What is “Winning” in College Admissions?

Now that we’ve been around for a few years, the word is getting out and we have a substantial group of members who will be attending universities in Europe this fall. This is so exciting to me. I’ve been thinking about the members who I have met through through consultations, best fit lists, member calls, and the member Facebook group and considering unifying qualities among them. Certainly, the cost savings elements of college in Europe appeals to all of us first, but it’s there’s much more to it than that.


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I’m reading a great book right now, The Five-Year Party by Craig Brandon, that started me thinking about these member qualities. The book is written by a former professor who exposes many of the academic problems that are occurring as administrators attempt to appease and retain the tuition paying student. It’s really a page turner and I highly recommend it. I’ve been trying to find a way to contact the author to come on the podcast but have thus far been unsuccessful. I’ve wanted to pick his brain about why so many parents are resistant to believing the research about the problems with US higher education and outcomes. Is it because many of the problems did not begin until after people in our generation graduated? We didn’t experience it so we don’t believe it? Is it because they don’t see other options, thus choose to turn a blind eye to problems? Is it because the propaganda created by the universities that are run like big business are more successful at convincing some than others? I really don’t know the answer to this.

One quality I believe is true of all of our members is that they don’t feel the need to accept the status quo. They seek alternatives to what they see as problems even if it goes against group norms. Like our members, I am not someone who could be described as “going with the flow”.  I need to see where the flow is going an determine whether or not it’s aligned with my values and goals before I go with it. If this describes you, I recommend listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast about threshold theory. This episode gave me a lot of insight into myself, and may provide you the same.

Going back to the shared values and goals, our members do value education, but not the often meaningless work that is involved in “winning” at the US admissions game. They recognize that this work often limits meaningful learning and experiences that assist with growth and independence and are eager to identify quality higher education options that allow them to opt of of the rat race.

These families have values related to global citizenship. They want their children to identify as a member of the world community and provide experiences and education with that end in sight. They realize that international experiences are a part of global citizenship and cultivate independence in their children so they can find success, even if temporarily far from home.

If you are/you have a college bound student and the above resonated with you, I encourage you to join our community of families who are exploring the English-taught bachelor’s degree programs in Europe.

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