As a college consultant I get many questions that contain the word “enough.”
• Do we have enough volunteer service hours?
• Do we have enough English classes?
• Do we have enough AP courses?
• Do we have enough SAT Subject tests?
• Do we have enough on the resume?
• Do we have enough honors and awards?
• Is this test score high enough?
Enough is an innocuous word, yet it strikes fear in the hearts of many parents who have kids nearing college age. It repeatedly bumps into the elephant in the room. You know the one, the constant evaluation of one student against another, the need to have markers of performance that guarantee an outcome.
The problem is there are no clear measurements, and more is not necessarily better. The answer looks different depending on the student and the college and the intended major and on what the rest of the pool looks like that year. And then there are things that can’t be measured: sparkle, enthusiasm, and authenticity.
If we must focus on the word enough, let’s focus on what is enough for your student. How many AP classes do they need to adequately challenge them? They need some to learn to fly, to test their mettle and see what they are made of. They need to be challenged. Good AP classes will capture a student’s imagination and show them the wonders of good college classes. They can meet friends from around the world in some of the better online classes. If a student takes too many AP classes, they won’t get enough sleep, they can lose the love of learning and turn into an automaton only interested in a good grade and test score.
What about activities? What is enough there? Some students are committed to a pre-professional activity such as dance, music, or some sports. If a student is spending hours daily in the practice room or on the field, there isn’t a lot of time left for other things. Colleges understand that. It is a good idea to have other interests as well; however, neither do we want the other side of the continuum with tons of shallow activities. Our goal is to stretch the student and move outside their comfort zone. We would like to see commitment at a deep level, compassion for others, and adult-level responsibility.
What about high school classes? For some kids, four years of English is enough. For the literary-minded and those interested in a career in liberal arts academia, it might not be enough. Some students come alive with multiple languages, specialty courses, and senior capstone projects. Others do not.
Our goal is balance. What I would like us to see is that enough is not tied to a number, it is tied to your student, their interests, their abilities, and their dreams. It is more desirable to do less and do it better. Our goal is to see the sparkle in their eye and enthusiasm, not a mind-numbing slog. Rather than setting a parental expectation for our student to achieve, we need to allow them to become the person they were created to be. That is what enough means.
2019 College Acceptances for the Private Clients of Aiming Higher Consultants
The results are in and our private clients did extremely well in the college application process this year. Many students received significant scholarships and were accepted into Honors Programs. Here is a partial list, in no particular order:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
New York Institute of Technology
College of William and Mary
University of Connecticut
University of North Carolina Honors program
University of Richmond
Arizona State University
College of Wooster
Stony Brook University
University of the Pacific
Santa Clara University
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