The Stanford University Class of 2019 was selected from 42,487 candidates, the largest applicant pool in Stanford’s history. The 2,144 admitted students come from 50 states and 77 countries.
That’s about a 5% acceptance rate. FIVE PERCENT. The world is getting smaller, not bigger, and they’re not building any more Ivys. (I know Stanford’s not an Ivy, bear with me). College acceptance, like the NBA and professional soccer, is a global competition.
Here’s the good news: EVERYONE IS GOING TO COLLEGE.
It’s that time of year, the one filled with joy, dread, exultation, and despair. There’s so much, too much placed on that thin (or thick) envelope. The stakes are way too high, and yet everyone seems to turn out fine.
The colleges have seen everything we can throw at them. The kids who’ve written books, saved remote villages from the tsetse fly, and played violin at the Met. Been there, done that. Times a thousand. Make it 43,000 for kicks.
So, what are you going to do about it international schools? Continue to promise that you’re going to squeeze students into the 5%? Produce students who get 50’s on the IB and 10’s on the A.P. because, well, we can?
What will those young people look like? Do we want to know? Is that the path?
Everyone is going to college.
The college acceptance rate for international schools is on par with the best public and private schools on the planet. If we start with that premise, then we give ourselves permission to do what is necessary and right by our clients, yes, our clients.
We give ourselves permission to up our game by building with them a pathway to that inevitable experience not on “the classics” or the standard curriculum that we assure everyone as the way to get into the 5%, but on the unique, balanced, and creative experience of every person who comes to us for an education. After all, everyone’s going to college.
We give ourselves permission to redefine the “job” of the teacher, to challenge students to apply learning to their communities rather than a test, and to have the boldness to create people for whom college is an OPTION, not a life or death proposition.
Yes, this is difficult to talk about. It’s not a new conversation, just the one that comes to my head every Spring, when we think of the possibilities, reassure the discouraged, and smile at the reality that everyone, yes everyone, is going to college.