Volume 7, Issue 2 INSIDE - Ranney School


Volume 7, Issue 2 INSIDE - Ranney School

Volume 7, Issue 2



May 1st has grown to become one of my favorite days each school year. As I write this message,

final preparations are being made by our seniors to secure their final choice, purchase that perfect

fitting sweatshirt, and gear-up for a much anticipated “sweatshirt photo.” This day marks the conclusion

of a year filled with countless papers and tests, a little anxiety, and a tremendous amount of success.

Countless exams were completed, papers drafted, and more than 400 applications submitted.

Ranney teachers wrote letters of recommendation that let each college know that these students

were known and valued…the products of a well-crafted and evident mission-promise.

The start of spring is special in so many ways. Warm weather brings new growth and marks the

start of another season. This time of year for schools is filled with celebrations of bittersweet

endings and exciting new beginnings. As our oldest students’ time at Ranney comes to a close,

we applaud each of them for a job well done. They have developed into articulate, well-rounded

scholars who understand the need to give back to a society in need of their skill and motivation.

Advanced Placement exams are over, and each student feverishly awaits for June 17 as they battle a

Joseph M. Tweed

formidable opponent, senioritis. The recent conversations I have with seniors are often about the

Assistant Head of Upper School future. Many want reinforcement that they are making the “right” choice and that we, as advisors in

and Dean of College Guidance their lives, echo their excitement. Of course, nervous energy courses through their bodies, but this

is good energy. Whether it is becoming a Wolverine at the University of Michigan, a Hoya at

Georgetown University, or part of the Big Red at Cornell University, each of these seniors will always be a Ranney Panther.

As I reflect on the successes of this year’s senior class, I would like to recognize that 80 percent of our seniors earned acceptance into

their first or second choice colleges. It is hard to believe that another remarkable year is coming to a close, and we are beginning to

work with the Class of 2012 and guide them along their own individual path. In this issue, please look at Ranney Land to see how their

own journey to finding the “perfect” college began and will conclude. The stories of our seniors and alumni describe an educational

experience at Ranney that is forged in relationships. I often tell students when they enter the Upper School that a mark of success is

when every student has at least one adult on campus to whom they can turn, someone who they will cultivate a lasting relationship with.

Our students have completed a rigorous academic curriculum, won and lost on the athletic fields, and danced and sang their hearts

out on stage. These accomplishments are expected at a school like Ranney, but what separates us are the relationships that bring our

students back long after they receive a diploma. Cherish this time of year and each moment as we watch these gifted young men and

women take their final steps toward fulfilling an individual promise. Last spring, at the eighth grade promotion ceremony, I quoted

Dr. Seuss to the Class of 2014, and it is fitting to address the Class of 2011 with those very same words:

Congratulations! Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head,

You have feet in your shoes,

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

Oh, the places you’ll go.

You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fl iers who soar to high heights.

Oh, the places you’ll go.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)


The College Process

by Christopher Lombardi ’10

At the end of my junior year, I started to put a list together. It was a list of

everything that I could possibly want in a college: size, location, academics

(you name it, it was on it). From that list, I chose several colleges that I believed

would be the best options for me. After visiting those colleges, I narrowed the

list further to 12 fi nal colleges. There is a lot to be said for actually visiting

Christopher Lombardi, a Ranney

Lifer, graduated from Ranney

School in 2010 after 15 years

of hard labor. He is a student in

the Honors Program at the The

George Washington University

in Washington, DC.

colleges before you apply to them. There were many colleges, simply based off

of the view books that I thought, would be perfect for me, but when I went to

visit those colleges, however, I could never imagine actually having to spend

four days there, let alone four years.

Then the application process began, which

for all intents and purposes is the essay

process. Over the summer, I wrote two

essays, an activity essay and a main essay,

both of which are required for the Common

Application and most other colleges. When

I gave the main essay to my college guidance

counselor, he told me that the topic was

not the best and that I should re-write the

essay. This was not what I hoped I would

hear! However, he was right and along

with all of my other schoolwork, I wrote

another essay from scratch. An essay is

one of the few ways that a college will get

to hear from you and great care should be

taken when writing one, as it could make

all the difference.

After I wrote my essays, revised them, and

submitted them, the last thing that I could

do was hope for an interview. I interviewed

with seven of the 12 colleges that

I applied to. A tip on interviews: always

arrive early. While I was never late to any

of my interviews, there were some cases

when it was difficult to find the person I

was to interview with because we were in

public places. There are not any “tricks”

when it comes to interviews. The only

advice that I can give is just to be yourself.

This is one of the few chances that you will

have to show why you are the right fit for

that college and communicate directly to

them. Try not to worry too much.

The decision is now out of your hands.

