The Benefits of Hiring a Private Career and College Counselor–My Complete Interview with Happenings Magazine–October 2016
- When should a student begin meeting with a college counselor? The earlier the better – I work with students in grades 8-12. If students start early, they can begin to complete the necessary tasks over time instead of cramming them into a few months of senior year.
- What are the advantages of hiring a private college counselor? The average caseload for high school guidance counselors in the United States is between 250-500 students. According to National Association of College Admissions Counseling, the average high school counselor spends 38 minutes with each student over four years. Students require a lot more time evaluating all of the choices and completing all of the required tasks. I am available around the clock and seven days a week and will spend hours with college applicants aiding them in the completion of college applications and brainstorming essays. There are multiple steps involved in a student’s overall college application process which require a lot more time than high school counselors have in their daily schedules. (Dept of Education and NACAC report that U.S. public high school students receive an average of 38 minutes of personal advising on College Admissions. They also report that Independent Educational Consultants spend an average of 12 hours with each client. http://www.nacacnet.org/research/research-data/Documents/WhitePaper_McDonough.pdf
- What details do you take care of for clients? I offer unlimited contact whenever needed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any assistance or questions from students and parents. This includes review of high school transcripts, course selection, test scores, activities, assessment of interests and personality, examination and selection of possible majors, planning and monitoring of SAT/ACT prep progress, complete career and college research, advisement on college choices with the student’s best options, career shadowing and other career opportunities, college visits, development and finalization of the college list, development of the high school resume, essay brainstorming and editing, college application completion, financial aid and scholarships, assessment of college offers, final advisement on college course selection, and housing options.
- Do most of your clients already have an idea of the college and major they want to pursue or do most need guidance in making decisions? No, many do not have any idea about the college they would like to attend or the major they would like to pursue. If no, how do you provide guidance? The student completes several career and college assessments to determine best possible schools and majors/careers. The student, parents, and I discuss the results of the assessments, and I present all career and college research that I have prepared for them. I also arrange career exploration activities and college visitation experiences for students to help them learn more about all options.
- How often do you meet with students and their parents? The schedules for student and parent meetings vary depending upon the student’s grade level and tasks which must be completed, the student’s overall needs, and parental preferences.
- How involved would you say most parents are in their child’s college choices? The parents I meet are seriously concerned about their children’s career and college choices, and are inclined to be highly engaged in the process. They want to be sure that their children will earn a life sustaining wage when they graduate from higher education after investing so much into college tuition.
- What would you say is the most important aspect of the college application process and why? The most important aspect of the college application process is how the student presents himself or herself to the prospective school—from the very first time the student sets foot on the college campus for a visit to the college application process, including the high school transcript, college essays, resume, letters of recommendation, and the college interview, etc. Students must realize that they are not choosing the school, but that the school is choosing them. How the student demonstrates (not just tells) the ways in which he or she has made a difference up to this point, and how he or she will make a difference as a student at that school, is key. An important question is, “What sets that student apart from the many others who also want to be accepted?”
- How would you advise students to become a more “attractive” candidate for their desired college? Students: show yourselves as you are at your very best. Keep the grades up right to the end of the senior year, and stay involved in extracurricular activities throughout high school (remember quality of involvement rather than quantity). Be a leader, not a follower, and make a difference by volunteering in your community or elsewhere. Dare to be different—develop a passion for something and go for it. Follow all application directions, and persuade the admissions representatives who read your application to be excited about admitting you to their school. Keep your social media accounts respectable and free from any negative pictures, activities, and behaviors.
- Do you help students retain financial aid? Yes What are the best methods for doing so? First of all, families should inquire about the requirements of the financial aid award. If it is a scholarship or grant, it does not need to be paid back. There are usually GPA requirements which must be met and kept for the duration of the award. Students will most likely need to reapply each year for financial aid. This includes loans, grants, and scholarships. If this is done too late or not at all, the funds may no longer be available. Be early rather than late. Ask questions of the financial aid office.
- How would you say high school students today differ from those 10 years ago? High school students are definitely more high tech savvy. Our world has become a much smaller place thanks to technology. We now live in a global society. The opportunities for learning in new and different ways have become widespread. Students take gap years, study abroad, and learn on-line like no other time prior. High school students are adjusting well to our fast-paced world, and they can show must of us who do not know how to Tweet, Snap Chat, and how to find Pokémon. Certain careers exist now that did not exist ten years ago, and there are careers now that will be nonexistent ten years from now.
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