Playing the Long Game

Some students peak in 9th grade, crushing their high school program for the next four years, and acing the SAT’s. Those students often go to the colleges that reward near-perfection in high school. If that’s not you–or if you’re close to that but not quite there–don’t beat yourself up because your friend is going to Duke and you’re not. You may “settle” for the Penn State Honors College, arrive there and realize it’s a hive of great teachers and interesting peers. Next thing you know, your econ prof says your senior thesis is the best she’s read in 20 years and you’re off to Michigan for a PhD. You’ve arrived at your first–of many–peaks in your life. It just happened a few years after your friend at Duke. Twenty years later when you’re a leading expert on Argentine debt, no one will care where you went to college.

This is the ‘long game’, and if you can envision the college selection process as just step one in the ‘long game’, you’re bound to be happy when you start getting a few acceptance letters, no matter where they originate from. Whether you go to Ohio State or Oberlin won’t matter as much as what you do when you get there, because now it’s your turn to crush it and you’re going to a college that will make sure that happens.

To make your college selection process something you’re happy about instead of a soul-crushing plunge into self-doubt, you have to be conscious about your mindset and you need to play the long game. Applying to colleges proper is the short game, a relatively quick one-year of researching and visiting colleges then waiting to see who accepts you and who doesn’t. Our culture obsesses on the short game so it won’t be easy to tune out the fixation on admit rates and endowment-per-student and who gets in where. But you owe it to yourself to make the effort. Your own greatness is years away, but it’s coming. College is just one part of that journey.

It was great having our daughter work with Nate. He helped her hone the message of her essay. He would say “I think you should pull out the importance of this …or elaborate on that”. She would listen to him and respect his input. It was nice having someone else involved in the process, as it is a stressful time and the students aren’t necessarily receptive to the input from their parents. He was a well respected admissions officer at Williams and he has seen thousands of applications. He knows how to help students compose their story in an appealing way. He spent time with Nate late in the process, basically with the essay, but he spent time to get to know Julie and then really helped her to refine her essays. We highly recommend Nate’s understanding and ability to work with young adults and his expertise in the admissions process.

Parent, Bates College ’13

Let us help find where you fit in

Our students have found success at these colleges & universities…
  • Mt Holyoke College
  • Amherst College
  • American University
  • Tulane University
  • Colorado College
  • Harvard University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Texas Honors College
  • Bates College
  • Northeastern University
  • Babson College
  • Brown University
  • University of Vermont
  • Arizona State University Barrett Honors College
  • Syracuse University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • Oberlin College
  • University of South Carolina Honors College
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Wake Forest University
  • Carleton College
  • Williams College
  • Wesleyan University
  • New York University Tisch School
  • Western Washington University
  • Hampshire College
  • Skidmore College
  • Wheaton College
  • Lafayette College
  • M.I.T.
  • McGill University
  • Kenyon College
  • Siena College
  • Univ. Of Southern California
  • Gonzaga University
  • Dickinson College
  • Colorado Univ, Boulder
  • New School, NYC
  • Hamilton College
  • Boston College
  • Univ. of Miami
  • Elon University
  • Bard College