Raymond Ravaglia: Maximizing Your Child’s Success in Virtual Schooling

Apr 5, 2021 | podcast

Welcome to College Admissions in the Era of COVID-19! Well, part of it. On today’s episode, we give you a preview of Dr. Legatt’s conversation with Raymond Ravaglia.



VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. I am Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and elite admissions expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. You’re going to be hearing today from our summit speaker, and I’m so excited to share just a glimpse of the summit with you. I wanted to give you a sense of what you missed if you had to miss it and invite you to get a VIP All-Access Pass to the summit. This access pass will allow you to get full, unlimited and lifetime access to all those session recordings. This is just a clip. You’ll also have the ability to attend live Q & A session with me where I will answer your questions about college admissions right on the spot. And you’re going to also gain access to my personal Ultimate College Application Template bundle with bonus materials and that has a value of $3.97. So click on the show notes. Go ahead, reserve your VIP ticket so that you can gain access to the full summit experience and all its perks. See you soon. 

I’m going to get started with Introducing Ray, who is our first wonderful speaker. I have the pleasure of introducing Ray Ravaglia. He is the Chief Learning Officer at Opportunity Education. Opportunity Education is a Foundation transforming secondary education. Ray has been active in online education since 1989. He was the founder and principal architect of the Stanford Online High School and is a vice chairman and founder of Dwight Global School. At a time when most of us have been thrust into online learning, unexpectedly, we’re gonna talk about how to make the most of online schooling and create some intentionality behind our studies. We’re going to discuss how students can get support when needed and how to build relationships with teachers and counselors to maximize experience. Welcome to our first speaker, Raymond “Ray” Ravaglia. Hi Ray!

RR: It’s great to be here. 

AL: It’s so good to have you. 

RR: I just want to start by saying that there’s a tremendous difference between people who go to online schools intentionally and the other 50,000,000 kids who woke up one day to find themselves sentence to online schooling. And the irony is that as disruptive as it’s been for the students who found themselves thrust in online schooling, it’s been disruptive to the kids who were already in online schools. I used to be able to tell people, look, when you’re writing your college essays, you have this unique thing about you. You’re in an online school. You’ve made a decision to do something non standard and seek out this opportunity. And you can really play that up. And that’s a story that isn’t so unique anymore. So it’s had unexpected consequences for everyone. The other thing, too, that I would stress in more serious tone is you hear all this talk about the importance of grit, the importance of persistence, the importance of resilience. If ever there has been an opportunity for students to demonstrate resilience and grit and persistence, this is it. And the admissions committees at these schools understand that people have been dealt a tough hand, and it really is going to come down to not whether the plans you had formulated when you were a freshman or sophomore been disrupted. But what have you really done with this? Have you taken this as an opportunity to do something different and better? Or have you been just sort of suffering and lamenting the fact that you’re not getting the thing that you would always hope to get? 

AL: Thank you for that, Ray. What’s really insightful. I’d be curious to hear from you following up a bit on your introduction. What are some ways that students who have been thrust into this online world without knowing about it can really take advantage of the benefits of online schooling? 

RR: If you look at teacher-student relationships and interactions in the typical in-person classroom, there’s a small number of kids with bubbling personalities, very extroverted, very gregarious. They have a great time connecting with their teachers, really easy for them. And there are a lot of kids, smart kids, hardworking who just don’t know how to form that connection. And then when it’s time to ask for letters of recommendation, there’s this sort of strong embarrassment. You don’t know what to do in the online environment. I have found that students are much more comfortable reaching out and interacting with their teacher, especially through asynchronous, being sending an email, sending a text message just sort of hitting people up in ways where you’re not live. And on the spot where you can really think about what you want to say and get it right. And then that can be an entry for developing a better relationship. I had a student years ago who had recently emigrated from China. Very bright kid in mathematics doing an early online course I developed when he called up to ask questions. It was always very timid and apologetic. And then we–this is years ago before email even was readily available. So we put fax machines in at the schools. And once he got the fax machine, it was as though he had been liberated. He would send me these long, very critical messages about how terrible different parts of the course were and what we should be doing better. And that just made it much more enjoyable, both for him and for me to have a real relationship around his being in the course. I think that the most important things for students to do is figure out ways to make that connection. And for students who would have been shy normally take advantage of the fact that you can now work in an intermediate way. For students who need that gregarious interaction, go to office hours, participate with video as much as possible. Even if the school is running with, say, reduced class meeting times. Almost every teacher. If you text them, email them, and ask for a time to meet 1 on 1, they will do it. Because the thing that the students fail to understand is that the teachers are also starved for meaningful interaction with their students. Nobody becomes a teacher just to process electronic assignments from students. You become a teacher as you like to see the learning happen, you like that Aha, moment when the light bulb goes off, you like to hear kids talk about their hopes and dreams, and so really reach out and take advantage of this fact. Don’t let the fact that you’re online now be an obstacle to forming those relationships.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.