It is an emotional time for me. My nest will be emptying soon. These past few months I have been accompanying my youngest daughter on college tours – my fourth round of tours, having gone through this with her three older siblings. I have my questions down. I’ve saved many backward-walking tour guides from tripping over things. I can sense what resonates with her (air conditioned dorms) and what turns her off (lots of gigantic lecture halls). And while the tours haven’t changed significantly over the past decade, I have sensed some overall shifts in the admissions and freshman experiences that are being sold:
More colleges are making reporting of test scores optional, saying that they put more weight on recommendations and personal essays.
Most colleges state that they look for students who challenge themselves and take courses at the highest level offered by their high schools, but will not penalize a student if their high school does not offer AP level courses.
In an attempt to encourage students to take risks and explore classes they might not try otherwise, some colleges are making all classes taken first semester or first year Pass/No pass, others are allowing classes to be dropped late or do not report failing grades on transcripts.
More colleges offer free laundry and free printing (maybe not free, but rather included in tuition).
School dining seems to be more sophisticated, virtually all offering vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and some even kosher options (but always still offering pizza and grilled cheese).
Several schools talked about adapting requirements to make things easier on students.
Many schools stressed project based learning involving teams made up of students from multiple disciplines who work collaboratively.
Colleges seem to be increasingly trying to address the needs of individual students and what it feels will set students up for successful careers and lives. Similarly, at Yavneh, beginning in kindergarten, we also address the needs of individual children making learning relevant, supporting a diversity of learners and encouraging collaboration. As our board begins our next strategic planning process, we are keeping these same principles at the center of our thinking, while also addressing the accreditation committee’s major recommendations. We’d love to consider your thoughts and ideas as well and encourage you to participate as part of our upcoming town hall, November 7th, 6:30 to 8PM.
I look forward to seeing how forward-thinking we can all be as we continue to evolve our school to continue meeting the needs of students in our ever-changing world. Shabbat Shalom -Zvi