Thursday, February 13, 2014


Given the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in the US, and where we are in the college admissions cycle, that title seems appropriate to open a new series of blogs for the Class of 2018.  Each of the past few falls or winters, I have taken to the "blogosphere" to try and share some information with parents, students and counselors about the process of applying to and selecting a college.  If you review some of the past entries, you'll notice a theme - song titles from my youth that "help" frame the conversation.  As my wife repeatedly reminds me, I tend to use "classic rock" - or "old music" - because that's what I know.  I think it's good music, so hopefully students may discover some good tunes, and I think parents and counselors will appreciate the trip down memory lane.  In any event, I hope all will find the information and conversation here worthwhile and helpful.

In conversations with our applicants and their parents, the song title "Help" seems to be just below the surface of so many questions and comments.  Even for parents who went to college themselves, today's process is so different - more competitive, more expensive, and more pressure-packed than ever.  It doesn't help that almost every story about higher education paints a bleak picture of students graduating with huge debt and no job.  Some have even questioned the merits of higher education entirely, suggesting that it is not worth the cost.

The fact of the matter is that going to college, and benefiting from a broad based, liberal arts education has never been more valuable or important.  Another fact is that most students - especially those that graduate from USD - have reasonable amounts of students loans, graduate on time, and have job offers by the time they walk across the stage at graduation.

We are very excited that you've applied to USD and appreciate all you have done in your preparation to get to this point.  We also recognize that not everyone will be accepted, and of those that are accepted, not everyone will either want to or be able to enroll.  Regardless of how the process turns out, we hope that the blogs that follow will help all of you "get your feet back on the ground," as the song says.  Over the next few weeks leading up to May 1 you will be able to read about:

  • Affording college and what you should be doing now to prepare
  • The value of a liberal arts education with faculty and students addressing some of the misperceptions surrounding this education as well as specific outcomes that employers and graduate schools value
  • Why you might want to choose USD over the other excellent options you have
  • Helpful tips about getting ready for May 1 and beyond - from students who experienced exactly what you are feeling now
There will be information for parents too, so be sure to let them know about it (and ask them if they ever heard of some of the music references).  In the meantime, remember to enjoy your senior year.   Think carefully about what you hope to get out of college - beyond your first job.  And remember these lyrics:

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
  My independence seems to vanish in the haze
  But every now and then I feel so insecure
   I know that I just need you like I've never done before

If any of those feelings of insecurity creep in, we're here to Help.

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