College Counseling Helping San Mateo Students Get Ahead

The city of San Mateo, located in the intellectually vibrant Bay Area, is an incredibly well-educated community. The US Census Bureau reflects an idyllic picture of a typical Northern California “brain hub” hotspot: geographically close to the Silicon Valley; residents bringing in a high median income (approximately $994k annually); homes boasting nearly universal internet connection; and of course, the classic mild California climate. Yet, with a launchpad as great as this one, students are still feeling lost facing the college admissions process. Where do the best resources for college counseling in San Mateo come from?
In fact, students from San Mateo seek advice from the experts. These independent college counselors are well-versed in the art of helping bright students stand out from similarly well-positioned peers. Because even in ideal circumstances like these, the pressures are skyrocketing. Though there are abundant opportunities at their fingertips, high schoolers across the Bay Area tend to suffer from a paralysis of choice. With a limited number of hours in the day, it seems impossible to out-achieve your peers. As a result, students stress over how to gain that coveted edge for steadily-increasing competition for elite college admissions.
Let’s take a look at a few real-life examples* of San Mateo students. Each benefits from working with an independent college counselor for advising through the admissions process.
*Names have been changed to protect student identities.
Student 1: Raveena P.
High School: Notre Dame High School
GPA: 3.58
Test Scores: 1430 SAT
Activities: Independent science research, soccer, chess.
Case Brief 1:
Raveena is clearly a driven, academically-focused student. She scored well on the SAT and engaging in self-led research in her area of study as well as organized sports and competitive chess. Her extracurricular activities reflect this, but her GPA isn’t top tier; elite universities demand 3.7 or higher. However, an advisor would be able to coach Raveena through writing powerful personal statements to make the most of her experiences and overcome the gaps in her average transcript.

EMPOWERLY TIP: Be sure to leverage your extracurriculars to your best advantage, especially if you want to demonstrate ability to succeed in college life.

Student 2: Christopher A.
High School: Aragon High School
GPA: 4.0
Test Scores: Not reported.
Activities: Sports (swim team); working at a local science camp; 2-week long externship at a medical clinic; marine science internship; high school science educational volunteering.
Case Brief 2:
Christopher has a stellar GPA and strong extracurricular activities. However, his test scores are not reported here, indicating that they may represent a “wild card” on the application. Since standardized tests may be largely discounted in application criteria in the future, Christopher must make the most of his essays and GPA in the absence of a reliably strong test score. As a result, a college counselor could help this San Mateo student shine, thereby standing out among other hard-working students with similar interests.

EMPOWERLY TIP: Keep an eye on the changing news and landscape surrounding test cancellations, but also have a back-up plan in place.

Student 3: Henry L.
High School: Atherton High School
GPA: 3.90.
Test Scores: 34 ACT
Activities: Interest in Computer Science.
Case Brief 3:
Henry is evidently a very intelligent, book-smart student who on paper demonstrates that he would thrive in an academically challenging environment. In addition, his interest in Computer Science seems to predict interest in applying to programs such as MIT, Stanford, or CalTech. However, Henry doesn’t report any extracurricular activities. Considering that many standard activities and programs have been canceled for the coming months, Henry will be in a uniquely difficult position. He will have to attempt to fill out his extracurricular resume with enough strength to live up to his GPA and ACT score. A college counselor would be able to research San Mateo programs that are still available abd help Henry apply. Additionally, they will make the most of the activities he is able to write about on his application to ensure that his entire application reflects his strong potential.

EMPOWERLY TIP: Avoid placing too much emphasis on any one part of your application. A well-rounded profile demonstrates resilience.

Final notes
As you can see from these examples, college counseling provides enormous benefits to students in the San Mateo area. Organizations like Empowerly can provide tailored, individualized advice to coach students through the entire process. In other words, we can guide you from start to finish, with minimal stress along the way. What’s more, the student-to-counselor ratio of working with an Empowerly college counselor is so much lower than that of standard high schools. Because of this our students benefit from that magical ingredient that other students miss out on: the attention of a team of experts working directly on your personal case.

If this sounds like you, be sure to schedule a time to consult with one of our enrollment experts to discover how we can help you! 

Questions? Let us know!