National Survey Of High School Counselors Shows Over 70% Prefer To Receive Important College News By Email. See Below To Learn 6 Facts About Growing Enrollment Referrals From High School Counselors

Enrollment referrals from high school counselors can make a big difference in college student enrollments. By building strong relationships with counselors, colleges and universities can develop “pipelines” that bring students year after year.


The College Admissions Process Is Broken

Now that college acceptance and rejection decisions have found their destinations for another year, it is finally time that someone steps up and says what needs to be said: The college admissions process is broken and needs to be fixed.

As an independent college counselor, I have spent the last 15 years watching two disturbing trends on both sides of the socioeconomic spectrum. Upper- and middle-class students face a preposterous degree of pressure to attend a “good” college. Every day, I spend hours with teens applying to college. They tell me how they base a good part of their self-esteem on whether an institution deems them smart enough or good enough. To students who have barely glimpsed the challenges of life, getting into college serves as the ultimate validation for their level of ability, potential, work ethic and societal acceptance.

Consequently, more of these students are applying to more and more colleges each year to try to increase their chances of getting accepted. In fact, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, almost three-quarters of American colleges have seen increases in applications in 10 of the last 15 years.

For low-income or hard-pressed middle-income students – the type I once was – the process is simply overwhelming. Public schools are short on counselors, leaving students with little guidance to navigate a confusing process. Students who have parents who did not attend college are at an even greater disadvantage. These students often “undermatch” themselves, applying to too few colleges or to schools that don’t match their level of academic achievement. According to the Association for Education Finance and Policy, 50 percent of students from low-income families undermatch into colleges less selective than are warranted by their academic record.

Colleges know about these trends but have done too little to standardize their process and make it more accessible. Things are a bit easier thanks to “The Common Application,” a standardized electronic application accepted by over 600 colleges and universities. But too many schools don’t accept it, including the entire University of California system and the University of Texas system.

Even those that do often have additional requirements. Stanford University, for example, requires three different essay answers, along with multiple short answer responses that are completely different from those required by say, The University of Pennsylvania. Some colleges require two recommendations and SAT subject tests, while others do not.

Application timelines also vary. The deadline for The University of Vermont is different from that the one required by USC. Some colleges offer interviews, in some cases requiring students to sign up in September, while in other cases granting interviews only after the application is submitted.

This is just a fraction of the minutiae the typical 17-year-old college applicant must figure out. Ask any parent who has tried to shepherd a child through the process and you will hear horror stories about last minute essays, screaming matches over missed deadlines and frustration over different requirements.

Today’s application process is no picnic for college admission offices either. They also have the virtually impossible task of sorting through 20,000-100,000 applications in a matter of months, trying to find interesting, smart, diverse students who will actually come to their campuses and take advantage of the education that is offered. For any given college, much of this is wasted effort: as applications increase, the majority of the accepted students will turn them down and attend another institution.

This system frustrates everyone in the process, except perhaps people in my business who help families navigate this chaos. But enough is enough. Colleges need to work together to make the process more manageable and sane.

First, all colleges and universities in the United States should standardize their requirements and deadlines. The Common Application should be used for this purpose unless and until a better solution is developed. Additionally, all colleges should require the same personal statement and only one supplemental essay – I’d suggest the popular prompt of “Why do you want to attend this specific college?” because it forces students to research the schools to which they are applying.

Yes, I hear you admission staff. A standardized process with just two essays will actually drive up the number of students applying to multiple colleges. This is why I also suggest capping the number of colleges to which a student can apply at 12. In my experience, this number allows plenty of choices while encouraging students to focus their attention on colleges they would actually attend.

These changes would free up time and resources for college admissions offices, restore sanity during the application process and most importantly, make college more accessible to all.

Whether it is true or not for every individual, we live in an era where a college degree is considered a necessity for success. Perhaps we can at least start a discussion about making it easier to get in.

How to Help Teens Manage the End of the School Year

The school year is coming to a close so that means huge final assignments and lots of fun events for teens. From the ACT and SAT exams to course finals, students are loaded with stressful work. Although they are in the midst of these scholarly activities, there is still prom and other celebratory events for them to unwind at. However, managing all these things can be a challenge. Parents and teachers should pass them the following tips – and keep a few for themselves – to ensure students do well academically and make memories in the process.

1) Plan ahead
Do not procrastinate. Fill out your applications ahead of time, work on your assignments as soon as you get them, and just get things done as soon as you can. You don’t want to be writing final papers when you should be getting ready for prom or at an end of the year party with your friends.

2) Let teachers know what is going on
A lot of teachers will offer flexibility in the right cases. If you ask politely and explain your load, some teachers may be understanding and give you extensions. But while parents and teachers should be understanding, they shouldn’t enable or let teens take advantage. Students need to learn how to schedule and plan.

