My counselor doesn’t know me.
My counselor only knows a few colleges in our state.
My counselor doesn’t understand applying to selective colleges.
My counselor doesn’t have time for me.
Do any of these comments sound like you? Do you feel like this picture represents your class trying to discuss college with your counselor?
I often hear students complain because their high school guidance counselor is not being helpful with the college admissions process. Most high school counselors are very well intentioned but the reality is that in many cases they just don’t have the time to really help students find the right college.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling recommends an ideal counselor to student ration of 1:100. Unfortunately, the national average ration is 1:475. Even at many private high schools, the ration is greater than 1:100. Most counselors also have other responsibilities besides college counseling and need to spend most of their time helping students with academic and emotional problems.
So what is a student with such a counselor supposed to do? You have two options; learn about the process your self or hire a professional college admissions counselor.
I recently discussed some of the resources that are available if you wish to handle the college search process your self. In addition to those resources, books I would recommend include “The Fiske Guide to Colleges”, “Colleges That Save Lives”, by Loren Pope and “Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean” by Joyce Slayton Mitchell.
If you are considering working with an independent college admissions counselor, here is a recent article I wrote that discusses why hiring a college admissions counselor makes sense.