Perspective on Admission Decisions: Andover’s “The Dean’s Journal”

From the “who feeds me under rock department?” this morning- I just learned about a March piece by Phillips Academy Admission Dean Jane Foley Fried, “Preparing for the Envelope.”

Fried provides perspective on acceptance and rejection- specifically to Andover but certainly relevant to other pursuits.

I recommend Fried’s piece because much of her thinking is applicable to any student applying for admission, and possible rejection, in any number of situations.

For the accepted, she urges restraint and reserve. She uses the fine concepts of humility and graciousness.

A big fan of a conservative reaction to any situation, I like her advice. We might all do with a bit less hoottin’ and hollerin’. Perhaps we would all be best served by a few deep breathes and thoughts first before reacting to most things.

I, too, like her advice regarding rejection, but, I suggest taking her thought process a step or two further.

She writes:

“…The committee chose students who were perceived to be better matches for Andover’s program. The students who are not admitted will go on to be successful at secondary schools all over the world. Success does not begin at Andover, and it does not end with a waitlist or deny letter.”(JFF)

Additionally, she does a good job talking to students about addressing disappointment.

Pushing her thinking a bit further, I tell students and families to consider admission decisions in this light:

Kids mature and grow at different rates. Every student is in a different place in their development when they apply to a school. As a student, where you stand right now might, or, might not dovetail with a particular school’s approaches and opportunities. The trick is finding a school that best fits where you are, as an individual and student at the time of your application and can then grow you the most during your time there.

Not fitting any school’s admission standard during a single admission year holds no bearing, or affect, on who you are or who you will become. More than likely, you will find yourself in a situation/matriculating at another school- one more conducive to your growth.

Success and achievement aren’t about where you got to school. They’re about what you do and what you become.

And, you would be amazed where some adult leaders got their starts.

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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