When It’s the “Best” College Because It’s the Right Fit
By Mrs. Halaine Steinberg, Director of College Guidance
At Beth Tfiloh, we focus on finding not the college with the best ranking, but rather the college that offers the best opportunities for each individual student. Because fit isn’t everything; it is the only thing,
In the midst of a college cheating scandal that exposes just how far parents will go to secure a college pedigree for their soon-to-be-adult child, a scandal that brings into the harsh light of media judgment the trend toward “college prep” over “college fit,” a scandal that forces us to examine the utter despair of too many high school seniors who feel pressure to get admitted into the “right” school, in the midst of all of this chaos sanity still exists in the high school college guidance office. At Beth Tfiloh, we focus on finding not the college with the best ranking, but rather the college that offers the best opportunities for each individual student.
Before Beth Tfiloh college counselors sit down to the initial individual family meetings that begin a year-long college application process for our students, our families have already filled out an extensive questionnaire. The first question for the students: Why do you want to go to college? And for the parent: How would you describe your child? These questions, and the many more that follow, frame the task we take on as partners with our families – to look at the student before looking for the college. Fit isn’t everything; it is the only thing, rising to the top as the single most important factor that will determine a student’s academic success, emotional well-being and likelihood of graduating from college in four years.
As we learned the details of the latest web of bribery and lies, a friend asked me why a parent who has $6 million dollars to spare would need to buy his child a college acceptance; why not just use the $6 million to set the kid up in a business venture or investment that will take care of him for life? It’s a fair question. The answer goes back to what we emphasize every year to our families – college provides more than just a means to a livelihood; it offers the path to a life, an opportunity for intellectual and emotional growth, a chance to discover who you are and who you can become, a launching pad to find meaningful work and – cliché as it may sound – to make a difference in the world.
And you don’t need $6 million dollars to accomplish that, or fake test scores, or a degree from an elite college. You just need someone with the courage to believe in who you are right now, the faith to envision who you can become, and the wisdom to show you how to get there.
Our Class of 2019 college acceptances reflect our philosophy that the “best” school is the one that is the right fit for the individual student. Our students received acceptances from public and private universities and colleges that span a range of geographic locations in both the US and Europe, are culturally enriching and Jewishly vibrant and which challenge our students to stretch intellectually, academically, socially and culturally.