At My Learning Springboard, we believe that Admissions Consulting is a complex and highly reflective practice designed to help children and families find schools and learning communities in which they’ll thrive. Families choose to make school transitions for many different reasons: the child is ready to start kindergarten; the child attends a school that ends after 5th, 8th, or 9th grade; the child needs a specialized program; the school has counseled out the student; the student has simply outgrown the school environment and prefers to pursue other options; or it’s time for college planning, or alternative programming, such as a gap year or post-baccalaureate studies. Our ultimate goal is to help identify and facilitate excellent and appropriate opportunities for each learner by closely partnering with and advocating for students and their parents. Together we put on our “future glasses” and imagine the feelings, accomplishments, and community that will be experienced at each of the schools we explore.
The best educational consultants have deep knowledge of schools, which extends far beyond the facilities, statistics, and exmissions lists. It means knowing the curriculum and programmatic selections; knowing the instructional rigor; knowing the communication and planning approaches; knowing the available support and advisory services; and knowing about the community and vibe of each school. This deep knowledge is achieved by repeatedly visiting and observing classes at a wide range of schools and colleges, developing relationships with faculty and school leadership, and regularly reviewing class work, teacher feedback, and school documentation across grade levels and over time. Successful admissions consulting also requires an excellent, comprehensive, streamlined process, managed by educational experts with outstanding project management skills. For all of these reasons, we’ve found that we are best able to serve families with a team approach. Based on this knowledge, we’ve intentionally designed our Leadership Team to include educators with complementary expertise.
A huge part of a successful team effort is having open and honest communication with our families. In order to select a school environment in which a student will ultimately thrive, we need to talk openly and honestly with parents and students about their desires and needs. For example, if specialized instruction or accommodations are needed, we need to be able to discuss this up front, and consequently, we will need to openly share this information with schools. Schools want to be successful, which means accepting the students they know they can serve well. We must be able to talk honestly about the academic rigor and expectations of each school. Though a student may have the transcript, test scores, and application package to “get in,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best long-term fit for that student. Through ongoing discussion and debriefing after school tours and interviews, we arrive at an informed, prioritized list of schools that reflects both the student’s and parents’ feedback.
When planning for a transition of any kind, it’s imperative to start early. Ideally planning should start well in advance, so that a 4th grade family is planning for a 6th grade transition; a 7th grade family is planning for a 9th grade transition; and a 10th grade family is planning for the transition to college. We typically start Kindergarten Readiness the spring before the application season. Whether the student is applying to kindergarten or college, we begin with a family meeting at the My Learning Springboard (MLS) office to discuss hopes, expectations, questions, and timing. This approach allows for a slow and steady preparation process, which is the best way to create the most options. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, frustration, or anxiety surrounding admissions. At My Learning Springboard, we choose to reframe the “task” as an opportunity, one that has the potential to provide invaluable growth for the student, as well as for the family as a whole.
Please contact our office to discuss admissions consulting for your family in more detail. We provide hourly or comprehensive consultation for families applying to preschool through high school, as well as college and graduate school counseling and gap year planning. The My Learning Springboard Leadership Team looks forward to partnering with you and your family during these tremendously important transitions.