- • "Describe the last excellent conversation you had. What triggered it?"
- • "What is the most important lesson you will take from high school to your next endeavor?"
- • "Who do you want to be your mentor for the next two to seven years?"
- • "Where can you find people whose message persuades you and whose personal ethic inspires you?"
- • "How can you acquire skills that will equip you for the rest of your life?"
Imagine a college application or guidance counselor session that opened with this nontraditional set of questions.
When I applied to college, I thought of it as a necessary next step—the thing you did after high school. I had been homeschooled all the way through twelfth grade, so I felt some level of anxiety about whether or not I would be “good enough” to make it into top schools. I sweated over test scores, transcripts, and the now-amusing letter my dad had to write to explain my “1/1” class rank.
When I assessed the brightly colored college brochures piled on my desk, the U.S. News & World Report ranking was far more important to me than the names of faculty who taught there. I had no idea who they were or even that it might matter. If the type of questions I have outlined appeared at all, it was on the essay at the end of the application. If your experience is anything like mine was, your student’s main concern in answering those essay questions might be, “What do they want to hear?” followed closely by, “What can I say to make the committee admit me?”