top of page

Four Types Of Students, or What-EV-rrrr

We are frequently asked why our enrollment is so selective. It is simply to manage our salon culture and to provide the best environment for our students. This is very important to us. We seem to get primarily three different kinds of students but occasionally there are others. We have lots and lots of very successful students because we screen so heavily in our enrollment process. We do make the occasional mistake and enroll a student that somehow got through our filtering process, but it is getting rarer and rarer when these mistakes occur.


The rarest of these students is the Know-It-All student. We call them this because they really do believe that they “Know-it-all”. This is mostly because they're experiencing the Dunning-Kruger Effect, but they don't know this. A variation of this idea was put forth by George Lakoff when he described the classic categorization syndrome where people believe that THEIR specific point of view is SO logical, SO universally accepted that you must be a complete moron if you disagree with them even though they are completely wrong. So, they don’t actually know it all, or even most of it all they just feel that they do. This is particularly frustrating when I have over 45 years in the beauty industry and have held about every position available when the person who is telling me the "right" way to do things has one month, four months, or nine months experience in one single position, "student", who contacted me and told me that they wanted to learn what I was willing to teach them.

You can identify these students by the fact that they always interrupt me while I’m trying to teach, they finish my sentences for me… WRONGLY! If they are a bit more timid, they just walk around mumbling condescending comments that are barely audible and they are very fond of whispering instructions to other students that contradict my instructions. They’re usually so busy talking that they rarely learn anything. These students usually have serious inferiority complexes that they try to overcome by overcompensating by being the class expert. They are very disruptive during class, and they can steal your progress and your training time if you let them, but even worse than that, they can steal the progress and enjoyment from all the other students. They are never successful (to most people's thinking) but they do have their points of pride in some vague or unmeasurable accomplishment that most successful people would consider quite trivial. Another destructive tendency of know-it-alls is that they will change our service protocols because they know a “better way”, which screws up our already-existing clientele. It also screws up your education because they mix made-up techniques, policies, stuff they saw on YouTube, etc with ours but it’s hard to determine this for people who are newer. In other words, they're the short-cut experts in their own mind. Sometimes this exhibits itself as "cherry picking" where they sign up for a particular program consisting of numerous segments of training that are monitored by the Board of Alaska Barbers and Hairdressers and the Alaska Commission on PostSecondary Education that require that we follow our published curriculum. But because these particular students view themselves as SO advanced that they don't require the same number of segments so they try to pick and choose the things that they want to learn, but of course they also are lacking the mental discipline to actually learn the topics that they say they want to learn.

We usually end up with a know-it-all student about every five or six years, so still very rare overall. The age of know-it-alls fluctuates a lot and can be anyone from 18 all the way to 60 years of age. We’ve had know-it-alls be terminated their second day of class all the way through graduation. These students rarely learn anything new because they don’t see the need since they already know everything. They usually have miserable lives after they leave their twenties. But they never do well in the beauty business and they waste both their time and money as well as yours. Again, not that common.


We also get more What-EV-rrrrr students than know-it-all students, but still this number is very small. Maybe one every four to five years. These students are over privileged, believe that knowing certain things or knowing certain people make them special even though they've accomplished little on their own merits, and they have come to believe that their mission in life is to critique everything that they encounter, even things that they know absolutely nothing about or have any experience with so they don't have any of actually critiquing anything but they sure do like trying.

You can identify these students by the turned, tilted head (as if holding their own head up is too much work for their necks), the stink-eye face, the rolling eyes, and they shift their body positions and/or head position about two or three times each minute. It kind of seems like they’re being tortured whenever someone tries to get them to learn something if it doesn't have something to do with SnapChat, Instagram or one of the Kardashians.

They want everything presented to them as entertainment, not just generic entertainment, but specific entertainment in their chosen genre, at a timing of their choice and for the duration of their choice. These students also, have no experience and no training but that won’t matter to them. These students can be very infectious to impressionistic students who join their quest in life to be dissatisfied with everything they encounter. The classes they seem to hate the most are business classes, customer service classes, marketing and SEO classes. What-EV-rrrrrs also have the curious habit of walking up to you and barging into the conversation you're having either in person or on the phone, or barging into the activity you are doing no matter how important the activity is. The don't understand that this behavior is really rude and look at you like you're describing a three-headed pig if you bring it to their attention. Manners are kind of like proper grammar in that you learn it at home through osmosis, over a period of time, which is to say that you learn it subconsciously while you're doing other things and may not even be aware that you've learned it. Or, NOT learned it.

