One-Size-Fits-One When Building a Blueprint for Life | Elaine Griffin | 10 Min Read

October 24, 2023

Newsflash: Getting into college shouldn’t be any child’s central goal. Or so says Ana Homayoun in her new book, Erasing the Finish Line. I emphatically agree with her.

“The false finish line created around college admissions,” Homayoun contends, “is not just exhausting and misleading; it is fundamentally crushing the social well-being and emotional development of our kids.” 

She should know. As the founder of Silicon Valley’s Green Ivy Educational Consulting, Homayoun has worked with thousands of students navigating their way through middle school and high school as well as through the college admissions process. 

Her experience has convinced her that the emphasis on college—which encourages students to focus on external markers like grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities—creates a one-size-fits-all mentality. Homayoun has a better idea: Students should become “the architects of their own futures,” making choices that nurture their own interests, creativity, and leadership abilities.

By focusing on “skill building” rather than “resume building,” Homayoun has seen her students far exceed their initial goals. When elementary and middle school students cultivate foundational skills—developing good study habits, fostering interpersonal relationships, and practicing self-advocacy—good…

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Elaine Griffin

Elaine Griffin is the Middle School Head at University School of Milwaukee, where she had previously served as an Upper School literature teacher and administrator for more than 20 years. Her essays have previously appeared in Education Next, The Once and Future Classroom, Chinese Language Matters, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Her professional interests include parent education, curricular reform, and social-emotional learning.