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Upper School Blog

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The College Try

List of 10 news stories.

  • Love and College Admission

    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

    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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  • A Letter to College Applicants

    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

    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

    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

    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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  • How to Deal With a Deferral or Denial of Admission to College: Change Priorities

    Grinning with his characteristically sly smile, Chuck Sanborn, the former director of college counseling at The Derryfield School, corrected my inquiry about his retirement, saying, “I didn’t retire, I just changed my priorities.” He went on to explain that he adapted this phrase while driving in England and encountering road construction. Instead of a neon detour sign, he was confronted with a sign saying “Changed Priorities Ahead” and instantly he knew that this would be his motto. To Sanborn, the idea of retiring or withdrawing felt passive or even defeatist. He was not stepping away from life, but rather stepping towards new priorities....
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  • A Relative's Holiday Guide to College Admission

    As cars fill the driveway and extended family members arrive at the door, the shrewd high school seniors are already plotting their escape. You see, they know what is in store when small talk is unleashed. The holidays are in full swing, and so is the college admission season. In an unfortunate coincidence of timing, family and friends are gathering for celebrations this week at a time when emotions are high for college-bound high school students....
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  • Barnard Partners with Harvard's MCC Project

    Derryfield is excited to announce that Director of College Counseling Brennan Barnard has earned a one-year, grant-funded appointment as College Admissions Program Manager for Harvard Graduate School of Education' Making Caring Common Project. Mr. Barnard has led the Derryfield College Counseling Office for the past ten years and will continue to do so during this temporary partnership....
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  • Finding, Earning and Debunking Myths of the Coveted College Scholarship

    Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday…if you are like millions of other Americans, you have likely spent the past week in bargain mode (ideally with a break for “Giving Tuesday”). In fact, when is the last time you paid full sticker price for a big purchase? When you bought your last car, was there any chance you were going to shell out the amount listed on the window? Who would dream of buying a new iPhone or computer without checking to see if it were cheaper online or in the store down the street? Ours is a culture of bargain hunting — doorbusters, BOGO offers and clearance sales have become inherent manipulation strategies used to attract customers and move product. What about when the product is higher education?
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The Derryfield School

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