Archive for admissions

Cultivating Courage: Part 3

In this week’s Cultivating Courage post we answer the question: How will my child get accepted into college after attending Alpine Valley School?

Future-looking parents often come to us with this question, expressing concern that their child will not be able to get into the college of their choice after attending a school like ours. In particular, they often express concern over the lack of GPAs, extracurricular activities, and standard-looking transcripts.

While it’s true that Alpine Valley School doesn’t place the same emphasis on grades as other institutions, our graduates do create their own unique transcripts. As personalized as an AVS education itself, this transcript often includes details regarding school positions the student held while enrolled (such as School Meeting Chair), as well as any involvement in school Corporations and Committees (such as Public Relations & Marketing). Authentic leadership positions such as these can really help a Sudbury college applicant stand out from the crowd.

Dr. Peter Gray (author of Free to Learn) has conducted a research study on grown unschoolers, much of which applies to students at Alpine Valley and other Sudbury schools. One part of his study, focusing on college admissions, can be found here: Survey of Grown Unschoolers: Going on to College. Of particular interest is his observation that “unlike so many others in the general population, most unschoolers do not consider college admission, or college graduation, or high grades in college, to be in any general sense a measure of life success.”

Along these same lines Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, wrote an article called Why Entrepreneurs Sometimes Struggle With Formal Education. Branson makes the point that many individuals who see things differently and are self-directed often struggle in a more traditional educational environment where mistakes (in other words, critically important learning tools) are not generally welcome. On the positive side, the passion and intensity of this kind of learner drive them to overcome obstacles standing between them and their dreams, such as getting into college.

Many individuals do choose to pursue a college education after graduating from Alpine Valley School, and many of them find the freedom they experience in their last few years at school gives them a leg up. AVS students can spend 100% of their time at school focused on studying for the SATs, working on challenging areas of study (such as calculus or English), and preparing all the necessary materials they will need to get accepted into the college of their choice. We’ve found that this kind of focused attention typically gives them a significant advantage over the traditional high school graduate, who does not have that kind of time to dedicate exclusively to college applications.

What are your thoughts? Did we spark any additional questions for you around college admissions? Give us a call at 303-271-0525 or email info@alpinevalleyschool.com to discuss this subject further.

Couldn’t attend the Get to Know AVS event last weekend? Check out the full video of the panel Q&A here:

Cultivating Courage is an ongoing series of posts (text, video, etc.) intended to help Alpine Valley School families feel confident in their choices. Supporting our students means becoming more informed and helping each other along this road less traveled. These posts will address common questions and provide a variety of useful resources.

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Making the Leap III: Admissions FAQ

For our last Making the Leap post, here are the answers to some commonly-asked admissions questions.  We hope you’ve found these posts helpful, and we look forward to meeting you if you choose to explore the school for 2012-2013.

When do I apply?

Enrollment is now closed for the 2011-2012 school year.  If you are considering Rising Tide School for 2012-2013, you are encouraged to begin the admissions process well before the end of the 2011-2012 school year.  Our unique admissions process involves a full visiting week, so you are encouraged to plan ahead for the smoothest transition to a new environment.  New enrollments are accepted on a space-available basis beginning on April 16th.

Does it cost money to attend Rising Tide School?

Yes!  Rising Tide School is an independent school, funded largely by tuition.  We deeply value our position as an independent school, as our independence frees us from requirements and practices that run counter to our values.  By operating independently, we have are able to practice equality, democracy, and self-direction in a way that wouldn’t be possible within today’s public education paradigm.  We, the Rising Tide School students, staff, trustees and corporate members (many of whom are parents), retain control of the program and operation of our school.  We view education as the most important investment you could possibly make in your child’s present and future, and our tuition is intended to be affordable, to ensure that the school is available to families of all backgrounds.

Is financial aid available?

Yes.  Financial aid is available, and early application is highly encouraged.  For details, please visit our website.

Can I visit the school?

Yes, there are several ways to visit the school.

  • Make an appointment for an admissions visit, during which you can observe the school in session.  Please call or email to schedule.  Admissions visits are generally available M,Tu,W,F between 9am-2pm and Th from 12pm-2pm.
  • Attend an Open House.  Our next Open House will take place on Sunday, April 29, at 1:30pm.
  • Drop in at Office Hours.  Office Hours are an informal time to meet with the Admissions Clerk and to discuss the school and the student and family’s interests.  Office Hours are scheduled for April 12, 19, and 26th, from 3:45-5:00pm.  Just drop by!

Is your school only for self-motivated/gifted/talented kids?

No, the school can work well for all kinds of kids who want to experience freedom and responsibility.  Rising Tide School is a unique transformational learning environment in which many kids who have lost hope around education are able to thrive and recover their innate drive to learn.  Equally, it is a challenging and empowering environment for kids who already experience themselves as motivated and successful.  If you are wondering whether Rising Tide School might fit for your or your child, we encourage you to contact us and begin a conversation.  You can reach the Admissions Clerk, Abbe, at abbe (at) risingtideschool (dot) org, or at school at 360.753.0820.


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Making the Leap II: Is Rising Tide School right for you?

