Cg727xsUoAAMdR1Mount Vernon’s College Counseling Admissions Roundtable was such a huge success in the spring of 2015, that Erin McCubbin, Director of College Counseling, and Pam Ambler, Associate Director of College Counseling followed up with a repeat performance.

The purpose of circling up more than 10 admission professionals on the other side of the desk at various colleges around the country, was threefold:

  1. To share Mount Vernon’s DEEP design thinking process with college admission representatives so they might better understand the foundation of a Mount Vernon education.
  2. To provide an hands-on experience through which college reps can get to know Mount Vernon, intimately and learn our students’ stories.
  3. To solidify relationships with a variety of college professionals while extending the conversations about the ever-changing landscape of admissions, making them more student-centered.

Representatives from the following colleges spent a full day with our College Counselors, several faculty, and many students.

  • Sewanee
  • GW
  • BU
  • Wash U
  • GT
  • MIT
  • Vandy
  • Tufts
  • Lafayette
  • Emory
  • Colorado College

Prompted by the question: “How might we better communicate unique student accomplishments,” college representatives collaborated with students and faculty to tackle the iD transcript, a prototype college prep transcript, and explore badging all before entering into a two hour Design Thinking Flashlab where each rep was asked to design a college process for a specific student, which would highlight his or her unique story. Throughout the experience, students were given the time and space to be the stars through ice breakers, MoVe talks, and design thinking pop-ins.

The expectation was that our college representatives would spend the day getting to know students at Mount Vernon, learning how they engage along with what inspires and motivates them on a daily basis. Specifically, college representatives learned more about students in our debate program, what it means to be a Prefect, how iProject has launched passions for everything from finance, to writing, to engineering and the consultivations our Innovation Diploma Students led for organizations and companies around the world.  Participants were not bound to the typical constraints of the existing college application process and were encouraged to think about ways Mount Vernon students could highlight their unique accomplishments.

Many guests remarked at what energy and enthusiasm MV staff and students shared for learning. Guests were excited to better understand how to implement the DEEP design thinking process back at their respective colleges. They also left campus with an intimate understanding of the Mount Vernon distinction.

Erin McCubbin reflects, “Throughout the day, there were countless moments of pride as the MV message was communicated thoughtfully, articulately, and creatively. In particular, our students did an amazing job welcoming these college representatives, showcasing their work, and partnering with DT novices. We collected piles of post-its and took copious notes on how we can continue to partner with college reps to alter the college admission process to better reflect learning that happens both inside and outside the classroom. Just as last year we used the insight we gained to prototype a unique transcript for Innovation Diploma students, we will use this year’s feedback to scale that to the entire school. Each student has a unique story to tell– our favorite part about what we do is figuring out ways to make each student shine in the college process. Programs like the Roundtable inspire us to continue to be creative in ways we push the boundaries of the college admission process!”

Student comments during the experience: 

“iProject taught me to tinker.” ~Emily Moseley

“Project-based learning has taught me to view the world through a different lens.” ~Ian Cox

“I find myself constantly asking ‘why’ to everyday things. There is always a way to do things better!” ~Jack Xiao