That is not to say that you can just tune

out. Rather, you must maintain your grades

and extra-curricular participation. I was

particularly anxious about my college

decisions, and it did preoccupy my thoughts

on most days. I suggest not letting this

happen to you. Relax. There is nothing

more you can do, so it is ridiculous for you

to let it take over your life.

The decision will eventually come and

there are only three results that you can

receive: accept, deny, or waitlist. Remember

that no matter which one of these results

you receive, it is for the best. I was rejected

(or waitlisted and rejected) from eight of

the 12 schools that I applied to. I also love

the college that I am currently attending

and could not picture myself anywhere

else. So the question then becomes how

does one select a college from those they

are accepted to? I revisited all of the

colleges that I was accepted to so I would

have as close to a complete view of each

college as I could. I started my college

process with a list and I ended it with one

as well. This list had all of the factors that

could possibly influence my experience at

the college, and the names of the colleges

on the other. Much like a competition, I sat

down and assigned each college a certain

number of points from one to three for

each factor. I decided to attend the college

with the greatest number of points at the

end. I know that I made the right

decision, and I would have never been

able to make it if not for the wonderful

guidance I received from my counselor, my

teachers, and my family. Good luck!

Student Reflections on the


Below are some insights from current members of the Ranney School Class of 2011 as they share some of their

personal viewpoints and advice on the college process.

Jane Bamberger

Cornell University

During the college process, I learned that

individuality means a lot more than grades.

By looking for programs and schools that

I liked, I did not need to try to fit into a

“cookie cutter” mold of what a college

wanted. I found things that suited me instead

of trying to suit myself for college acceptance.

I would advise that underclassmen work on

their personal statement so that it reflects

them accurately. That is their only chance

to really talk about themselves in a manner

that they can control. Also, I would advise

that they talk about their true interests

in the essay instead of talking about mere

intellectual interests. My essay on Bob

Dylan reflected my personality and shared

a breadth of knowledge about my interests.

Julia Bontempo

University of Notre Dame

I learned that I was surprisingly good at

churning out short essays and completed

more than 25 essays of around 1,000

characters! In these essays, I had to

not only answer the questions, but also

incorporate my own personality into

the prose. It was hard work at fi rst, and

I had to take time and think about how to

answer provocative questions like “What

idea challenges you most?” and “What Final

Jeopardy character would ensure your

victory?” But I was really proud of myself

when I finished, and I emerged from the

college process a better writer.

Salomon Cojab

New York University

Note to all underclassmen: keep true to

your deadlines, start your essays during the

summer and send them to your teachers

or counselors to revise.

Zachary Elkwood

Emory University

Figuring out which schools I did not want

to attend was as important as finding the

right one. Above all, start preparing your

applications early!

Charlotte Fleming

Williams College

The college process has taught me that I

have the ability to make up my mind when

faced with a difficult decision: choosing the

right colleges to apply to. One piece of

advice I can give to underclassmen is don’t

stress out and don’t procrastinate! We

all know from experience that neither of

these actions leads to happiness.

Yousef Hozayen

Cornell University

I learned that I was highly flexible, in

terms of demographics. I was open to

different regions and sizes. After going

through the college process, I just want

to say the following: don’t worry, don’t

worry, don’t worry!

Alice Lubic

Bard College

After drafting pages upon pages of “Who

I am,” and digging deeper and deeper

into what I thought about myself and my

experiences, I learned that I’m actually

pretty interesting. I’ve been to a lot of cool

places, listen to cool music, know cool

people, and like amazing films. I’m pretty

cool, if I do say so myself. Taking the time

to think about myself in a positive light gave

me some inner confidence that I had been

lacking due to years of teenage angst. The

applications I wrote kind of reminded me

that I have potential, beyond whatever

I realized through my academics.

The college process is intimidating. I put

it off because every time I opened the

template for my activities sheet, or tried

to research colleges “I might like,” I realized

that I should have done more! I should

have already compiled a list of schools on

my Naviance, I should have visited them

and formed an opinion, I should have joined

those clubs or finished those projects

before they were due so that my grades

would better reflect my intellect. So I just

skipped it; put it off until the very last

second. Then, I realized, that despite being

smart with mediocre grades, I could show

my true self through my essays. I worked

on my application supplements for weeks;

a little each night. I realized that the grades

were one part of a bigger picture; and that

if the colleges didn’t want me after I opened

up to them in my essays, I didn’t want them

either! Basically, what I’m saying is that I

became more confident. I realized that

even though my list of accomplishments

isn’t prolifi c, I’m still as awesome as any

student applying with straight A’s and good

essays. Ultimately, I got in to my first choice

school, a school for which I did not believe

would accept me immediately due to my

GPA. So, kids, don’t neglect your supplemental

essays. And, yeah, it does help

to at least have an idea of where you

want to apply before you meet with your

advisor in September. Conversely, if you’re

completely stumped, don’t be afraid to

stay in close contact with your advisor. I

emailed Mr. Materasso every night around

10:00 p.m. with random, frantic questions

about college.