We typically get one or two of these students in every few years but sometimes we'll get one or two in a single year and they are almost always 18, 19 or 20 years old, but we’ve had them as old as 25 years old. Every once in a while we get two in one class start which is always disastrous for the entire class because they impede the progress of the class and the other students in these classes only receive a portion of the training that they wanted to receive. This usually occurs when the average age of any class start is less than 30.4 years of age. We try to maintain class starts with an average of 32.2 or higher. But, we can’t control the population or everybody that wants to train here. So far, we’ve only had three class starts be totally ruined by What-EV-rrrrrs since we started our school many, many years ago.

Dishonest Students From Dishonest Families - Every once in a while we get yet another kind of student but they are really rare. So few of these people show up that I didn't count them as an actual category. These are people that couldn't pass the online entrance exam so they have their mother take it (really happened), or their sister take it (really happened), or their friend take it (also really happened). They then kind of limp through the interview process and then after they are enrolled in school they can't read, they can't keep up with the class and they constantly interrupt the instructor to spell one syllable words. They usually don't pass the state board exams, usually they don't even complete the program they enrolled in. And, then when their own dishonesty has short-circuited their success they are angry with us because they didn't get the results that they wanted but didn't earn.


We get the most of the successful type of student than all of the others put together by FAR. This reason alone is why we only accept about one in every thirty contacts that we have as accepted students. In fact, this is the goal of all of our screening processes during our enrollment procedures. These students are amazing! They listen, they take really good notes, they're very helpful, kind, they organize their objectives, lessons and ideas into a workable format and continually add to their collection of notes as their careers progress. These students also are very kind and they encourage each other in their pursuit of success in their chosen careers. They participate in class discussions, they engage each other in class, they volunteer to be models for their class-mates, they do their work on time, and they are very professional with each other and with our clients and they are very focused. We can have enrolled up to five hairdressing students and wight esthetician students at any one time, which means that just to find these particular students we have had contacts with almost 400 people to end up with 13 students. But these students are usually pretty spectacular.

The range of successful type students ranges from having a successful career/business all the way to superstars who really excel in the beauty industry. Successful students turn into successful beauty industry professionals because they realize that our job as a school is to provide our students with tools which our successful students then organize into functioning sets of skills that they use to create their own unique niche from which they develop successful businesses and/or careers. We happen upon a few "Superstar" students each year as well, which is a subcategory of the Successful students. These people simply shine because they've found their purpose and are now beginning to fulfill their ambitions. They pitch in and do way more than they are required to, the connect with clients in the most amazing way and they make a lasting impression while they are in school. We find several of these students each year.


IF you are in control of your own psychological status by means of accountability, discipline and awareness you can choose which of these types of students that you will be. Many times though, the psychological characteristics of all three types of students is hard-wired into their personality and it is difficult to impossible for these people to change their own behaviors but several have been successful in controlling these behaviors until they're accepted as students when their real personalities emerge and a few can control their natures until they graduate, which we really appreciate a lot.

If you are a successful type of student, use your MCF super powers to protect your own training and the training of those around you. The Kryptonite of Know-It-Alls and What-EV-rrrrs is confrontation and accountability. This is why we spend about 30% of our entire schedule managing our salon culture. You can’t usually change the Know-It-Alls or the What-EV-rrrrs, but you can protect your own investment in time, money and effort as well as protecting your own environment so that you have a more pleasant experience. It is interesting to note that we've had lots of students make life-long friends in our programs and this makes us very happy. Various student types can affect your training, your career, and perhaps your very character. This is the main reason that we screen our potential students so heavily. This is to prevent us from complicating the training of a potentially successful student with a problem student. We spend about 30% or so of our total time managing this one facet of our business. We consider the sum of all of the components of our business to be our goût de terroirs. Click here to find out about this topic.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page