The College Process
We always knew that Odyssey was going to be new territory for inclusion into college applications, but not until we began exploring how to present our program to admissions offices did we really realize how difficult it would be to explain this extraordinary program to those who have so little time to listen. The college application process is complex, time-consuming, and can be very difficult for our senior students. Though some of the application process has become more streamlined with so many schools using the Common App and students making use of the website Naviance, there are still schools that require their own separate application and a great many require a variety of supplemental materials. One of the supplements that we had to create was a clear, simple, concise document letting the universities know what Odyssey is, and what the kids have done over the past two years…no small task when you have so little space to include it.
Most colleges and universities are burdened with hundreds if not thousands of applications each year. The most difficult task a student has is to figure out how to make their application stand out—particularly at a highly selective university. Odyssey Scholars is one of those programs that can put a student’s application front and center. So, to focus more attention on their Odyssey work, each student was tasked with creating a one page document of their journey. This was a very tricky job in that the document needed to reflect the depth of the work that has been done without being just another page of verbiage that the college would have to comb through. As usual with this group, the kids rose to the task and took on the challenge with gusto. What has resulted with our 4 seniors is a set of “info graphs” that reflect their personalities as much as their work. Additionally, many of their essays reflected their Odyssey journey and many of their rec letters focused on their work, as well.
One of the most important things that we have learned this year is just how rare this program is across the country. Every college rep that the kids spoke to seemed extremely impressed with their projects and the extra activities in which they have been able to participate—internships, presentations, speaking engagements, time on task, etc. Apparently, the depth, complexity and intensity of the program is something new to them. Another real plus for us!