Check out Part 1 here!
Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity
Q: What do you do to keep YISS competitive?
A: We are establishing that we are competitive, correct? Well, it’s a team effort, it’s nothing that I single-handedly do by myself. It’s everything from the kindergarten all the way to the senior class. From making sure the facilities are running smoothly, making sure the PTO and the communications team are doing their part, the curriculum progressing in a way that helps us continually develop and sharpen, such as our AP Capstone program, the athletic program doing things like winning KAIAC championships – so all of that stuff, even our location, the tuition, the new J&J Griddle, go into our competitiveness. All of this has been worked on through the grace of God, through the past 11 years that we’ve been YISS.
Q: What is a common misconception people have about college admissions?
A: Wow, there’s a bunch. One is definitely that grades are the only thing that matter and that standardized tests are more important than they actually are. It’s true that they’re important, but not as true as people fear them to be. Another misconception is that there’s a formula. If one students gets into a college, everyone asks that student, their parents ask that student’s parents, how they did it. There’s no way we can duplicate that. We even had twins from YISS get accepted and rejected to different schools. It’s just another thing that reinforces the fact that the process is holistic and it does come down to the fit. No two human beings are exactly the same; there’s no cookie cutter philosophy.
Q: How should rising seniors spend their summer?
A: I usually have a general list that I hand out to the juniors about what to do. It all depends on what is a bigger priority, but it ranges from working on the application process, if they know what colleges they want to apply to. Spending time, reinforcing their interests and passions through extracurriculars or internships, volunteering, or doing their independent project. Taking standardized testing., thinking about which teacher to ask for recs, and this is underestimated, but getting rest. It’s very important for seniors to get rest, because when they come back they end up crashing and burning.
Q: What is your biggest regret as a counselor?
A: My biggest regret as a counselor is letting this job be the priority in my life. Now this has benefitted the school and the students, but it hasn’t benefited me and my family. Now, I believe I can do this job and balance this job even better, but just like the seniors need to balance their workload, so do I. I would also like to balance my time with the church. I don’t think things don’t mean I have to compromise anything, it just means I can figure out a better way of doing those things more efficiently.
A: Every year at graduation, I feel so proud. It comes down to it being a milestone signifying the hard work of dedication and pouring into each student’s life. We never say that a student is identified by what they do or where they go to college, but it is one small milestone that we get to tangibly celebrate. It’s always important, but always, always, something to celebrate.
Q:If you could go back to your own college admissions process, what would you do differently?
A: Not much. I was fortunate enough not to have to apply to a ton of schools, I was fortunate enough to have a family decision. I was asked to go to the University of Michigan by my parents, because all my older siblings were already there. I knew Michigan, and I loved Michigan, so I was happy to do that. When I got in, I just went. I had it easy, and I loved the fact that I went somewhere where my siblings could help me during my freshman year. My parents were comfortable with everything that I did because they already knew everything about Michigan. So, there’s very very little I would change. Maybe I could have studied more, so I could’ve gotten a scholarship to help alleviate some of the costs.
Q: What are some things you wish you knew before entering college?
A: I wish I knew the value of relationships better. My first mentality was, the more friends the better. At now, at the age that I’m at, it’s not true. Have friends is good, and having a good number of friends is good, but if they’re not deep, meaningful relationships, then they’re obviously superficial and worthless in the long run. So, relationships, I wish I knew the value of them in college and invested more deeply in them.
Q: Is there any final message you want to impart to parents or students?
A: One thing that I can say to both parents and students is to appreciate and value the time they have together here before they go to college, if that’s the plan. In that, encourage each other, support each other, and value each other within the time they’re at home. Make home a place that feels comfortable, and treat home as your sanctuary and your time away, not a place that you fear or a place that you just study or go to eat. Whatever it is, whenever there is a time you need to get away, it should be the comforts of your home.