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News Archive

2019

  • September

    Barnard Co-Authors Book on College Admissions

    Emanne Khan
    In 2019, the stakes in college admissions have never seemed higher. With ever-plummeting acceptance rates and parents willing to pay massive sums of money to secure spots for their children at “elite” schools, many families approach college applications with unanswered questions. Responding to the current sentiments surrounding college admissions, Derryfield’s Director of College Counseling, Brennan Barnard, has co-authored a new book that aims to mitigate confusion and anxiety....
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  • August

    Admission Deans Share Tips For College Applications

    Brennan Barnard
    The end of summer feels imminent—not just because the airwaves are inundated with back-to-school advertisements, but also due to the growing frequency of calls to my high school counseling office. With the school year approaching, college applications are weighing heavily on rising seniors’ minds. While colleges and universities have a variety of application plans and deadlines, many students can expect to have at least one application due by early November. Yes, this is over three months away, but the fall can be hectic with classes, sports and activities....
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  • Image by Steve Johnson from Pixabay

    Finding Common Joy In College Admission

    Brennan Barnard
    What are the first three words you think of when you hear college admission application? Go ahead, take a moment and write them down. I had my suspicions for how students would respond, but nonetheless decided to conduct an unscientific poll of the young people with whom I work in a variety of settings. Intimidating, lengthy, boring, hard, nerve-racking, annoying, a grind, stressful, complex, daunting, competitive, perilous, one-dimensional and terrifying—these were just a few (those that were appropriate to print) of the adjectives that emerged. Do these align with the words that you just wrote or were you more optimistic?
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  • July

    Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

    College Rankings: Get A Second Opinion

    Brennan Barnard
    If you needed a heart transplant, you would want the best cardiologist available, right? A podiatrist or gastroenterologist, no matter how highly regarded, simply wouldn’t do. The ranking is not what’s important—it’s the skill specific to your needs.  A heart doctor, no matter how obscure, is what any sane person would prefer. When people go looking for a college, somehow this logic goes right out the window....
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  • Image by ThePixelman from Pixabay

    Bird-Dogging Your College Admission Visit

    Brennan Barnard
    Here in New Hampshire, the weather is not the only thing heating up as we head into summer. With the impending first-in-the-nation presidential primary, candidates are storming the state—any given week might bring half a dozen of the long list of presidential hopefuls. For many rising high school seniors, picking a new president pales in comparison to their main focus—finding a college. The realities of admission loom large and as students head out on visits this summer they can learn a great deal from the political process and what is known as “bird-dogging.”
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  • Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

    Interdependence In College Admission

    Brennan Barnard
    As our nation celebrates its independence with parades, cookouts and fireworks, many rising high school seniors are thinking about admission to college. It is one of the last remaining rites of passage in our society, a time of transition when becoming more independent is one of the inherent goals. Applying to college is an opportunity for young people to embrace growing responsibility for their own lives and futures. And, while independence is a noble and necessary pursuit, part of this experience is also acknowledging the importance of interdependence....
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  • Image by CandiceP from Pixabay

    College Summer Reading List

    Brennan Barnard
    Director of College Counseling Brennan Barnard's annual summer reading list for the Answer Sheet blog in The Washington Post. The list compiles a summer reading recommendations from college admissions counselors and deans across the country...
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  • 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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  • Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

    What History Can Teach Us About Choosing A College

    Brennan Barnard
    Another May 1 is in the history books, which is especially meaningful for those high school seniors who had to choose a college by this, the National Candidate Reply Date. Senior spring has arrived and the perils of senioritis threaten to infect even the most diligent students. As graduation nears, and students anticipate the opportunities that lie ahead, the theme for these final months of high school should be “have no regrets.”
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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

    Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

    The College Admission Scandal: Voices of Reason Part Two

    Brennan Barnard
    Thankfully, most students and parents have responded to the recent college admission scandal with disgust. They are disgusted by the blatant dishonesty, disgusted by the unethical behavior, and disgusted by the influence of money and power in a system that they would hope to be more equitable and just. They share this disgust with the majority of admission officers, school counselors and other constituents who are intimately involved in guiding young people to college...
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  • 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

The Derryfield School

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