My name is Tyler Santostefano. I currently work as the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, a role I was promoted into just a few days after my 25th birthday. I received my high school diploma from Windermere Preparatory School and was Valedictorian of my graduating class. I applied to seven colleges during my senior year and was admitted to all of them. I chose to enroll at Boston College, held an on-campus job for all 4 years of my college career, worked as a Resident Assistant for my junior and senior years, and eventually graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Management from the then-third ranked undergraduate business school in the country with a 3.4 GPA.
All of you reading this might have said that I was the model student. Traditional academics have always been my strong suit and I have never struggled much inside the classroom. Having heard my story, and knowing where I am now, one might think that I had no trouble finding and landing a job after graduation. But I was highly unprepared for life after college. I was unable to land an internship during my time at BC, despite countless job interviews and career fairs, and I ultimately graduated without the slightest idea of what I was going to do. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I didn’t even know what I was good at.
For the first time in my life, at age 22, I had experienced failure. My educational journey was traditional, but there is a life outside of education that students have to deal with, and traditional academics play such a small role in preparing students for it. Now in hindsight, I believe my time in school needed to have more time devoted to receiving structured mentorship, and learning to build relationships with other people – not memorizing the quadratic formula or the periodic table of elements. It was through the power of mentorship received from The Start Up Studio that I was able to ultimately discover the power of self and align my interest in education and passion for helping people – particularly students like me.
After receiving the initial guidance from The Startup Studio, I relied upon the network I had built during my time at Boston College. Through some contacts I had made within the BC community, I was given the opportunity to return to BC as a temporary employee, and eventually worked my way up to the Assistant Director level in just two years. It was during this phase of my life that I learned more about the real world than I ever had previously, and I was finally able to understand important life skills that I could use to advance my career. Even small skills like presenting an idea that I had come up with to a room full of people, or learning to problem solve under pressure, have been more useful than anything I had learned from the K-12 or even K-16 curriculum. These new life experiences have changed my perspective on the U.S. education system, and I will be sure to take them into deep consideration as I continue striving to disrupt and change the education landscape in the United States.