We never treat students like they are fixed points in time and space--we help them think of ideas that take their ideas to the next level so that they can maximize their options for college.
A good consultant must be sensitive to the culture of their prospective clients, not only so they can help these students find schools that will meet their needs, but also so that they can help them learn a little about American culture as they head off to school.
I offer basic financial aid advice and point the family in the direction of colleges who are notoriously generous with merit aid. In addition, I give the family a report that shows which scholarships the student might be eligible for at the colleges to which he or she is applying.
Our career counselor works with them every year with interest, values, and aptitudes inventories. Students then take those results and create a personal learning plan.
I am a college counselor at a school of 1,500 students--the only college counselor. We divide our duties into domains where college counseling is my only job.
Time is my biggest challenge! How do I serve all my students and parents and juggle all my responsibilities?
By the time the student is ready to leave for college, the student and counselor have developed a trusting relationship. Therefore, the student might be more likely to ask the counselor the questions about which she or he is having anxiety than might otherwise be the case.
One of the first things I tell my families is that the college admission process is about finding a good fit and match rather than trophy hunting.
When working in an independent school, many counselors build personal relationships with admission staffers . . .
I have a series of questions I ask the student to answer, and from those responses, we narrow down potential topics for their essays--topics that individualize the student and allow him or her to have a clear voice.
That they cannot control the outcome. They need to put their best foot forward but also realize that being rejected does not mean they failed.
Finding colleges that will help students thrive depends on students reflecting on and identifying their aspirations, strengths, challenges, and personal preferences.
We (counselors) have seen more concern and confusion. Parents are taking a greater role in the college admission process and they are more anxious about admittance and costs.