Allyson Manchester, in addition to teaching English, directs Falmouth Academy’s college counseling efforts with Julie Taylor. This year, she is preparing to help the juniors and their families navigate an especially challenging college process. In light of COVID-19, students and their families are now contending with new issues that range from the logistical (When will I be able to take a standardized test? How can I research colleges at a time when visiting campuses is not possible?) to the philosophical (Do I want to pay tuition for online instruction? What should I do with my unexpected free time this summer?).
In order to help students think through these questions and make sense of the information about "the changing college landscape,” Manchester has been attending online events, meeting with college reps, and reading everything she can. Although she first approached this research with the goal of supporting FA students, she realized that the information could also be useful to a wider audience.
While listening to her favorite podcast, “Sugar Calling” hosted by Cheryl Strayed, the idea came to her to pitch a “pop-up” column to Bill Hough, editor of the Falmouth Enterprise. As with “Sugar Calling,” her aim is to offer empathy and advice for the times. While Strayed’s podcast addresses broad issues such as fear, solitude, and uncertainty, Manchester’s advice focuses on the specific topic of preparing for and applying to college. Manchester commented, “I liked the idea of supporting our community through a few short pieces of writing.”
Manchester’s column, entitled “Uncommon Applications,” debuted in the June 26 edition of the Falmouth Enterprise with an article titled “Applying for College? Simplify Your Summer and Write About It.” Future articles will be featured bi-weekly until August 21.