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The College Labyrinth

A Mindful Admissions Approach

Erin Avery


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Knowledge of self—a key component of the college admissions process that is also important in our respective life journeys—must originate in the practice of self-centering, which means exploring one's internal landscape and grounding one's sensibilities from within, no easy task in our postmodern moment and all its attendant pressures on the individual from without. Currently, overemphasis on college as the only goal of students' academic outcomes collides with social media's tendency to turn individuals into consumers constantly looking outward for affirmation and answers (as in an Instagram survey on whether to buy the blue shirt or the red shirt). Consequently, in this book Dr. Avery encourages college admissions stakeholders to shift teens' attentiveness toward their inner compasses and to provide tools to help applicants remain centered. In The College Labyrinth: A Mindful Admissions Approach, applying Victor and Edith Turner's research on pilgrimage, in particular the concepts of liminality (the experience of abiding in a state of transition) and communitas (openness to forming tight relationships while encountering liminality with others in the midst of a like journey), Dr. Avery maps out why this process should be viewed as a sacred journey, even as a pilgrimage, and conveys the value for teens in casting the journey in this light. In the book, Dr. Avery presents the college application process, contrary to the way it is most often perceived by American teens, as a fecund opportunity to gain a deep understanding of themselves and their gifts to the world. Dr. Avery also explores why navigating the labyrinth (the symbolic enactment of ritual lostness that leads to a deeper understanding of the situation and the self) is such a powerful tool for centering, of rooting oneself and identity based on the inward work of one's own self-perception. Dr. Avery also discusses why American youth so urgently need access to such tools. Themes incorporate Judeo-Christian values to connect both ancient and modern mindfulness practices.

BookBaby, 9781098300272, 152pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2020

About the Author

In 2003, Dr. Erin Croddick Avery founded Avery Educational Resources, LLC, an independent educational consulting practice that specializes in counseling students and their families throughout the traditional college, boarding school, and graduate school search and application process as well as career counseling. Dr. Avery is a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) and a Commissioner of the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners.         Dr. Avery is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association ( and member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), the New Jersey Association of College Admissions Counselors (NJACAC), the Secondary School Admissions Board (SSATB) (now the Enrollment Management Association or EMA), and the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP).           Dr. Avery graduated with a BA from Boston College, holds two Masters degrees from Oxford and Yale Universities respectively, and a doctorate from Drew University. Dr. Avery has served as a boarding school chaplain and department head, and as an administrator and adjunct professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ. She also teaches online for the University of California, Irvine, Division of Continuing Education.          A fierce proponent of Best-Fit Decisions®, Dr. Avery works comprehensively one-on-one with clients to establish a list of programs that are the best match for each unique student and accompanies each student throughout the entire application process. Balancing an approach that is both high touch and high tech, Dr. Avery's bespoke services are also complemented by her workshops and her College Application Boot Camp offered annually each summer: a parent favorite designed for rising seniors to complete a majority of their application work before they embark on their senior year of academics. Avery Educational Resources, LLC is headquartered at 775 River Road in Fair Haven, NJ and serves both a domestic and international clientele. Dr. Avery lives on their family farm in New Jersey with her husband where they homeschool their four children.