Our Philosophy and Approach to the College Application Process
Selecting a college and completing the application process can be a stressful experience for high school students and families. Thinking about the future can cause anxiety in teens because they are forced to confront their values and ambitions head on. The college selection and application process provokes young adults to think about questions such as: “What do I really want from my college experience? Am I authentically interested in this college or am I feeling peer pressure from friends and teachers? Does where I go to college determine major life outcomes like how much money I’ll make or how content I’ll be as an adult?”.
At Snap Academics, we approach the college counseling and application process with a healthy dose of balance, a realistic perspective, and intense focus on the interests of the individual student. We know that highly selective and Ivy-league colleges are right for some students and we have even worked with many students who have been accepted to highly ranked, selective schools. Yet, we are firmly committed to the idea that college selection is an incredibly personal choice and one that needs to be made through guided reflection and family-centered decision-making. We provide students with a counterbalance to the external and societal pressures of peers and the “chatter” around college that starts to invade the high schooler’s psyche as early as freshman year.
How is Snap Academics Different?
Here’s the truth: private college counseling services cannot promise admission to any college. Independent college consultants do not hold a golden key to admissions. Each year, college admission teams look to build a freshman class with a student body filled with a diversity of skills, academic and extracurricular experiences, and familial and cultural backgrounds. Of course, there are guideposts: average SAT scores, types of rigorous courses that admitted students took in high school, and average GPAs. But, there are no tricks. There are no crystal balls. We engage with students from the first meeting with this reality in mind and our mantra is: Focus on showing your best self and don’t worry about the parts of the process you can’t control.
What Pre-College Teens Need
Young people need guidance and support as they navigate these complex questions and they need to have the confidence, early on, that the college selection and application process is within their reach. Teenagers need to know that they are supported by a team of adults who will patiently work with them to help them to make informed decisions and also provide necessary perspective and advice. Our goal at Snap Academics is to create the conditions so that once a student hits “submit” on the final application, that it is the strongest application possible. We won’t ever complete the applications for students; we don’t write essays for students. We serve as teachers, counselors, essay writing coaches, application organizers, and managers of the process and we find that when students have our support they are able to create applications they are proud of and that help to highlight strengths and experiences that are valuable to college admission teams.
What Parents Need
Parents want to feel that they have a solid grasp on the college application and financial aid timeline and that they are not dropping the ball or missing important deadlines. Yet, the college application process has many moving parts, layered deadlines, and a myriad of details that can feel overwhelming even for the most organized family.
Parents want to be there to support and advise their children as they make important decisions about college together, but sometimes the logistics of the process can produce tension, arguments, and nagging that detract from parents’ ability to focus on the big picture support.