Navigating the College Process

Forbes Mann, Director of College Counseling

Director of College Counseling Forbes Mann shares some insight about how to navigate the college counseling process at Field. 

The college search experience at Field does not begin in the senior year, but it is when it ramps up, and students finalize their application choices. Our 12th graders come to campus the week before school starts to participate in Field's College Boot Camp, a three-day intensive, working with and learning from our College Counseling Office and more than a dozen college representatives with whom they prepare for interviews, write drafts of essays and get started on the Common Application.  

Last week, my colleague Ingrid and I gathered with all our 12th graders for one of many college workshops offered during the advisory period. We reflected on our students' first week of visits with the first group of many college admission officers we will host at Field before the end of October. Most of our time, however, we spent doing small group and one-on-one work on their applications – editing short and long essays and polishing descriptions of extracurricular activities. We encouraged our students to work wherever they felt comfortable and productive, so they arrayed themselves around all our new furniture in the Meeting House – some on the commodious couches, some around the modular tables, and some in the supple leather chairs. As Ingrid and I made our way around the room to work with individual students and groups, I looked around at the class as they occupied themselves and couldn't help but think that they looked like a group of energetic young business travelers in a modern terminal waiting area, each of them waiting to travel to a range of exciting new places. And, that's not totally off base – our students experience the college search both as a community and as individuals; they will set off as a class together, but to a range of destinations as broad as befits their individual hopes, dreams, and talents. My high hope for each of them is that their journeys will be smooth. As we all know, though, the college admission journey can become fraught with stress – it can be, at times, a bumpy journey. Still, this fall, I have every confidence our bright and eager travelers will land at their happy destinations safely for these three reasons.

“The college process has already led to some stress for us as students, but meeting these engaging and kind college representatives who receive our applications and work on the other end of the process really deepened our understanding as prospective students of the college process and alleviated so many of these anxieties. Connecting with the college reps reassured us that numerous individuals are here to help while we work through our college applications. Ultimately, so many individuals want us to succeed at a college or university that is the right fit for each of us. After completing the College Boot Camp, I am excited to continue fostering connections with representatives from many different schools as I search for the collegiate environment that will best suit me after I graduate from Field.” ~Colleen ‘24

Finding the "Right Fit"
Our students seek colleges that are excellent fits for reasons that include geographical location, campus feel, size, academic majors of interest, affordability, and mission. Our students' needs are varied, and there is no one-size-fits-all. Field draws a global array of college and university representatives to our campus each fall who are interested in our students. When we are curating college lists, I have been struck by the sense of adventure in our students – they become interested in fascinating colleges, not due to a ranking or a bumper sticker, but instead because they've found something about a college that sparks a fire of curiosity in them. They are willing to branch out and explore something new.

Field helps students build resilience, and resilience helps at every stage of the college admission experience. From writing and rewriting drafts of essays, the pressures and expectations from the outside world to get into specific colleges, to the uncomfortable and anxious wait for admission decisions, to preparing to leave home, our students draw on the resilience they develop here. Field students have been and will continue to be admitted to right-fit, highly-selective schools.
Support Systems
Support systems abound to help our students along the journey. During our recently-concluded 
College Boot Camp, all of our seniors participated in two one-on-one practice interviews. One senior happened to be scheduled with one of their top-choice colleges. After concluding the practice interview, the admission representative from this school let our student know that the practice interview was a successful one and that it could fulfill the interview requirement at that college. This time and space for our seniors to have one-on-one practice interviews with college representatives before senior year starts is an invaluable experience. They get direct feedback to help them ask the most important questions about what they want and need from a college experience.