An Open Letter to Our Families

GE College Prep families,

In the last 48 hours, there has been a flood of outrage over the individuals who conspired to steal coveted spots from deserving applicants at top universities. While some may find it inconceivable that anyone would resort to fraud to gain college admission, from our end, it is unfortunately not entirely surprising. We cannot tell you the number of times that parents ask us, “What can I do to get my child into X school?” While this well-intentioned question seems innocent enough, especially given today’s competitive landscape, it is indicative of two broader issues that we feel compelled to address:

1) Shouldn’t the question really be, “What can my child do to get into X school?” After all, this is their journey, and they should be spending their high school years becoming the most interesting version of themselves possible. Nudge your children out of their comfort zones, both academically and socially; encourage them not only to explore new activities and interests, but also to find unique ways to delve deeper into their current ones; foster a genuine love of learning, not just of academic success; and help them find fun, fulfilling ways to make a meaningful impact on their community. Doing so will cultivate the authenticity that is an integral part of the application process while also ensuring that your children have positive high school experiences.

2) When parents are looking for any way possible to help their children, what may start as an innocent phone call to a well-connected family friend can quickly spiral into a series of unethical actions (just turn on the news). It is easy to fixate on a particular college and become convinced that acceptance to that one school will somehow guarantee a student’s happiness and success. However, if parents have to resort to photoshopping their child’s head onto another’s body, falsifying standardized testing results, and/or fabricating charitable involvement in order to gain acceptance, they should start asking themselves whether their child really belongs at that school. Plus, what kind of message are these parents sending to their children—that they aren’t capable enough to blaze their own trails or succeed on their own?

At Great Expectations, we are the first to agree that the admissions process is far from perfect, but it isn’t always as unfair or discriminatory as it seems: sometimes, there are simply more qualified applicants than there are spaces in the freshman class.

We believe in encouraging students to aim high, but we also cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding the right school, regardless of where it may fall in the U.S. News rankings. We work hard to remain up-to-date on hundreds of colleges in order to identify potentially excellent fits based on a student’s goals and abilities. Students who spend four years at a competitive college struggling to stay afloat (if they even survive that long!), constantly feeling “less than” classmates who make it look easy, are doing themselves a disservice. Students belong at colleges that value what they have to offer—somewhere they can thrive, take risks, and immerse themselves in a culture where they feel at home, supported, and inspired.

College is an extremely important transitional period, and we want to empower our students to take control of their own stories and relay them in a flattering—but honest—way. By helping them develop their interests and craft applications that showcase their best and most unique attributes, we ensure that they present themselves in the most authentic, competitive light possible—all with minimal stress and anxiety.

We encourage you to reach out to us with absolutely any questions or concerns. Applying to college is not an easy process, but it is one that we can help you navigate gracefully and successfully.

Thank you, as always, for the chance to support your children in the pursuit of their dreams.

Regards,

Jen Kaifesh (Founder)
Great Expectations College Prep, LLC
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