Mariel Pearl

Washington & Lee University

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The

more applications you send off, the more

options you will have, and although it’s hard

to wait for results, the dates come sooner

than you could imagine! When you are not

stressing out about hearing from colleges, you

will never believe how fast the year goes by.

Be sure to savor senior year because it

comes and goes so quickly. Do not be

afraid to be picky when selecting which

colleges to apply to. If you cannot see

yourself at a school, there is no need to

waste precious time completing essays

and applications. Apply early if you can!

Early action is a savior when you are

waiting to hear from colleges.

Jane Bamberger

Julia Bontempo

Salomon Cojab

Zachary Elkwood

Charlotte Fleming

Yousef Hozayen

Alice Lubic

Mariel Pearl

Alec Pflaster

Bucknell University

During the college application process,

I learned that I didn’t really know as much

as I thought I knew about the process!

At first I thought I wanted to go to a city

school, and now I am going in the complete

opposite direction. When you are touring

colleges, go with an open mind. If you make

up your mind before visiting, the trip will

be a waste. Your mind will cause you to

ignore what you’re seeing, since you already

do or don’t like the school. Also, save multiple

copies of your essays. I had the miserable

experience of losing fi ve essays/short

answers. Fortunately, my early decision

application came in a week after, and if

I had not been accepted, rewriting essays

would have been painful. My last piece of

advice is that if you’re planning on applying

early decision, make sure you love the

school. If you’re not sure, do not apply

early decision because you won’t want to

regret your decision in the future.

McCall Torpey

Georgetown University

While evaluating different colleges, I discovered

that I gravitated toward schools that were

smaller in size, with intimate classroom

settings and close-knit communities. It was

very important to me that I find this type

of environment. I recommend visiting as

many schools as you can. Take time during

the summer, over weekends, or during

school breaks to actually see the schools

on your list and take notes. It will be so

helpful later on, once you start applying to

colleges, if you have already visited some of

the schools on your list. It also helps you to

determine exactly what you like and don’t

like about a school.

Hannah Skolnik

Johns Hopkins University

Applying to colleges showed me that I have

much to understand about myself that

I never even considered. Every human being’s

personality is a complex living organism.

Certain traits feed off of or are quelled by

others. As such, I learned to strike a balance.

My outgoing qualities are checked by my

intellectual curiosity, which feeds off of

my love for reading. I learned to consider

my personality and what makes me happy

when making hard decisions. I want underclassmen

to know that the college process

is not simply about grades and SAT scores.

The process of showing other people who

you are, shows you about yourself. It is an

exciting time of self-discovery that should

be cherished and appreciated.

Alexis Wyckoff

University of Michigan

Applying to college showed me my strengths

as a writer, and I also learned where I need

to improve as a writer, which is even more

valuable. Admittedly, I procrastinate way

too much! Don’t wait until October of

senior year to get organized. Start your

essays early and narrow down your lists.

Be sure to visit schools over the summer

and during any long weekend. Be more

confident when applying to colleges, and

it is okay to apply to high reaches. Go for

it! Most of all, do not hesitate to apply

because you’re afraid of being rejected.

Alec Pflaster

McCall Torpey

Hannah Skolnik

Alexis Wyckoff


College Athletics for

the Classes of 2007-2011

Athletics are a major part of the Ranney experience

and a significant factor in the college search process.

In recent years, upon graduation, Ranney students

were recruited to play at the following schools:

Boys’ Lacrosse: Hofstra University (Division I), Marist College

(Division I)

Boys’ Fencing: University of Pennsylvania (Division I)

Boys’ Baseball: Adelphi University (Division II)

Boys’ Soccer: United States Naval Academy

Boys’ Swimming: Franklin & Marshall College (Division III),

Vassar College (Division III), Loyola University Maryland

(Division I)

Boys’ Track: Rollins College (Division III)

Girls’ Lacrosse: Muhlenberg College (Division III)

Girls’ Track: University of Delaware (Division I)

Girls’ Field Hockey: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(Division III)

Girls’ Crew: Lehigh University (Division I), Duke University

(Division I), and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

(Division I), University of St. Andrews – Scotland

Girls’ Softball: Georgetown University (Division I)

Girls’ Soccer: Susquehanna University (Division III)

Girls’ Swimming: Lafayette College (Division I)


National Merit

Scholarship Program

Class Semi-finalist Commended

2011 1 5

2010 1 4

2009 1 2

2008 0 3

2007 3 3

80% of Ranney graduates earn

acceptance at their




Students in the Class of 2011 earned acceptance to the following schools:

Art Schools: Ringling College of Art and Design, Pratt Institute

Business Schools: The George Washington University,

New York University-Stern, Northeastern University,

Bentley University, Rutgers University Business School,

Villanova University, Bryant University (2)

