Student Guide


Student Guide

by: Brooke Allen co-founder
v. 1.0
February, 2012


I want to talk to you about college; whether you are there now, considering going, or recently graduated.


Because I care about you.

Even though we probably have never met, I still care about you because that is what older generations do; we care about the younger generations. If we did not do that our species would have died out long ago.

One reason to go to college is to be with people older and wiser than you.

Hopefully, colleges are places where old people pass knowledge and wisdom to young people.

If you are a young person I hope that is what you want college to be. If not, why are you going?

But today it seems that all the marketing material, guides, rankings, and websites are about reputation, prestige, facilities, ambiance and academics. Choosing a college seems like choosing a vacation destination – lots of talk about the buildings you will see and the experiences you will have, but no mention of the specific people you will meet.

Q4Colleges is about three things:

  • People
  • Wisdom
  • Caring

We want to answer this question:

How wise are the people at colleges and what do they care about?

Some professors live to teach. They want to understand who you are and what you need because they want to provide you with those things. You could probably use a few people like this in your life.

Other professors care deeply about what they are researching, but they do not care about you unless you care about the same things they do. We think that is fine because, frankly, it’s not all about you – as long as everyone knows who is who.

How can you tell if people at colleges are caring and wise?

We have a simple approach. We ask them to:

Show you care by saying something wise.

We ask the grown-ups at colleges to answer the same kinds of questions they ask high school seniors: What is your mission? How did you come by your values? Discuss an ethical issue? Tell a story about that changed how you think or feel.

We want people to say who they are and what they stand for. This is important to you because it will help you when deciding who you want to be and what you want to stand for.

What questions should colleges ask themselves?

We also want to know the important questions colleges should be asking themselves. And then we want the people at colleges to answer those questions.

Some administrators want what is best for their institutions. Others want what is best for you. Many will say they want both, but when push comes to shove, you and I know they might have to choose one over the other. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they are thinking? (Again, don’t think the answer should always be that the world should always do what is best for you.)

Someday will have thousands of essays for you to read from people at hundreds of colleges.

But that day hasn’t arrived yet.

Today you and we need to help each other.

Here is what we want you to do:

  1. Tell us the name of the college you want to go to, are attending now, or recently graduated from.
  2. Tell us the names of up to five professors and administrators at that college you would like to know better.
  3. Tell us which of our questions you would like us to ask each of them.
  4. Send this information to David Cha ( editor) at

We’ll take it from there.

If you want we can include you in part of our correspondence, or we can contact them without mentioning your name.









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