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You're Awesome, Be Happy!!

Hector Martinez
It’s November 2nd and the College Guidance office is quiet this morning—nothing like the last few days when countless numbers of panicked seniors were popping in to get their essays looked at one last time before pressing “submit.”

The norm around here at this time of year is a barrage of last minute emails, phone calls, and drop-ins from both students and parents—along with an emergency text message or two that often begins, “So sorry to be sending this to you so late, but can you please tell me if I did it correctly?” In fact, the look of desperation on many of the faces of even our strongest students—those applying early decision or early action to insanely selective colleges like the Ivy League and their competitors—is almost more than I can bare!

It seems to me that every year, the more we try as an office and school to create a “stress-free zone” when it comes to college admissions, nothing really fixes the problem. In the end, every Webb student and his or her family knows exactly how hard it is to be admitted into the top colleges and universities. And the media hype doesn’t help; just one quick Google search and an endless list of doomsday articles come into view.

A recent article in the New York Times caught my attention, so I thought I’d share it. It is both well-researched and candid. I know it might add to our collective stress, but I am hoping it doesn’t. That said, the headline is brutal, “What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything).” And bolded a few sentences in, “No, it isn’t fair, and likely never will be.” I understand at first blush it isn’t exactly going to make any of us feel soothed and relaxed.

However, I have an important point to make and message to share.  At Webb, we often tell our students to face their challenges head-on and make the most of them—simply avoiding what is hard doesn’t make it any easier. I believe this with all my heart. Another thing we often tell our students is this: if there was ever a good time to be at a really good high school with a great reputation it is now! Yes, it is hard. And yes, it isn’t always fair, but Webb students have every possible advantage when it comes to presenting themselves to colleges, from the excellent academic program they have followed to the extensive activities and experiences they have each accomplished during their time here; their stories are heard loud and clear at every college and university to which they apply. 

So, please remember these two things: Webb has been at this good work for nearly 100 years. And last: you’re awesome, be happy!

Hector Martinez is the Director of College Guidance for The Webb Schools. Read more about Webb's College Guidance program here.
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