Ivy League: Cornell University (4)

Engineering: Drexel University (2), Polytechnic Institute

of New York University, Bucknell University (2), Lehigh

University, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stevens Institute

of Technology, Tufts University

5-Year accelerated BA/MA Engineering: Stevens Institute

of Technology

Nursing: Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University,

Salve Regina University

Journalism: Northwestern University

Overseas Universities: University of Edinburgh,

University of St. Andrews

Music Industry: Drexel University

Honors Programs: Drexel University (2), The George

Washington University (3)

AP Scholar Awards

Scholar Scholar National

Class Scholar w/honor w/distinction Scholar

2011 8 4 7 0

2010 16 3 14 4

2009 7 2 10 4

2008 11 4 15 2

2007 4 3 14 8

Scholarships: 56 scholarships

were awarded totaling


over four years





Bard College

Boston University

Bucknell University

Cornell University (4)

Drexel University (2)

Emory University

Fairfield University

Franklin & Marshall College (3)

Georgetown University (2)

Hamilton College (2)

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Hofstra University

Johns Hopkins University (2)

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Loyola University – Maryland (2)

Moravian College

Muhlenberg College (2)

New York University (5)

Northwestern University

Pace University, New York City

Polytechnic Institute of

New York University

Saint Joseph’s University

Santa Clara University

Stevens Institute of Technology

The George Washington University (4)

University of Chicago

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Michigan (2)

University of Notre Dame (2)

University of Rhode Island

Villanova University

Washington and Lee University

Union College

Williams College

Students from the Class of 2011 were offered admission to the

following colleges or universities:

American University (4)

Fordham University (6)

Pitzer College

University of Edinburgh

Bard College (2)

Barnard College (2)

Bentley University

Binghamton University

Boston College

Boston University (4)

Bryant University (2)

Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University (4)

University of California at Berkeley

University of California at Los Angeles

University of California at San Diego

Catholic University

College of Holy Cross

Connecticut College (2)

Cornell University (4)

Dickinson College (5)

Drew University (4)

Drexel University (6)

Elizabethtown College

Elon University (2)

Emory University (3)

Eugene Lang College-

The New School (2)

Fairfield University (4)

Franklin & Marshall College (5)

George Mason University

The George Washington

University (6)

Georgetown University (2)

Gettysburg College (2)

Hamilton College (2)

Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Hofstra University (2)

James Madison University

Johns Hopkins University (4)

Lafayette College (4)

Lehigh University (3)

Loyola University Maryland (6)

Manhattan College

Marist College (2)

Marymount Manhattan College

Monmouth University (2)

Moravian College

Muhlenberg College (2)

New York University (10)

Northeastern University (6)

Northwestern University

Pace University (2)

Penn State University (4)

Polytechnic Institute of

New York University

Pratt Institute

Providence College (3)

Quinnipiac University (6)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rider University (2)

Ringling College of Art and Design

Rollins College

Rutgers University (11)

Sacred Heart University

Saint Joseph’s University (5)

Salve Regina University

Santa Clara University

Seton Hall University (2)

Southern Methodist University

Stevens Institute of Technology (2)

State University of New York-

New Paltz

Temple University

Trinity College

Tufts University (2)

University of Chicago

University of Connecticut (3)

University of Delaware (4)

University of Maryland –

College Park (2)

University of Massachusetts-

Amherst (2)

University of Miami (4)

University of Michigan (3)

University of Notre Dame (2)

University of Rhode Island (5)

University of Richmond

University of the Sciences

University of San Francisco

The University of Scranton

University of St. Andrews-Scotland

University of Tampa

University of Vermont (3)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Union College (3)

Ursinus College (2)

Villanova University (3)

Wagner College (3)

Wake Forest University (2)

Washington and Lee University

Washington College (2)

Wellesley College

Williams College


by Jinelle Park ’11

Students often say that as the college process begins, the stress truly sets in. I suppose this held true for most of my friends

as we all rushed to complete our applications prior to early decision deadlines. Thinking back, however, my experience

wasn’t all that bad. I wasn’t worrying about getting into an Ivy League School or living up to the expectations of others.

I just wanted to fi nd the “right fi t” – a college for me.

We all know that the criteria by which a student chooses

his or her school varies. Our college counselors ask us about

location, size, sports and of course academic programs and

selectivity. However, students also factor a school’s colors and

even its mascot into the equation. So after each of my campus

visits, a list of pros and cons followed. While I considered all of

the categories mentioned earlier, the determining factor for me

was the “fit” of the sweatshirt.

During each college visit, my journey would conclude with a trip

to the bookstore where I would check out all the apparel. In most

instances I would buy a sweatshirt, especially at a school I was

really interested in or if I just liked how the colors looked on me. I

remember my first college sweatshirt, given to me by a friend who

attends Lafayette College. For the longest time, Lafayette was my

first choice, but something wasn’t entirely right. I was never crazy

about that first sweatshirt, and when I went for a visit I made sure

to get another one. This one also fit uncomfortably and I began to

wonder if the school would “fit” me uncomfortably as well.

