Why We Need The Fitzwilliam Experience

College admission is under fire. As the list price for a college education has reached staggering heights, public confidence in the college or university experience is at an all time low. Undoubtedly, the value proposition for the four year residential college experience has come into question. Is it worth it? There are massive issues around access, testing, preparation, socio economic status and ability to pay, race, gender and legacy status along with the complexities of an increasingly global population. Coalition vs Common, the rankings, AP and IB, the Supreme Court ruling, the huge cottage industry that now crowds – no chokes – the college admission space. High expectations and high aspirations are now common partners with the tremendous pressure and anxiety that surround the process from all sides. Second guessing who gets in, how does it happen and what are the decision rubrics in play are part of the nationwide obsession with college admission. It’s not an easy time to be in college admission or secondary school college counseling today.

We often think about how will it be possible for us to leave college admission in a better place than we found it. It’s for that reason, we’re compelled to relaunch the Fitzwilliam Experience. Originally held during the 1990s’ and early 2000’s the Fitzwilliam Experience was meant to encourage and support the next generation of leaders in secondary school college counseling and college admission. Strong leadership in any profession doesn’t happen by accident. Leaders are grown through an intentional process. It starts by taking those that work along side of us, and encouraging, supporting, equipping and developing them until they master what they do and can eventually take our place. It’s exciting to know that many of today’s emerging leaders in secondary school college counseling and college admission attended a Fitzwilliam Experience in the past.

In fact, the history of the Fitzwilliam Associates has actually been based on just that model of mentorship. Ken Nourse, Director of Admission at Worcester Polytech at the time hired a young Bill Elliott to join the admission staff. With Ken’s mentorship, encouragement and support, Bill eventually became the director of admission at Carnegie Mellon and hired a young Mike Steidel to join the admission staff. Under Bill’s leadership, Mike eventually became the dean of admission at Carnegie Mellon and hired Greg Edleman, a young bartender at the time, as an admission counselor. Eventually Greg grew to become the associate and and director of admission at Carnegie Mellon. All four of them are part of the Fitzwilliam Associates legacy…Ken and Bill as the founding partners who added Mike and eventually Greg as additional partners. It’s a legacy founded on the premise of leadership and mentorship.

Today, the need for strong leadership in the college admission and secondary school college counseling space has never been greater. We need to encourage those with a few years in these professions to realize that they can begin to lead right where they are today. The Fitzwilliam Experience will tackle understanding the challenges and rewards of our profession, the importance of networking with colleagues, learning how to lead from within and the critical nature of continued personal and professional growth and development. We hope you will take the time to nominate those with 3 to 5 years of experience that you’d like to see remain in the secondary school college counseling or college admission profession. We’ll let them know of your nomination and encouragement and hope they’ll decide to join us in June for the next Fitzwilliam Experience at the Woodbound Inn in Rindge, NH.

The Fitzwilliam Associates

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