Parents, have you ever been in a situation where your child listened better to someone who was not Mom or Dad? Students, do you feel more relaxed having a professional review your essays as opposed to a family member? I know I, and my own kids, have felt this way. I understand the value of having a referee or “point person” so I can talk to my children over dinner without getting into tussles about which courses to take, which schools to visit and apply to, and what to include in those essays.
I tip my hat to all the guidance counselors in our public and private schools. They do many jobs, often at the same time, from selecting courses and colleges for a student to helping with essays. But school-based counselors often have a huge case loads. Some rely heavily on computer models where they punch in GPA and SAT scores and – “ba-boom,” out pops a list of schools. But I can take that information a step further. By taking the time to talk through what matters to each student and family, we can go beyond the numbers and look for schools whose personalities meet the student’s needs and interests. Does the student want a great business school or a fine arts program? A warm climate or a great place to ski? Rah-rah on the weekends, or a quiet library and dinners with professors? Are there special learning needs? Most importantly, when we first meet, I listen very carefully to the family’s interests and the student’s desires.