The summer before senior year, I took a college trip with my mom

to upstate New York. We were on the college circuit and decided

to visit a school I was never really interested in visiting, but that

my college counselor thought might be a good fit. There it was

again… “a good fit.” The second we stepped onto Hobart and

William Smith’s gorgeous campus I was speechless. It gave me a

sense of reassurance that I could find a home away from home.

I began to feel at ease, but the real test had to be passed. As we

were leaving the campus we stopped at the bookstore. It was of

good quality, with a lot to choose from, but I grabbed the first

sweatshirt I came across. I put it on and turned to my mom with a

smile. It fit me perfectly. And then I knew. I applied to Hobart and

William Smith Colleges’ early decision and was accepted.

The second we stepped onto Hobart and

William Smith’s gorgeous campus I was

speechless. It gave me a sense of reassurance

that I could fi nd a home away from home.

So maybe choosing a college by the fit of the sweatshirt is not the

most accurate way of determining how comfortable one will feel

at a school, but it worked for me. We’ll see within the next four

years if my sweatshirt theory holds up and if my experience fits

as well as it does.



by Joseph M. Tweed

In our last issue of the Beacon, we spoke at length about viewing the college process as a four-year plan; one that begins

at Ranney as soon as students join the Upper School. While formal counseling starts junior year, college counselors have

created a mission-based counseling and advocacy program that allows Ranney to fulfi ll a mission-promise: that every child

will be known and valued. Essential to this are the relationships that are fostered between a student’s academic advisor, the

student and the College Guidance Offi ce.

Each student in the Upper School is assigned an academic advisor,

a point person who can assist them in navigating their way through

course selection, academic success and struggles, summer study,

and general student needs. Students new to the Upper School are

given an advisor through a thoughtful process that aims at making

sure the advisor has regular contact with their advisee beyond the

homeroom period. After a student’s first year, he or she is allowed

to choose an advisor, and provided there is one, can move about

from year to year. Each faculty member in the Upper School has

between 6-10 advisees, allowing them to become the experts on

each of these students.

Why is this important? In a school such as Ranney, where it is

our mission to push and support students, one can only do this

effectively if he or she knows the personality and needs of each

one. Advisors are trained throughout the year and work closely

with the college guidance office to ensure that advising is accurate

and goal-centered. This student-centered approach builds a

relationship between faculty and student body that then makes

the parent-student conference a meaningful experience.

Using the three-legged stool as a metaphor for our mission-based

philosophy, it is easy to understand why we value each leg so

intently. Picture for a moment that the top of the stool is the

student and all that they bring to the Upper School. Solid and

strong, the top of the stool is the bulk of the structure. Alone,

it can rest comfortably as a flat board, but is unable to complete

its intended job. Three sturdy legs provide the stability needed to

achieve success. It is without question that Ranney students are

prepared to tackle the rigors of college academics and new-found

freedom. However, what we know to be true, is that every student

benefits from a support structure that allows them to take risks,

stretch for success, and grow during their Upper School years.

While the first leg is the relationship between the student and

advisor, the second leg of our stool metaphor, the student-led

conference, begins freshman year and teaches our students to

become the drivers of their learning. By taking ownership over

their academics and co-curricular lives, assessing their strengths

and areas for improvement, learning to set meaningful and

attainable goals, and becoming self-advocates, they develop

essential skills needed as they begin the college search process

their junior year.

Finally, the third leg is the relationship that our college counselors

form with each student throughout their high school career. While

counselors are not assigned until junior year, an open door policy

welcomes students and parents to ask questions, seek advice, and

begin to build a relationship with a counselor. As teachers, coaches,

and administrators, the guidance staff has the opportunity to see

students in a variety of lights, helping them to know and

value students and make the college experience personalized

and individual.

This triple threat approach ensures that each child is provided

with the guidance and stability that is often needed to achieve

his/her highest potential. Fulfilling our mission-promise through

the college selection process, we hope to reduce anxiety, build

relationships that last indefinitely, and help each student to find the

college or university that is “the perfect fit.”

Katie Weinstein at New York University

by Eileen Weinstein


Admit it. You are at Ranney. You have a child in the Upper School now and are starting to hyperventilate about the

‘C’ word – college. Big vs. little? City vs. country? Brick vs. limestone? How do you help your son or daughter pick a set of

schools at which they would be happy? I can’t tell you what to do but I can share some experiences that some other

Ranney parents and I have had, and offer some guiding principles to the college hunt. For us, the most important part of

the process was college visits. I know many people who see it as an opportunity to spend concentrated time with their

child and engage in some serious conversations that become more and more rare as they get ready to leave the nest.

