What role can a college counselor play in preparing seniors for the transition to college life?

Charlotte M. Klaar, Ph.D.Charlotte M. Klaar, Ph.D.
Klaar College Consulting LLC
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. Students are often hesitant to share these questions with their parents because they don’t want the parents to worry or to think that the student is not ready to leave home. The counselor is an unbiased third party who can often help.

Ann HerbenerAnn Herbener
College Counselor
Papillion-La Vista High School
Toward the end of senior year, many students have concerns about the transition to college. Meal plans, social life, involvement, and roommates are just a few issues seniors have on their minds. College counselors, who visit campuses often, can help remedy some of those fears early. Through online resources and presentations, college counselors can help graduates prepare for the transition.

Heather JohnsonHeather Johnson
Educational Consultant
Heather Johnson Associates
This is not an area I have devoted much energy to in my business but I do know that there are counselors who talk with students about course choice (I have done a little bit of that) and also about transition in general.

Susan M. Hanflik, M.Ed., C.E.P.Susan M. Hanflik, M.Ed., C.E.P.
Independent Educational Consultant
Susan Hanflik and Associates Educational Consulting
What are some common misconceptions students have about the college admission process? I would say the greatest misconception students have is that if they build the perfect profile, they will be assured of gaining admission to their first-choice college. That is absolutely not the case, and becomes even less likely with the most selective schools. If, for example, a university has an admission rate of 12%, 88% of the applicants will not be admitted, even though they might be highly qualified and meet the criteria for admission. Several years ago William Fitzsimmons from Harvard said they had an additional full class of students who were just as qualified as those admitted that they were forced to deny. Colleges and universities have limited space, and their goals are to create a diverse class of students who will be successful students. Student’s goals are to gain admission, and the divergence between the two is obvious.

Sandra E. CliftonSandra E. Clifton
Educational Consultant for Social & Emotional Learning
Clifton Corner: An Academic Coaching Center.
That is a very good question. Part of the answer lies in how honest the student is during the college application process: this choice must be an individual decision, driven from personal motivations and not the desire to please family members or impress society. I find that the students who struggle the most at college are the ones who have made a particular choice based on how they thought it would make them appear to others, rather than reasons based on their own individual learning style, social needs, and geographical interests. The biggest consideration for transition into college life is: “Does being in this place make me happy?”

Stuart NachbarStuart Nachbar
Advise students to take on academic challenges during their senior year in the subjects that interest them the most. If a student loves science, for example, that student should take the hardest science courses as a high school senior. A student should also be encouraged to choose electives that are complementary, again if they spark interests. I have no quarrel, for instance, with encouraging a senior who wants to study mechanical engineering to take auto mechanics along with calculus and physics and skipping AP English or history.

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