Veritas Tutors is proud to announce that we are expanding the Admissions Consulting services that we provide to our clients. We will now include Secondary School Admissions Consulting, in addition to our Undergraduate and Graduate School Admissions Consulting. This is a direct response to many of our clients, who have requested assistance for their children as they apply to private boarding and day schools.
Our Secondary School Admissions Consulting efforts will be coordinated by Barbara Eghan. Barbara worked for five years as Associate Director of Admission at Groton School, a coeducational boarding school in Massachusetts that draws applicants from around the world. In her time at Groton, she interviewed hundreds of students, read thousands of applications, and worked in conjunction with several admission consultants, all the while calibrating and spending significant time analyzing key predictors of a student’s academic success. In addition to her admissions role, Barbara taught English for two years at Groton and taught the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) Verbal, Reading, and Writing sections at Brooks Summer School. With these combined experiences in admissions and teaching, Barbara has developed a strong understanding of how schools attract the best applicants to fulfill their missions and how students can best position themselves for entry into highly competitive independent schools.
In her own words:
I will provide Veritas Tutors clients with a roadmap to guide them through the complicated landscape of independent secondary school admission. Beginning with an initial consultation in which we discuss the student’s interests and goals, we will then embark on the process of researching and narrowing the list of schools that offer the right balance of fit and potential for growth. The Secondary School Admissions Consulting service will also include protocols for school visits, interview preparations and debriefs for both the student and his or her family, assistance with the application process, review of personal and supplemental essays, and, if necessary, review of the financial aid process. Where appropriate, I may contact prospective schools to advocate for the students during the reading process of the admissions cycle. Finally, we will review the school options a student has earned in the spring in order to make a well-informed decision and conclude the school search.
Barbara is now pursuing a Master’s degree at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is concentrating in School Leadership.
Who/what inspired you to dedicate your career to education?
I chose to dedicate my career to education because schools were the places where I was most transformed as I was growing up. Especially during those formative adolescent years, I benefited from teachers and mentors who dared me to clarify my thinking, find my voice, cope with challenges, and strive to have a positive impact on the lives of others. In short, I was lucky that my own education was a source of constant inspiration throughout my journey- I was to spend my life doing work that has such tremendous power to inspire young people on the cusp of figuring out who they are what role they will play in this world.
What help do you wish you had received in your own educational journey?
As I have said, I am grateful to have some wonderful teachers throughout my life, and I could not have asked for better support.
I just wish I had had an inner judo master, someone to remind me that as important as it is to keep one’s balance, it is equally imperative to learn ways of regaining it when it is lost.
Why and when should parents and students consider applying to private schools instead of public schools?
I always acknowledge up front that my fundamental belief is not that one type of schooling is better than the other- my fundamental belief is in educational choice, and that when given the opportunity for choice, it is worthwhile to be informed about the options. Having said that, I believe that some students benefit from the educational, extracurricular, and/or developmental resources at independent schools that might not be available elsewhere. Independent schools tend to have smaller class sizes, more consistently high levels of rigor and expectation, more financial resources for student programming and support, and greater reported levels of student motivation and satisfaction with regard to the educational experience than you find at most public schools. Also, because independent schools are not beholden to state assessments and curriculum standards, they enjoy more freedom to not only support high-quality teaching and learning, but also to nurture those increasing necessary so-called “non-cognitive” skills- skills like emotional intelligence, effort, perseverance, self-discipline, leadership, and accountability, all of which enhance the entire learning community as well as each student’s ability to benefit most greatly from it. And, of course, many families credit independent schools for being able to offer their children greater opportunity- for school involvement, talent development, meaningful student-teacher relationships, and post- secondary success. These are just a few good reasons why some families choose to consider independent schools among the educational options for their children.
As for when these considerations should begin, there is no single right answer here. Some students are independent schoolers for life, whereas some public schoolers might come to find, as I once did, that there is merit to exploring other options at the critical secondary-school level. Some eager parents start the independent school search a few years before they intend for their child to attend. But it is more typical to start the school search process in the early fall of the year prior to attendance- for students seeking admission to an independent school for the 2013-14 academic year, now is a great time to start getting a feel for the different kinds of schools out there.
Why are you the right person to help parents/students achieve their goal of admission to the “right” school for them?
From an admissions perspective, I have read hundreds of successful secondary school applications, but many more hundreds of unsuccessful ones- I know what distinguishes the two in a deeply talented applicant pool. I know the questions admissions counselors ask and how they are interpreting the answers. I know what admissions committee conversations sounds like and how difficult many of their decisions are. I have had the good fortune to visit and know colleagues and students at several independent schools across the country, so, from the inside out, this is a landscape I know well.
From a family’s perspective, I know how hopeful the admissions process is, and yet how vulnerable it can make students and their parents feel. I know their hopes, their anxieties, and the questions with which they wrestle as they consider what they most value in an education. I know how much students can learn about themselves when they approach the application process with the right combination of thoughtfulness and ambition.
My admissions experience at a highly selective school provided me with a unique lens: in addition to my own experience as a student in independent schools, as an educator I have spent countless hours with parents and students who are evaluating the very question of which school is best for them, and it did not take me long to recognize why the role is often referred to as “admission counseling”. At stake for each family are big decisions about fit, ambition, development, community, opportunity- the admission process is about much more than simply “getting in”, and I take this notion seriously. I have said to nearly every student I have interviewed that the school search process is a “soul search” by a different name: it is empowering for a young person to ask questions about the interests that motivate them, the talents they seek to develop, and the environment that will allow them to grow.
What books are on your nightstand/current reading list?
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most by D. Stone, B. Patton, and S. Heen (for the record, I don’t have a whole lot of “difficult conversations”, but this fast read is a good reminder that in life, love and work, we should strive to understand and listen to each other- and ourselves- better).
If you are interested in learning more about Secondary School Admissions Counsulting or any of our other admissions services, please contact Adrian at (617) 395-4160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.