Start early (but not too early) – My children, Katie ’09 and Danny ’10,

tell people that we were so obsessed with college that they were

taken to college visits in utero. A bit of an exaggeration but I

will admit that when they were in early high school, if we were

in some place that had a college campus, we would take a drive

through – to start them thinking (or so we imagined). Now I

know – don’t waste your time. Anything their parents said was

like the adult voices in a “Peanuts” cartoon – blah, blah, blah.

College visits did not become relevant to them until their friends

starting talking about them. That seemed to happen around the

very beginning of junior year. My advice is, at that point – strike

while the iron is hot. Schedule a few visits for the fall of junior

year and then back off until the following spring. It’s like getting a

racehorse ready for the Derby – you can’t over-train.

Be sure to visit a wide variety of schools. I will tell you that the

major (really only) thing that my kids were evaluating on visits

were other kids. (The question they were asking themselves was

“Do I think I could be friends with these kids?”), however, there

were also other things that they looked at:

Size – This was more important to Danny than Katie. With Danny,

we started by looking at schools with around 2,500 students.

I fi gured that going from a class of 60 to 600 was a big enough

jump – wrong. It wasn’t until we got above 10,000 students that

it felt to him like the idea he had in his head of “college.”

Atmosphere – For Katie, it was all about the grit of an urban

setting. The more people on the street with blue, spiky hair, the

better. Danny, on the other hand, wanted a full-on college campus.

Green central quad, frat houses (preferably with the remnants of a

beer pong party from the night before still visible) and many, many

people between the ages of 18 and 23 hanging around. They were

both impressed by architecture – just not the same architecture

that my husband and I liked. They both preferred places that had

many modern buildings and had no interest in the beautiful Gothic

ivy covered halls. (Katie’s comment – “I’m not going to Hogwarts!”)

Some unknown quality – Often, kids will make a snap judgment

as soon as they enter a campus. I have a friend who took

her son to see a number of schools in California. She drove from

Los Angeles to San Diego to look at a school; a typically one-anda-half

hour drive that took four hours in Southern California traffic.

She pulled onto the campus only to have her son say: “Don’t

even park, I don’t like it.” She, of course, forced him to go on the

scheduled tour, but really she should have just gone and had a nice

lunch because he wasn’t going to change his mind.

We wanted to make sure that for both

kids, they could change their minds

about a major without changing schools.

Research special programs – Katie originally wanted to major

in Music Business. We got a book on music business that listed

schools with that specific major and visited a number of them that

were extremely varied in size and atmosphere. We also needed

to make sure that the match was not just the program, but the

other intangibles and diversity. We wanted to make sure that for

both kids, they could change their minds about a major without

changing schools.

Make the visits fun if possible – On a couple of trips, we

took one of the kids’ friends. They are much more amenable to

going to visit schools. I took Katie to Boston with one of her

friends, and we visited schools that her friend was interested in

as well. I made each of them take a notebook and write down

their impressions of each school independently that night and

then we compared notes. If I had tried to get either one of my

kids to do that alone there would have been a lot of eye-rolling,

but together they enjoyed it. My husband and I took Danny and

a friend to Miami and New Orleans to visit schools. They boys

rated Miami based on a set of “Paradise Points” that they made

up (Plus 10 points for the sun deck and pool outside the student

center, minus one point because a cloud was in the sky – you get

the picture). In New Orleans, the boys thought that any school

that could arrange for Mardi Gras had to be pretty cool.

In the end, it’s about them and not you – We all know that we’d

love to put that Harvard sticker on the back windshield. But it’s

really about the right fit and the Ranney counselors will tell you

that over and over. It does take a while before the “visions of ivy”

that have danced in your head since they were in “Beginners,”

meets the reality of SAT scores and AP classes, and most importantly,

where your child will feel at home. The overriding principle that

we used to counsel our kids was that they needed to feel that

they would fit in and feel at home.

In the end, it’s about them and not you –

We all know that we’d love to put that

Harvard sticker on the back windshield.

But it’s really about the right fi t.

I wish you luck and some really good times in visiting schools and

helping your child with the first adult decision they will make.

P.S. – Katie is a sophomore at New York University and is unbelievably

happy. She is a Media, Culture and Communications major in

the Steinhardt School and is pursuing a minor in Entertainment

Business. She is in Bueños Aires this semester and tells me that

she is having the best experiences of her life. Danny is a freshman

at the University of Michigan (yes, he got BIG – the full on campus

and the frat houses). He is undeclared, but may actually also end

up as a Communications major. Currently, he has joined Sigma Chi

and will live in the fraternity house next year. Danny survived the

winter and is looking forward to temperatures above zero – so

much for Paradise Points! BTW – his friend ended up in New

Orleans and loves it – go figure.

