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College Cognition

In the 31 years I have worked in the Santa Barbara area as an independent educational consultant I have been dedicated to help facilitate the right academic, social, and cultural “fit” for the more than 1,200 students. I deeply understand parents want their children to be successful in college and in life. My goal is to help each of my students enroll in a college where they can find that success. While many do attend elite colleges, just as many have discovered great success at lesser known, but highly regarded colleges. I have visited and evaluated hundreds of academic institutions throughout the United States and abroad in order to thoroughly understand the scope of what each offers, and to be better able to help students and families appreciate their options.

My membership in professional organizations such as The Independent Educational Consultants Association, (IECA), Western Association of College Admission Counselors, (WACAC), National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NANAC), and as a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) ensure that the highest standards are maintained.

I still recall a colleague’s comment “The name of the college you attend does not define you as a person.” And my experience has proven this to be true! The name of the college you graduate from will not insure your future happiness or success.

What you do before you attend college and what you do while in college will have much more bearing on your future. What are your intrinsic values? What passions and goals are important to you? Are you willing to work hard to achieve those goals?

Acclaimed author Frank Bruni’s book Where You Go is Not Who You Will Be, An Antidote to the College Admission Mania is an enlightened look at the craziness of our current system of college admission. Nothing succeeds like hard work, determination and being fully engaged in learning. If you see being accepted by an elite college as your goal, you have it backwards. It’s how you feel about yourself as you graduate and your life thereafter that counts.

Many of these colleges will prepare a student for a motivated and productive life after graduation. A good resource is Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives and Looking Beyond the Ivy League. A competent college counselor will not guarantee that you will get into a certain college but will try to help you discover what it is that will ignite your curiosity and your passion. Certainly, that does not have to be a college that accepts fewer than 10 percent of its applicants. The goal of learning should not be the desire to get into an elite college but should be the desire for academic and personal growth.

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