There are so many things I love about this time of year: the azaleas, the promise of consistent warmer weather ahead, and the end of the school year is in sight. This particular year gives us hope in the vaccines as we are hopefully moving out of the tunnel of the most demanding twelve months most of us have ever experienced. In this house, April is also marking the end of an incredibly brutal college admissions cycle. Colleges have reported record numbers of applications. One in-state example for us includes Clemson University, which received over 45,000 applications, compared with 26,000 last year. Needless to say, our family is looking forward to spring break.

On the college front, it might be helpful for some of your parents and students to hear that Gallup has been doing a survey for many years focused on what about college creates long-term wellness in graduates. As it turns out, public or private, large or small, these differentiators do not matter all that much in the end when it comes to individuals who report having great lives and engaging jobs after college. What matters is what students do with their time. Specifically, these six statements from their college years strongly related to the quality of their lives and jobs after college:

  • I had at least one professor at my college who made me excited about learning.
  • My professors at college cared about me as a person.
  • I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue by goals and dreams.
  • I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.
  • I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.
  • I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations while attending college.

The good news? Graduates of independent schools are more likely to engage in these activities than those who do not attend independent schools. As I prepare my own senior to head off to college next year, these are the experiences I will encourage him to seek out, wherever he finds himself next fall.

The college acceptance season brings me to the part of April that gives me great unease. Spring is also the time of year when we see a rise in the number of suicides. There is a speculation on why this is the case, but the trend is consistent around the globe (e.g., on the other side of the globe, Australia sees their numbers increase in September and October, their spring). In the United States, minors have had growing rates of suicide for years, although 2019 showed a dip from the 2018 data. As a cohort, students from affluent families and those in high-achieving schools are more at risk than their peers, something that is vital for schools to understand. For those wondering, this is not purely a high school issue. The number of suicides and mental health struggles for upper elementary and middle school students has been rising. Given the truly unusual college application cycle as well as incredible stress and challenges of this most extraordinary school year, we should be looking after our students, staff, and selves with additional care. As we continue into this spring, these resources might be helpful to you and your teams:

Finally, this is also the time when many of you are identifying new hires for the next academic year. This spring we are seeing substantially more traffic on our career center than we have in the past. This year, one of our sponsors for the Diversity Practitioners Institute, Selected, is providing SAIS schools with an all-access week at a discounted rate of $200 from April 19-28. To take advantage of this offer, register for the free kick-off event on April 19 that includes sessions on anti-bias hiring, marketing, and a site demo. All of the sessions are optional and you can choose which to attend. Check out this flyer for more information and also this quick slide deck on Selected.

Remember, too, that we have a number of other sponsors who are working with schools to fill open positions, including 12M RecruitingATOMS Placement ServicesBig Back PackCarney, Sandoe & AssociatesISMRG175, and Southern Teachers. We appreciate the ongoing support by these partners of our schools and SAIS.

As always, please let SAIS know if we can do anything at all for you.