Danny Weinstein at the University of Michigan


by Adam Materasso and Myronee Simpson

First stop: Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut

Described as a “bigger version of Ranney School with Harry

Potter-esque architecture” by one participant, this highly selective

liberal arts college is nestled on a hill, minutes away from the

state capital. Known for its core curriculum and strong academic

programs in the humanities, natural sciences, engineering and arts,

this school is also a proud member of the New England Small

College Athletic Conference. They are most proud of their squash

team, for it has captured 12 consecutive national championships.

Community service activities are in abundance, and everyone is

involved with student life.

Option 1: Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester,


Ms. Simpson, along with seven students, headed to the center of

Worcester for an afternoon visit to this modern, 80-acre campus.

This institution is known for its strong programs in engineering

(aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, computer, environmental,

fire protection, industrial, mechanical, robotics, interactive

media and game development) as well as comprehensive programs

in the arts, sciences and business. Following the school’s motto,

“Theory and Practice,” each student participates in the WPI Plan-

Project Program before graduation. In this team-based project,

students examine the impact of science and technology on society.

Option 2: College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Mr. Materasso, Mr. Tweed and Mrs. Fernandez experienced St.

Patrick’s Day at the beautiful, hilltop campus of the College of the

Holy Cross where everyone was decked out in kelly green. This

visit was especially exciting to those students of mathematics

teacher Christine Repoli, who graduated from there in 2008.

What’s unique about this Catholic liberal arts college, unlike its

peer Jesuit institutions, is that it focuses solely on its 2,900 undergraduates.

As a member of the Patriot League, this school boasts

Division I level programs in 27 varsity sports. Jim Richardson, an

admissions representative that visits Ranney School, greeted our

group and he along with our tour guide explained how Holy Cross

pays very close attention to each applicant’s level of demonstrated

interest. Visiting campus, participating in a campus interview, chatting

with current students online, and meeting with Jim when he

visits Ranney School in the fall are all ways to demonstrate interest

in this test-optional institution.

Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts

This trip was especially nostalgic for Mr. Tweed as he was born

and raised in the greater Boston area and his twin brother, James,

serves as the Dean of Undergraduate Admission at Lasell College.

While this visit was rather brief, our students had the opportunity

to preview the academic and extracurricular programs offered

at this well-kept suburban campus that emphasizes a “connected

learning approach.” Students are involved in experiences such as

research, internships, and study abroad programs directly related

to their chosen career.

Option 1: Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Mrs. Fernandez and 13 students hopped on the “T” (Boston’s

public transportation system) and took a green-line train to the

Boston College stop in Chestnut Hill. This medium-sized research

university with more than 9,000 undergraduates has four

undergraduate divisions: College of Arts and Sciences, Carroll School

of Management, School of Education, and the School of Nursing.

Students loved the interactive information session and campus tour

led by an admissions officer. This school, like College of the Holy

Cross, is proud to be affiliated with the Jesuits who are visible on

this 118-acre campus. This school has 31 Division I teams and is a

proud member of the Atlantic Coast Athletic Conference. Their

ice hockey team recently won the 2011 conference championship.

Go Eagles! Ranney School junior, Sam Springsteen, visited his

brother Evan ’08 at Boston College.

Option 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston,


Located on the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, MIT is

one of the top math and science schools in the country, but our

students were surprised to learn about all of the other academic

offerings from liberal arts to management. Students met with our

own Mary Breton ’10, who plays on the varsity field hockey team

and is a member of Sigma Kappa. “The work is hard, but I feel

really prepared,” said Mary. The students enjoyed seeing the labs

and hearing about all of the “hacks” that take place on campus.

With a beautiful quad hidden behind the main academic building,

it is easy to forget MIT is an urban campus. This highly selective

school offers 33 varsity sports, countless clubs, and more than 30

academic departments.

Option 3: Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts

Mr. Materasso and 17 students walked a few blocks north of our

hotel in Copley Square to Northeastern University’s city campus.

While the campus is described as urban, it is tucked away in its

own neighborhood so there is a strong presence of Northeastern

students and faculty. Known for its co-op programs, students

participate in two co-op experiences where they work full-time,

do not take classes and still graduate in four years. This allows

students to earn real work experience prior to graduation.

Northeastern University has become a popular choice for many

high school seniors. This year, they received 42,000 applications

for an incoming class of 2,800 students.

Option 1: Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Ms. Simpson and 18 students took a green-line “T” to the Boston

University stop. Despite the fact that the students were on spring

break and classes were not in session, students participated in an

information session led by an admissions counselor. This large,

private university has an undergraduate population of 18,500 and

offers numerous programs within their 10 undergraduate schools.

BU’s basketball team participated in “March Madness” as they

were invited to play in this year’s NCAA basketball tournament.