Welcome!  If you’re just joining us, this is the second in a short series of posts about the admissions process at Rising Tide School.

Today, we’ll consider what makes a student and their family likely to experience success and satisfaction at Rising Tide School.  I’ll offer some general thoughts on what makes Rising Tide School a fit for students and parents, and if these thoughts spark questions about your student’s specific hopes and needs, please feel free to contact me.

The short answer is that Rising Tide School is for anybody who wants to be here.  To be more precise, Rising Tide School is for any independent person, ages 5-18, who wishes to have responsibility for their own education and who wants to attend the school.  It’s for kids who want to know themselves, and to have the freedom and support they need to figure out life on their own terms.  And equally, it’s for parents who are ready to support their student in making their own choices and directing their own education.  The school requires a partnership between parent and student, based on the parent’s trust in their student’s ability to learn and succeed.  Without this core trust, it is very difficult for students to do well at the school.  So when we assess a student’s readiness to enter the school, we are looking for four things:

  • Is the student independent?
  • Are they ready to take responsiblilty for themselves and for their education?
  • Do they wish to attend the school?
  • Do they have the support and trust of their parents?

At the very core of Rising Tide School, there’s a belief about humans:  We believe that every young person has the ability, desire, and drive to learn.  The school is based on complete trust in the ability of each and every young person to successfully drive their own learning process.   It’s a trust that is borne from practical experience:  When we observe children in a free environment, it’s obvious that they are insatiably curious.  They are wired to learn.  They want nothing more than to learn to succeed in the world, and to master the skills they need to create that success.  Free children always move toward meaningful challenges.  That’s why anyone who can be independent can do well here–if they wish to, and if they are supported by their parents.  Everyone can learn.

Rising Tide School is a transformational space.  Students who enter the school with faith in their own ability to learn and succeed will continue to grow, learn, and become fully themselves, in wonderful ways that can’t be predicted.  But even if a student has been convinced by their prior life experience that they can’t learn, or are bad at learning, they may have a completely different experience of themselves at Rising Tide School.  Time and freedom are great healers, and self-connection can be repaired.  In other words, people are welcome here wherever they are in their learning journey.  The only requirements are the desire, willingness, and ability to take responsibility for oneself.

Have questions about your student and their unique needs?  I’d love to talk to you and help you explore how the school might fit for your family.  You can reach me at school at 360.753.0820, or at abbe (@) risingtideschool (dot) org.

posted by Abbe


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Making the Leap

I thought I’d do a short series of posts about making the leap to democratic education–otherwise known as the admissions process!  I’ve been the Admissions Clerk for most of our three years of operation, and I really enjoy working with the families and students who consider entering this new world of freedom and opportunity.  For many people, it is a leap that is exciting, yet a bit scary, as this new world is unfamiliar and very different from what most of us have experienced in our own education.  In this series, I’ll talk about how admissions works, who should apply, and answer some frequently asked admissions questions.  If you have a question to ask the Admissions Clerk, please email me at abbe (at) risingtideschool (dot) org, and I’ll address it here on the blog.  Also, please save the date for our next Open House, on April 29th at 1:30pm.  At the Open House, you can tour the school, ask your questions in person, and meet other prospective and current students and their families.

Today, I’ll speak to the question: How does admissions work at Rising Tide School?

First of all, congratulations!  If you’re considering admissions, you may have decided that you are ready for something different, and you want to see if Rising Tide School is the school for you.  Enrollment at Rising Tide School is open to any student, age 5-18, who is independent, ready to take responsibility for themselves and their education, and who wishes to attend the school.  The admissions process is a mutual interview process in which the student, their parent(s), and the school assess whether or not the school is a good fit for the individual student and their educational needs.  During admissions, students and parents have plenty of time to ask questions and come to a full understanding of the school’s philosophy and operations.  When students and their families decide to make the leap, they do so as informed participants in the school’s free, democratic environment.

The admissions process has 4 steps:

1.  Visit the School

  • We strongly recommend an initial visit to the school, either at an Open House, or during an Admissions Visit.  Admissions Visits are available by appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

2.  Application and Interview

  • Student and parent(s) complete an application.  The application is designed to help prospective families understand the school and assess their readiness and desire to participate within it.
  • After your application is received at the school, we will contact you to schedule an interview.  The interview typically lasts an hour, and is a time to discuss the student and family’s past educational experiences, your hopes and needs for a new educational environment, and to answer questions about Rising Tide School and Sudbury education.

3.  Visiting Week

  • After the application and interview are complete, students spend a full 5 days as visiting students at the school.  During the Visiting Week, students experience the school for themselves and decide whether they are interested in attending.
  • At the end of the week, the Admissions Committee makes an admissions decision.  If no concerns are noted during the Visiting Week, the student will be invited to enroll.

4.  Enrollment

  • Upon successful completion of the Visiting Week, students may enroll.  Enrollment is open on a space-available basis from September-March of each school year.  New family enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year begins in April.
If you are considering Rising Tide School for the upcoming school year, I look forward to meeting you and discussing the school with you.  And again, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

posted by Abbe


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