While some high schools offer college counseling services for applying students, many families choose to seek a private counselor for their applicant’s needs. When you’re seeking outside help then, it’s important to be discerning about who you choose, and to know what to expect from a great college counselor.
Your experience with a college counselor can be as personal as with any other kind of counselor, and having confidence in your counselor is worth the investment of your time and money.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some aspects of a great college counselor that demonstrate their abilities, and that make them a great fit for you personally.
They Get to Know You
No two students are alike, and colleges offer different things to different students. A great college counselor understands this. That means they’ll want to take the time to get to know you, your interests, your goals, and your experiences. A great college counselor is skilled at understanding what colleges are looking for in students, so they need to take the time to know if you, as a student, are matching up with a college in the right way. Furthermore, taking the time to get to know you personally will help you feel more comfortable about the process.
They Help You Choose Colleges and Classes
After a great college counselor gets to know you, they use this information to help you select the best colleges for your needs, and the classes you can take in high school to help gain admittance into these colleges. This includes taking the time to educate you about colleges you may not have found easily on your own, or colleges you didn’t realize might be a good fit for you. They should also take the time to consider you as a whole person, and not just as a student. This means that they’ll want to help you find a school that’s a good social and personal fit along with a good academic fit.
They Help You Find Resources and Strategize
There are a lot of resources out there about applying to college, from test prep books to essay editors. A great college counselor will help you sort through the onslaught of materials. They should also help you understand how to use these materials effectively so they actually help you.
In addition to helping you strategize your application process, they’ll make sure you follow through. This does not mean they’ll hold your hand every step of the way. They will, however, be tough on you about meeting deadlines, and they’ll hold your work and your application to a high standard, just like colleges will.
They Come Highly Referred
Whether it’s through a mutual acquaintance, a good friend, or other college applicants you know, a great college counselor should come highly referred from satisfied clients. They also will have an extensive professional background themselves, which should be easy to find. They may also offer their own resources like a book, tutoring, or other similar services, which you can use to get a sense of what the counselor has to offer. Finally, their results can speak for themselves. Oftentimes, a great college counselor will have data for the results their work has produced. This includes demonstrating the number of their clients who were accepted to college, and where they were accepted or chose to attend.
Finding a great college counselor can be the difference between acceptance to some of the schools on your list, to being accepted to your dream schools. A counselor may also help you discover a dream school you previously didn’t know existed. Don’t be afraid to take your time and get a couple of consultations. You’re hiring them, and you should feel great after finding a great college counselor.