Option 2: Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Mr. Tweed and 13 students traveled by Coach bus to a nearby

Boston suburb, Medford, to visit Tufts. They met up with Benjamin

Briggs from the Class of 2010 who shared good news with us as

he recently made Tufts’ Division III men’s squash team. What’s truly

unique about Tufts is that while it is a medium-sized research

institution, it offers many of the same qualities as a liberal arts

college. Programs in engineering, international relations, natural

sciences, and the humanities are very

strong there. Take your time on their

application supplement for they are

known for their quirky essay

topics like, “For some it’s politics or sports or reading. For others

it may be researching solar power fuel cells or arranging hip-hop

mash-ups. What makes you tick?”

Option 3: Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Mr. Materasso and one student traveled to the theatre district of

Boston and visited Emerson College’s “vertical” campus. Known

for its specialized programs in communications and the arts, this

school lives by the motto, “Bringing innovation to communication

and the arts.” Midway through the tour, Ranney School alumna,

Nicole Lenge, from the Class of 2008 met up with us. She is currently

studying Communications Disorders and hopes to one day become

a speech pathologist. Everything about Emerson’s campus was

impressive and well-kept. They are home to multiple theaters

and two brand new residence halls. Their focus is rather preprofessional

so that graduates are gainfully employed after

graduation. Some noteworthy Emerson alumni include Jay Leno,

Dennis Leary and Bobbi Brown.

Option 1: Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Named after the first Jewish Supreme Court justice, Louis

Brandeis, this 235-acre campus is located in the suburb of

Waltham. This private research university, with a liberal arts

focus, is just 12 years older than Ranney School. Paul Gale from

the Class of 2008 served as one of our tour guides. He is currently

majoring in Film, Television, and Interactive Media and just

returned from a semester away at the Second City Improv-based

Sketch Comedy in Chicago. People often think that Brandeis is a

religiously affiliated institution. This, however, is not the case. For a

community of 3,500 undergraduates, over 250 clubs and activities

are offered. At Brandeis, you will encounter a community of philanthropists

who are involved in 19 different community services


Option 2: Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Known as one of the nation’s top business specialty schools that

became a university in 2008, Bentley opened its doors to Ranney

School students despite the fact that they were on spring break.

Students were impressed with Bentley’s modern facilities, including

their state-of-the-art trading room. The Center for Career Services

does an incredible job helping students fi nd internships and

employment after college. Bentley also offers an optional Liberal

Studies major that allows you to concentrate in a non-business

field. School spirit is found on this beautiful campus that offers

23 Division II sports.

The locals would describe this trip as “wicked” awesome.

Overall, our students enjoyed the opportunity to experience

Boston while visiting many different kinds of colleges and

universities. This college trip helped many of our juniors

to clarify their college criteria and alter their searches


From Lawrence S. Sykoff Ed.D.,

E 2 = Experiential Learning and

Ethical Leadership

21st century companies are yearning to find college graduates

prepared to tackle the rigors of a new and ever demanding world.

The state of the United States economy has flooded the marketplace

with well-degreed and highly qualified job applicants. Given this, why

then are companies still struggling to find that “perfect” fit? Current

research suggests that companies, as well as, graduate schools are

looking for two key components from recent college graduates:

relevant experience and an ethical foundation. It is no wonder that

college admission offices are looking equally hard for students who

have begun to work through ethical dilemmas and ascertain first-hand

experience into careers of interest.

As students venture beyond the security of Ranney School for new and uncharted opportunities in college, we are confident that they

are prepared for these new expectations. This year students will have the opportunity to select from one of 30 internship opportunities

in the fields of medicine, law, politics, education, communications, media, finance, and engineering. These experiential learning experiences

allow Ranney students to begin to acquiesce skills and competencies that will help them choose a course of study and perhaps a career

fi eld one day. Our students welcome the chance to apply classroom-based knowledge to the “real world” and these internships give

them ample opportunity.

In addition, each of our students are being exposed to a course of study in “everyday ethics”, meaning they are being tasked with learning

how ethics impacts their life on a daily basis. Through a seminar-based course, Ranney Juniors reviewed and debated the ethical decision

making that is required in law, business, medicine, athletics, the arts, and politics. Using an online discussion forum, these ethical questions

became topics of dinner-time discussion, as parents, teachers and the students could continue the debate beyond the traditional classroom

setting. Not only do Ranney students graduate having completed the three r’s, but they are well-versed to tackle the challenges of the

21st century.


I’m Going to College—

Not You!: Surviving

the College Search

with Your Child

College Admissions

for the 21st Century

Robert J. Sternberg

St. Martin’s Press

(New York, NY) 2010

Ranney School

235 Hope Road

Tinton Falls, NJ 07724


Nonprofit Org.

U.S. Postage


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Lakewood, NJ



E S T A B L I S H E D 1960

Ranney School

235 Hope Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Phone: 732-542-4777 • Fax: 732-542-8243


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