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IECA Conference - Helping Students Develop Intellectual Curiosity

Along with two co-panelists, Dr. Amy Morgenstern, Founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting, presented on Helping Students Develop Intellectual Curiosity at the spring conference for the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) on May 8, 2023, in Seattle, WA, to an audience of 55 professional attendees.

Why “intellectual curiosity”? Well, as co-panelist Brett Fuller of Pioneer Academics who is also a former admissions officer for both Columbia University and Wake Forest University put it:

“Colleges and universities place quite a bit of value on intellectual curiosity.”

The presentation began with a slideshow of direct quotes from Princeton, Emory, and Stanford on the centrality of intellectual curiosity in admissions considerations. Using Slido, the presentation then got interactive with audience members entering words and phrases they associate with the phrase “intellectual curiosity.”

Dr. Amy Morgenstern with co-panelists Dr. Elizabeth Krider of Passion Progress and Brett Fuller of Pioneer Acacemics
Dr. Amy Morgenstern with co-panelists Dr. Elizabeth Krider of Passion Progress and Brett Fuller of Pioneer Acacemics

Dr. Amy Morgenstern with co-panelists Dr. Elizabeth Krider of Passion Progress and Brett Fuller of Pioneer Acacemics

Dr. Morgenstern next enlisted her philosophical friends, Plato and Aristotle, to bring the group together with one common definition of “intellectual curiosity” – for any teen, no matter how young or old, regardless of GPA.

Much of the presentation was devoted to practical tips, with specific examples of how intellectual curiosity shows up in supplemental essays, application activity lists, and letters of recommendation.

The presentation concluded on a generative note as Dr. Elizabeth Krider of Passion Progress shared tips on igniting intellectual curiosity in high school students through the story of a mentee who could not find a focus, started volunteering for newly settled refugees in her community, became curious about how political science can lead to societal stability, wrote a research paper on this topic in high school, and is now studying economics at a top PhD-feeder school.

Lively questions followed, with requests from fellow independent college counselors to learn more about Dr. Morgenstern’s proven techniques for getting high school students more intellectually curious.

Since starting Blue Stars in June, 2010, Dr. Morgenstern has grounded her college counseling practice not only in helping students with activities and achievements, but also in expanding their minds through critical questioning, reflection, writing, envisioning, and conversation. Her philosophical expertise forms the backbone of a mentoring method that helps students become resilient and college ready “from the inside out.”

Intellectual curiosity is an often-overlooked character trait when it comes to college admissions. Most parents tend to worry more about their child’s professional aspirations and college major choice, but in the end, when an admissions officer is deciding between two applicants with similar courses, grades, and activities, the choice will come down to a student’s unique way of exploring the world. Careers come and go over time, but a resilient, resourceful person is timeless – and that is what top colleges seek.

Helping students become more intellectually curious is a fine art the Blue Stars team has mastered in its almost 15 years of operation.

Schedule a free consultation to find out how Blue Stars can help your teen become more resilient and find their dream college.

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About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

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