded, as celebrities, business leaders and other wealthy parents have been charged with scheming to fraudulently secure college acceptances for their children at some of our nation’s most selective institutions. Who knew the lengths that some will go in pursuit of admission, status and the perceived guarantee of success? It also raises an interesting question: Just how much is an elite acceptance worth and how far would you go to attain one for your child?...
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  • I Might Be a Helicopter Parent...

    Brennan Barnard
    The college admission scandal marked a new low in the annals of unethical parental behavior. The lying and scheming of the wealthy and well-connected to secure a college acceptance for their child both sickened and appalled. As an educator, counselor and parent, I too felt disbelief and revulsion, but it also gave me pause: in what ways am I over-involved with my own two teenagers? How will I act when they apply to college? Of what excess will I be guilty, intentional or not?...
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  • April

    Parenting, Sabotage, and the College Process

    Director of College Couseling Brennan Barnard was recently quoted in a Washington Post story in the On Parenting blog entitled "When parents are so desperate to get their kids into college that they sabotage other students." He was interviewed through his role as the college admissions program manager for Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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  • The College Admission Scandal: Voices Of Reason Part One

    Brennan Barnard
    Unless you have been under a self-imposed media blackout for the past two weeks, you are aware that the world of college admission has been riddled by another scandal—this one with all the makings of a Hollywood movie. The sensationalism of the news trifecta of sports, celebrities, and money in selective college admission has begun to soften and we are processing the initial “shock.” Now, can we please have a discussion about one of the elephants on the quad? Elitism....
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  • March

    How Helicopter Parenting Hurts Kids

    Amy Joyce
    Director of College Couseling Brennan Barnard was recently quoted in a Washington Post story in the On Parenting blog entitled "The college admissions scandal is more proof that helicopter parenting hurts kids."
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  • February

    Love and College Admission

    Brennan Barnard
    It is mid-February and love is undeniably in the air—as well as the walls, floors, and ceilings of my local supermarket. Remember the simpler days, when a valentine was a note one got from a crush at school? It was that experience of a letter in the mailbox that made one’s heart leap—with the knowledge that the person one loves feels the same. Something similar takes place in college admission. While students and families often think in terms of “because I did such and such, I deserve to get in,” the reality is more like a person who returns your valentine. "I like you and you like me, so let’s make a match....”
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  • Dear Admission Dean: What Parents Can Learn From Their College Applicant

    Brennan Barnard
    Everyone has heard that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” What fatherhood has taught me, however, is that “the tree doesn’t grow far from the apple.” In other words, the lessons I have learned from my two children—as they sow the seeds of untainted virtues—force me to grow in important ways, beyond what years of schooling and life are able to teach. Patience, humility, wonder, playfulness, and optimism are just a few of the many values that I “harvest” from my children....
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  • January

    A Letter to College Applicants

    Brennan Barnard
    It is easy for college applicants and their parents to get caught up in the fear, frustration, and frenzy of the admission experience. Those of us who counsel families through this journey have the benefit of having watched hundreds and thousands of students and their parents as they fumble, fixate and flourish. This breadth of experience, and what we have come to know, can be valuable to current families....
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  • More Ways to Improve College Admission in 2019

    Brennan Barnard
    College admission is an imperfect system. It is designed by humans and as such is highly subjective and flawed, while also being complicated by many competing interests. That being said, there are always ways to improve our work and perhaps 2019 is the year that the many constituents in college admission (colleges, high schools, students and parents) will stop pointing fingers and start making changes....
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  • Six Terms to Stop Using in College Admissions

    Brennan Barnard
    It is January again, which means hordes of fresh faces in the gym and long lines for the equipment. While I am happy for their resolve to get fit and eat right, in a month's time I know that the queue to the treadmill will be gone. The crowds will have thinned once again and many of the good intentions to embrace healthy lifestyles will have waned....
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  • A New Year In College Admission

    Brennan Barnard
    My family had a New Year’s tradition that was different than most, one that often led to tears and retribution between me and my brothers. At breakfast on January 1st every year, we gathered around pancakes, and instead of crafting our own New Year’s resolutions, the group would decide what each family member should commit to change or improve in the coming year. Having a spotlight on our shortcomings was no picnic, as you can imagine, but in retrospect, it was a valuable exercise....
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< 2019

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