• Mr. Jeff Neill

Check Your Baffles

Dear juniors,

We have one item for you to consider this week, a point of reflection and re-consideration. Again, we endeavor to provide you with some optional activities each week to inform your college search. Please take some time to review this message and its activities as part of your “15 minutes per night” work.

As a reminder, given all that is going on in the world around us, with regards to the college process, juniors should be focusing on the research cycle. We have covered this a few times, but be sure to review this blog post if you are in need of a refresher: https://www.isdakar.org/post/how-to-research-colleges.

As you continue on with your research, there is a particular phenomenon that we would like you to consider this week. The exercise is a point of reflection. The metaphor that we use here is that of a submarine. As a vessel, a submarine is designed to move in one direction, and turning is quite difficult. As it heads in a particular direction -- much like a student headed toward “right fit” colleges and universities -- it is easier to adjust the course slightly than to make large shifts of direction. However, this does not mean that we are headed in the CORRECT direction (through our college search)! One unique quality of submarines that draws our attention as being an apt metaphor is the fact that their SONAR -- the technology that allows submarines to “see” other objects in the water -- cannot see things directly behind them. This space behind, where the propeller disturbs the water making it difficult for the SONAR to see, is called the baffles. As students consider new schools and types of schools and qualities of schools and search criteria, they most typically find things that they do not like and move past them, leaving them behind. Just like a submarine, when students do this, it is hard to turn the ship around and take-back such decisions. However, that does not mean that every decision is a good one. Additionally, this submarine-like forward momentum does not honor the fact that students can and should change throughout the college process: grade 11 students are not the same individuals as they are when they graduate, and their college process should reflect this.

So, for this week, we ask that you take some time to check your baffles (students and parents alike)! Identify some schools, qualities of schools, types of schools, location of schools, and search criteria that you have decided against and reconsider them. Two things are likely to happen: first, you learn that you are indeed headed in the correct direction and the exercise affirms your choices and sends you more confidently on your way; or, second, you realize that there are some additional criteria that are important to you, and you move forward with a more fully explored set of criteria. Either way, you benefit!

In closing, by way of reminder, please see our request from two weeks ago to solicit teacher letters of recommendation and what to do when you’ve done so!

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