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Alumni Pride

I was behind a car the other day with a license plate frame that said “100% Slug.”

Imagine how proud this guy must be of his UC Santa Cruz education.

You probably have friends who are alumni of UCLA and USC whose faces contort at the mention of the cross-town rival.  Their school pride is palpable.

I served as a co-chair of my 20-year reunion committee. This is me (second from right) with my co-chairs and Johns Hopkins President Ron Daniels.

Take a look in your neighborhood, or at the cars around you when you’re stuck in traffic – and you’ll start to notice them:  alumni window stickers and license plate frames.  I have one to let people know that I’m a Johns Hopkins alumna.  As I walk my dog each morning, I see license plate frames and stickers as my neighbors show pride in their alma maters:  the University of Miami, Swarthmore, Oberlin, and many more.

Last night I was at a networking dinner, and when I told a guy at my table what I do, he told me all about the wonderful experience he had at the University of Kansas, offering to show me a documentary he’d made about the University while he was in their film program.

And how do alumni get there, to that place where they wear this alumni pride on their sleeve?  They have a great experience in college.  Most of the time, happy alumni are involved in some type of campus activities aside from studying.  Most of the time (but not all), happy alumni are those who attended starting as freshmen, so they got a full four-year experience.

Most of the time, they entered thinking they would major in one subject, but ended up changing majors (sometimes more than once!) – and they were able to transition seamlessly because the college could accommodate their changing interests.  And that’s what college is supposed to do.

As an independent college counselor, for me, the victory is not helping my clients “get in” to the schools that they think they want to attend.  It’s about helping them find the colleges where they will be able to spread their wings, discover their interests and talents, and look back after four years thinking, “This was a great experience for me.  This was the right place.”

When you hear people talk about “fit” and “match” with regard to college admissions, that’s what they mean – and this is my goal in working with you and your student.

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