College Counselors

Seniors: It's Time to Say "Thank you!"

Now that you have your letters in hand and your decision made, take the time to inform all the people in your life who had a hand in your admission process about that decision. That includes the teachers who wrote recommendations, the high school college counselor who loaned you her College Board Handbook, the guidance counselor who advised you to take AP calculus, the English teacher who proofread your essays, the coach who wrote a letter to the athletic department, and the faculty advisor for the newspaper who encouraged you to write an editorial about the stress of applying to college. Let them know where you have decided to enroll and thank them for all they did to help you get there.

You can stop by their classroom or office to let them know in person, but a personal, hand-written thank you note is the most powerful and meaningful way to show your appreciation, according to Mark Moody, Co-Director of College Counseling at Colorado Academy -- and we agree! "Like many counselors, I have a folder full of them in my desk," he told us, "on rougher days, it's where we go to remember why we do this rewarding work in the college application trenches with you!"

Oh, and don’t forget a big thank-you for the people who have helped you get to this point for the last eighteen years . . . your parents.

 

How to Mind your Manners while Applying to College

Lisa Endlich Heffernan of the excellent blog Grown and Flown has some great advice for students -- and parents -- about best behavior and student etiquette so the college application process carries you where you want to go. 

The college process is a long campaign -- it can be exhausting, distracting and anxiety-producing. So good manners should have a place of prominence.  But it is all too easy for an overwrought, otherwise distracted teen to forget what they have been taught.   As a parent I was often distracted by the details of the process, too, and failed in my job of reminding my sons to mind their manners along the way.  So here are a few reminders, I wish I had had.

 

Juniors: Introduce Yourself to Your Counselor

Juniors, although most of you won't begin the college application process in earnest until later this semester, there are some things you can do right now to get on track for a great college application process.

And here's an important one: Get to know your high school counselor. A high school counselor can be a powerful advocate for you and have a significant impact on your aspirations, achievements and admission results. So counselors can do a lot for you during the application process, but they can't do it well if they don't know you.

Whenever possible, students should be proactive. Make an appointment with your counselor, introduce yourself, find out when would be a good time to meet and ask how he or she would like you to stay in touch. If you take the initiative, you will make a strong and positive first impression.

For more information about college counselors and advisors, including what they will -- and will not! -- do in the college application process and how colleges interact with them, see Chapter 4, "College Counselors and Advisors," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step.

Focusing Freshmen on the "Big Picture"

In a guest post today, Jennifer Karan, Executive Director of the SAT Program at The College Board, discusses the steps high school freshmen can take to plan ahead for a college education -- a key to success. This article originally appeared on The College Board website.

 

As a former English teacher and high school dean of students, I know that there are few things as daunting, mysterious and exciting to a teenager than freshman year of high school. It’s a whole new world: the hallways are foreign and at larger schools, students sometimes feel as though they need a GPS to get from class to class; the upperclassmen seem so much older and are brimming with a glowing confidence; teacher expectations and homework may require substantial adjustment. And college seems like a distant point on the horizon.

Part of the trepidation may be what adults understand as not being able to see the forest for the trees. However, when students are able to envision how the various academic courses and opportunities in arts, athletics and other programs that develop interests (the school paper, community service or a part-time job) form the "Big Picture," they are able to navigate this terrain successfully, with greater purpose and enjoyment.

Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School

Charlene Aguilar is Director of College Counseling at Lakeside School, an independent day school for grades 5 through 12 in Seattle, Washington.  A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, Aguilar has worked both sides of the desk in college admissions during her career.  She began as an admissions counselor at her alma mater in Santa Barbara and served as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford and Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Santa Clara University.  For ten years prior to coming to Lakeside, she was Director of College Counseling and Dean of the junior class at Castilleja School, an all-girls independent school in Palo Alto, California.

We're taking a break for the holidays...

We're taking some time off for the holidays.  We suggest you do, too -- as soon as you hit Send for any applications you haven't yet finished.  We'll be back in 2012 with more expert advice, conversation, and comic relief to help you get from application to acceptance, step by step, including lots of our signature input from deans of admission, college counselors, and other experts. So relax, enjoy your break, and we'll see you next year...

Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon College

This month, we have turned the interview tables on Jennifer Delahunty of Kenyon College to ask her our 5 Questions for the Dean. In addition to her work as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at the 1600-student Gambier, Ohio, campus, Delahunty is a well-known writer on all things admissions. (Full disclosure: we have been lucky enough to participate in one of her editorial projects!) In 2006, an op-ed she penned for the New York Times on gender issues in admissions, To All the Girls I've Rejected, went viral. It's just one example of the honesty and transparency that she brings to the admission process in all that she does.  Join her here to gain some of her trademark insight into Kenyon -- the classroom, the campus, and the admission office -- and some of her sage advice for parenting through the process.