IMG_9063“It was AWESOME being on your campus yesterday!!! You are so lucky to work in such an innovative environment.  I loved interacting with your students and learning more about your curriculum.  Man, I would have loved a school like MVP. Being there just made me want to fill my desk with pipe cleaners, post-it notes, popsicle sticks and immediately tap my inner MacGyver. I think of all the things I could prototype!” ~ Elizabeth Zucchero from Birmingham-Southern College

Three years ago, Mount Vernon’s Directors of College Counseling, Erin McCubbin and Pam Ambler, spearheaded a springtime roundtable event, in an effort to involve external experts in our students’ college counseling process.

Each year since, a different collection of college representatives visit our campus to dig deeper into a College Counseling challenge, need, or issue. This year, the group was asked to do a design thinking exercise surrounding the redesign of Mount Vernon’s College Profile. Answering the questions: What are colleges looking for? What might make a Mount Vernon graduate unique? How does Mount Vernon stand out? 

Representatives from the following colleges recently met with both counselors, students and faculty: Furman, Emory, American, Davidson, Dartmouth, Northeastern, GCSU, Birmingham Southern, Georgia Tech, George Washington University, Lafayette, and Sewanee.

In true Design Thinking fashion, MVIFI members Bo Adams, Meg Cureton, Trey Boden, and Jim Tiffin  moved through Discovery, Empathy, Experiment and Produce modes – to reimagine a document that accompanies the Upper School transcript, making it more story-centric. With a tool that can show college admissions officers how Mount Vernon stands out by demonstrating our signature programs: iProject, iDiploma, interdisciplinary courses, and interim.

Follow the play by play at: #MVROUNDTABLE

Chuck from Lafayette said in a follow up discussion, “The roundtable experience was an insightful and thought-provoking experience.”

Rhiannon from Northeastern was blown away by how similar our programs were to their nationally ranked co-op program on campus. She remarked how “ready our students would be for that type of real-world experience.”

Students Marisa Mecke, John Traurig, and Joshua Schwartz each did mini MoVe (Moment of Visible Empathy) talks. Dylan Paul, AJ Whitney, Steven Butz, Emily Moseley, and Rachel Kosmos each did speed-dating style conversations describing their iProjects.

Director of College Counseling Erin McCubbin shares, “We are constantly refining the way we work to tell the story of a Mount Vernon student. Every student is different, but they share in the same signature experiences and relationship-based, integrated, and problem-based teaching methodologies. With the feedback we got at the Roundtable, Pam and I feel very affirmed in the direction the school is pushing the transcript and high school profile; it is a delicate balance to innovate but still remain relevant and useful to the college application reader. The feedback we got is that we’re maintaining that balance well. Some excellent ideas were shared about how we might reimagine parts of the high school profile, too. We know our participants will be excited to see the updated Mount Vernon profile for 2017-2018 based on their direct feedback when they receive applications from Mount Vernon students.”

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