From the Desk of the Executive Director of College Counseling: A time for reflecting and REimagining
The excitement has been palpable in the days that followed Interim Head of School Rodriguez’s announcement about the REimagining of college counseling at Ransom Everglades. Not only did we hear from many in the RE community, but the announcement generated an unexpected buzz in the national admissions and college counseling networks. This is indeed a bold move for Ransom Everglades School; an inflection point. As it turns out, it is also a moment for reflection and gratitude.
My colleague, Patrick Tassoni, Director of College Counseling, often reminds me that we have been building the plane and flying it at the same time. Simply put, we have been developing plans for the reimagining while we have been fully engaged in college counseling for the Class of 2023. Over the past seven months, college counseling leadership has been meeting with students and parents, attending school events, conversing with faculty, and gathering feedback from parents and returning alumni. All of you, whether you knew it or not, were contributing to our thinking about the strategic plan. A heartfelt thank you to the community for your unfailing kindness and willingness to share your ideas.
Before I ask you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight, allow me to share a few details of the implementation of our strategic plan. Our highest priority remains working with our seniors to achieve success in the college admissions process. For Class of 2024 parents and students, the process began with new questionnaires to be completed this month. In early January, we launched the Class of 2024 with an inaugural Returning Alumni College Panel followed a few days later with the always anticipated College Admissions Symposium that focused on Expanding the Universe of College and Universities. We ended January with a unique program, Building Financial Fit and Affordability into Your School Lists, followed by communication of college counseling assignments. The 12-member strong college counseling corps will thus begin our intensive one-on-one work with a student-to-counselor ratio that is the envy of our peers.
Based on feedback from our seniors, we have also redesigned the junior and senior programming to focus on essay writing (offered by our new faculty essay specialist), resumé and interview workshops, and resource development for students presenting a portfolio or planning to audition. We will develop resources for researchers and interns wanting to present their work, advise students on summer experiences, and present information for those students interested in studying abroad. Reflecting on their experience, RE seniors have also encouraged us to reduce the number of class meetings devoted to application processes (use technology, they said), use better communication tools, and above all else, help future classes better manage the college application process by starting earlier and nudging students along the way with checklists, check-ins and deadlines.
Speaking of future classes, we are also engaged in discussions about our college counseling curriculum for the ninth- and tenth-grade classes … and the transition from eighth to ninth grade. Over the coming months, members of the college counseling team and select members of the faculty and leadership will be engaged in choosing a model for the college counseling experience. Having students engage in self-reflection and providing more comprehensive academic planning are two important aspects that we will be exploring. And, of course, we are developing plans for matching cohorts of students to teams of college counselors which will allow students to develop early relationships with more than one college counselor. We will share more details with our ninth- and tenth-grade parents during programs in February and March.
And lest we forget, we are still landing the plane for the Class of 2023. I know that the entire RE community joins me in wishing our seniors the best of luck as they prepare for an on-time arrival at their gates.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.