3) Don’t feel bad for saying no to events
It may be hard for teens to skip out on events that all their friends are going to, but it is important for them to choose whether some are worth going to or just staying for an hour. Students aren’t going to benefit from over-committing themselves or procrastinating in college, so creating good habits now is important.

4) Don’t forget to have fun
Teens shouldn’t get so caught up in getting things done that they lose focus on the here and now, like making memories and enjoying time with their friends. While students shouldn’t burn the candle at both ends, they luckily have a couple of months to recover. Just enjoy your time and finish strong. Do the best that you can so that you know that you’re proud of yourself.

High Expectations From Parents Can Harm Students

Parental expectations that are too high can end up impairing a student’s drive for success in school, research shows.

The observations, published in 2015, are from a five-year study of more than 3,500 middle and high school students in Germany.

Researchers examined the results of annual math tests given to students. They also asked parents to list the grades they hoped their children would earn, as well as the grades they thought their children could reasonably obtain.

The study showed that while realistic expectations helped kids perform well, unrealistically high expectations harmed student achievement.

“Although parental aspiration is an important vehicle through which children’s academic potential can be realized, excessive parental aspiration can be poisonous,” researchers noted.

The team repeated their study using data from US students and parents, and saw the same patterns.

“High parental aspiration led to increased academic achievement, but only when it did not overly exceed realistic expectation,” according to a press release from the American Psychological Association, which published the study. “When aspiration exceeded expectation, the children’s achievement decreased proportionately.”

What Counselors Are Doing to Get Your Kid into College

As much as people would like to believe, many, in fact, do not know the full extent of the responsibilities (as well as the impact each has on students) exhibited by high school counselors. Ask any parent and you will find that at least eight out of every 10 of them will just restrict them to the assistance they provide to students in dealing with everyday issues at school and home.

While does that account for at least one of the duties of a high school counselor, it barely scratches the surface. High school counselors have a range of jobs designed to not only help students get through school but also assist them in building a prosperous and sustainable future for themselves.

Not only that but, according to Peggy Hines, Director of the Education Trust’s National Center for Transforming School Counseling, the role of the school counselor is to even direct educational institutes in order to ensure the development of its students in the best manner possible. “School counselors are leaders and advocates, who use data to help the school figure out where, really and truly, they need to focus their school reform efforts and school improvement projects,” says Hines. Many school counselors around the United States have now begun to realise the impact their efforts can have on education and development of students and have, therefore, begun to go the extra mile in order to achieve that goal.

According to a report released by the College Board, a non-profit organization that administers the SAT college entrance exam and oversees the AP program, several schools have integrated a variety of practices and frameworks that have encouraged students to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to get ahead in their academic and professional careers. William M. Raines High School in Florida, for example, has doubled the number of students taking AP exams between 2006 and 2010, largely due to the efforts made by counselors.

Chicago Public Schools has helped boost college enrolment rates for its students from 44% in 2004 to 60% in 2011, all thanks to a retooled counseling model that underscored the significance of gathering data such as school attendance rates, AP enrolment, SAT scores and the completion of college application procedures so that proper action plans could be drafted to suit the needs of each district.

In spite of such advancements, however, there are still a number of schools that continue to unnecessarily complicate the roles of guidance counselors in such institutions by having them perform tasks that do not even compliment their skills and experience. According to the report, nearly 60% of school counselors have said that the coordination of tests on an annual basis also falls under their responsibility along with the occasional fundraiser and party committee. “School counselors are required to have a Master’s degree, teachers are not,” says Pat Martin, Assistant Vice President of College Board’s National Office for School Counselor Advocacy. “To assign the kinds of clerical, low-level duties that school counselors are doing across the country is a terrible underutilization of a really, really critical force of people that could be redeployed to do meaningful things for students.”

By putting greater emphasis on research to figure out the current status of variables that determine the performance of students throughout the year and by using that information to help improve students’ capabilities, counselors can help make much greater impact on high school education.

A Typical Day in the Life of a Guidance Counselor

High school guidance counselors aren’t meant to have it easy. As if helping students to deal with a vast variety of both personal and professional issues wasn’t enough, high school guidance counselors have to weather the inevitable storm of college application time; when students are up to their neck in the sea of essays and personal statements.

For many high school counselors, however, there is the added responsibility of trying to project an image that is not only positive but also unique; many universities require that high school guidance counselors draft an essay termed the ‘Secondary School Report’ which is submitted to the university along with the student’s official academic transcript. The nature of the report is based on the counselor’s perspective of the student; what he/she thinks make him/her different from the rest, paying particular attention to not only that student’s performance in the academic field but also outside of it.

The relevance of the question posed to high school guidance counselors notwithstanding, (it adequately gives a comprehensive picture of what to expect from the student), it requires a great amount of energy, time and effort on behalf of the high school guidance counselor. As many high school guidance counselors are already swamped with work deadlines on a regular basis, there is virtually no time left to develop a proper connection with the student which could probably help the counselor determine the uniqueness of that student’s personality.

