Demonstrating Leadership Through Family

Debby Bartz, UNHS Academic Adviser

I recently read a New York Times opinion piece titled Rethinking College Admissions, which discussed a report that suggested college admission requirements need to be more than exam scores, grades and AP course completions. It asks—what is really important in our youth?

Throughout many years of teaching and counseling I have been honored to work with hard working, intelligent students who would have benefited from attending college but did not due to family responsibilities.

  • Some students worked part-time through high school and therefore could not participate in extra-curricular activities. The students were expected to help out with their own expenses of getting to school, clothing, school related expenses, etc. as a means to help the family.
  • Some students were caregivers to younger siblings, while their parent (s) worked a second job.
  • Some students were caregivers to a sibling, parent, or grandparent with a health or disability concerns.

The above situations often tugged at a student’s educational opportunities: extra-curricular activities, study time, camps and academic workshops, field trips that required more than school time, non-paid high school level internships, volunteer time, or the opportunity to take the most challenging  AP courses/exams and dual credit offerings.

I am so proud of students who have consistently demonstrate family leadership, and I feel in my heart that their families were blessed with their efforts. These students have strong values to do what is best for their family, and they take on responsibilities that require maturity, organization skills and self-discipline.

If this is your story, I have an important message for you.

Know that colleges are very interested in these leadership qualities.
Know that you will bring great value to a college campus.
Know that there is a college anxious to have you as a student.
Know that it is never too late to pursue post-secondary training.
Believe in yourself as you are a valuable leader!

Author: University of Nebraska High School

Accredited online high school program providing award-winning curriculum to students in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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