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Upper School Blog

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The College Try

List of 10 news stories.

  • College Admission Gratitude

    This fall I had the great fortune to present workshops about college admission throughout the country. I spoke with parents, students, teachers, administrators, counselors, admission deans, consultants and other educators about applying to college, character, athletic recruiting and writing. I was constantly inspired by the depth of experience and commitment to opportunity that I found in my travels. Though the messages and themes of each workshop differed, there was one common experience in each session: gratitude....
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  • What Matters In College Admission

    A look of surprise and encouragement washes over his face and with earnest he exclaims, “You mean that matters?”
    I am sitting in my school counseling office reviewing a high school senior’s college application, and I have asked why there is no mention of the hours he spends at home after school caring for his grandfather....
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  • Image by Nikolay Georgiev from Pixabay

    The Truth About College Admissions

    Over the past year, college admission has been riddled with mistrust. We have watched as families fixate on commercial college rankings — as if they were reliable indicators of quality — while erroneously tying admission selectivity to success in college and life. Some parents have tried to buy their children’s way into college, and others have even forfeited guardianship of their offspring to cheat the financial aid system....
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  • Barnard Co-Authors Book on College Admissions

    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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  • Admission Deans Share Tips For College Applications

    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

    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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  • Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

    College Rankings: Get A Second Opinion

    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

    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

    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

    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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