Recommendation for Susan Dyment
WPI, Union, RIT, Holy Cross, RPI, or, how do you say it, Quinnipiac…the list of acronyms and college names seemed daunting to two parents who were just beginning to dip their toes into that vast sea called “the college search.” However, we squared our shoulders and headed off on that famous parental spring trek across New England to start touring the schools our son’s college counselor had mapped out with him earlier that winter. As we began to explore what each of these colleges had to offer, the prospect of our first born leaving the nest slowly went from, “No, no, not yet … “ to “Wow, can you imagine having the opportunity to go here or here or here!”
As a parent of two Sant Bani School graduates who have successfully launched, it is with great respect that I write this letter of recommendation for Susan Dyment. Susan has been the college counselor at Sant Bani School for well over thirty years and worked with both of my children as they stepped from that small private school into the enormous worlds of BU and RPI. She has also guided, encouraged, and advocated for hundreds of other high schoolers as they began to plan their lives after high school.
Susan didn’t open a college guidebook, flip to a random page, and say, “This looks like a good school for you, submit an application and get back to class.” She spent immeasurable time with my children teasing out their interests and thoughtfully exploring their options. Not only did she meet with them individually as needed, but she worked on essay writing during her Senior English class with them to make sure their best written works were submitted with their applications. She helped find schools that paralleled their hopes and dreams, even taking into account what their financial needs would be to ensure that once their goals were obtained they could also be realized. It was clear that her knowledge did not come from reading through brochures and websites but rather from setting foot on most, if not all, the campuses she felt my children would succeed at. This is knowledge that only a seasoned counselor could accumulate, having spent years attending workshops and conferences on college campuses and taking college trips with all of her Senior English classes.
I so appreciated the assistance Susan gave to my own children, that I referred her to a nephew who lived across the state. He came late in life as the only child to my in-laws. They had a wonderful home in Campton, NH, which they had enjoyed for many years, but after my nephew’s arrival, when grade school was looming, they packed up and moved to Hanover, having researched that it had one of the better school systems in the state. So when my sister-in-law called saying that her son was getting no guidance at all about colleges and what did I think, I was a bit surprised. I called Susan who was pleased to meet with them and help find a handful of colleges that would match my nephew’s credentials. She spent time talking with them to get a feel for their wants and needs. Because I was the liaison between my family and Susan, I sat in on the meeting. It was inspirational to see the excitement and pleasure she got from helping them and to see the looks of confusion on my in-laws’ faces turn to looks of anticipation. As I sat there, I wondered how many young adults have missed life-defining opportunities because that guidance wasn’t there when they were making these same decisions.
I hear time and again how high schoolers are getting little, if any, one-on-one time to talk with their college counselors and how alone they feel throughout the process. If only there were a hundred Susan Dyments out there who take as long as students need to find a place that fits, a school where a student can explore, learn, and succeed and help find ways to finance it as well.
In the end, college success or failure is up to the student, but I hope some fortunate high schoolers get that chance through the expert counseling given by Susan for years to come. Having her as a resource would greatly enrich the college application process for countless high schoolers and their families as they too begin to dip their toes in that vast but exciting sea.
Rebecca A. Beane
PS: My son received his BS in Environmental Engineering from RPI and his MEM at Tufts. My daughter received her BA in International Relations from BU and recently received her MSPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC, Chapel Hill. Thanks to Susan Dyment for opening these worlds up to them!