I was talking with a high school college counselor who shared her frustration, “Why do students feel that they need to get help elsewhere when it’s available at their high schools? It’s a great question.
Even though I’m a private college counselor, I believe that students don’t need to get support from private counselors. However, I think it’s helpful, reduces student stress, and can prove to be immensely valuable.
High school college counselors have large caseloads which limit how much personal attention they can give to each student. If you are a go-getter, you are going to get the help you need at your high school college counseling center because you will step up and ask for it. But consider this: You don’t know what you don’t know. A tautology, but in this case, a useful one. This is probably the first time you’ve applied to college and you have a lot at stake to get it right the first time.
From your future to your finances, where you go to college and your financial aid matters. Seeking outside guidance in your college search can be a smart move if you think it might help you discover options, hone down your college list, identify possible scholarships, track to your deadlines, write an essay that truly reflects you, and discover colleges you never considered before.
Take a moment to imagine this scenario: you apply to a college that wasn’t even on your radar until it was suggested by your counselor – and that college offers you a full-ride scholarship worth over $50,000 a year. This was the experience of one of the students I coached.
Your high school counseling center should be your first stop in your college search. Quite possibly, everything you need is right there. On top of that, there’s endless information online, but wading through all that information is both tedious and daunting.
As a private college counselor and essay coach, my goal is to help you not only come up with your college list and provide essay guidance, but also to help you enjoy writing your essays and in the process, learn something about yourself.
Imagine that we’re going on a hike together. As your guide, I’m there to encourage you forward, redirect you if you’re getting lost, and feel like it’s a positive experience, even enjoy the excitement of not yet knowing where you’ll end up. You don’t need a guide, but it’s helpful and can make the journey more rewarding.