As a result, many high school guidance counselors resort to writing standard essays; a one-size-fits-all where, at the most, a name or a particular characteristic of the student is changed in order to ensure a degree of non-uniformity. This is the only way to ensure that all deadlines are met, which is problematic because it does not guarantee the qualitative data that university applications are looking for.

On the other side of the coin, universities are also unnecessarily complicating the process. By making the ‘Secondary School Report’ obligatory to draft, universities are putting high school guidance counselors in a tough spot, despite many college applications requiring two separate essays drafted on behalf of teachers which effectively should defeat the very purpose of such a report.

As far as high school guidance counselors are concerned, all that is needed is a little bit of organized efficiency whereby they can view important factors related to a student’s development and performance at school such as school-related achievements, possible disciplinary actions and extra-curricular activities through either a checklist or a short-answer section.

Until and unless these changes happen and as long as university applications continue to include such reports, there remains little hope that high school guidance counselors will get any slack around college application time. Yet, this may be the impetus needed for high schools to start looking into revamping their school counseling system and instead develop greater contact and interaction between high school guidance counselors and students in order to ensure that students get the assistance and guidance they need.DiverseStudents_Zoom

Why Parents Should Meet with Their Child’s Counselor

Virtually every school holds Parent-Teacher meetings as not only do they keep parents abreast of their child’s progress at school but they also give teachers the chance to assess the kind of environment in which their students are being brought up in. Through such meetings, both parents and teachers can work together towards creating an atmosphere that is geared towards growth and progressive learning.

Another figure that has rapidly begun to gain prominence with relation to a child’s overall development in school, however, is the school counselor. When it comes to assisting students in dealing with everyday challenges at school, the school counselor plays an integral role in building their confidence and shaping their futures. For parents who wish to help their children develop the skills and knowledge needed to get ahead in their academic and professional careers, it is important that they meet with their child’s school counselor on a regular basis.

In order to get a fair assessment on how their child is doing and what more needs to be done, the following matters can be discussed between the school counselor and parents:

Academic Performance: Through their meeting with the student counselor, parents can identify any weak spots that their child may have as well as determine the best way in which they can be improved.

Career Path: Since school counselors remain updated about their students’ academic and professional aspirations as well as their aptitude for various subject fields, parents can discuss with them the best possible career path for their child and even help devise a personalized plan that outlines the skills, aptitude and attitudes needed to attain success in their chosen field.

College Options: If their child has expressed the desire to go to college, parents can collaborate with their child’s school counselor to determine the best local and international options for higher education. The student counselor can advise parents on the various aptitude tests needed to attain admission in various universities as well as the different kinds of courses that their child will need to enroll for in order to increase his/her chances of getting into the college of their choice. In addition, a student counselor can also guide both parents as well as their students on college applications, which universities offer scholarships as well as the compilation of various other application materials.

Letters of Recommendation: A number of universities require a letter of recommendation detailing the student’s overall performance as well as impact on his/her teachers and peers. A student counselor is generally regarded as the best person to draft such a letter as he/she holds the authority over their student’s entire tenure at school. The letter plays a key part in determining whether their student gets in to the university or college of their choice or not as it is on the basis of this document that university admission representatives are able to assess whether the candidate is the right fit for their institution.

Other Opportunities: Parents can also discuss with student counselors various internship or work-study employment opportunities that they believe their child can benefit from and which can help develop the necessary skills and knowledge needed fFather Helping Daughter with Homeworkor either college or a proper career.

A meeting with a student counselor can help parents get a well-rounded perspective of how their child is doing at school and what other improvements are needed in order to ensure long-lasting success, in both the academic as well as professional world.

 

Use Your School Counselor to Your Advantage

A number of high schools in the United States have on-campus school counselors for a reason; these individuals are certified and trained to help students deal with various issues he/she may be facing at school, whether it is related to study or other factors.

Apart from these areas, school counselors also provide assistance to students who are just beginning to apply to college. Not only do they help students with the application process, they also assist them in decisions related to what major they should opt for as well as what they need to do in order to prepare for admission.

If you’re a student who is about to begin applying to college, it is advisable that you set up a private session with your school counselor so that the both of you are able to determine which college will be suitable for you. It is best to state what you want and expect at the onset so that your school counselor is made aware of what your goals are and how you plan on achieving them.

Once you have informed your student counselor of your goal to get into college, he/she can help you by:

  • Planning your classes: Depending on what you plan to major in, your school counselor can help you decide which classes taken during high school can help in your college admission.
  • Identifying special opportunities: Your school counselor can inform you of local college fairs as well as opportunities for you to visit the campus via internships or summer programs. This way, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the college that you plan on applying to.
  • Highlighting the things you need for a college admission: Your school counselor is well aware of the various tests you will need to prepare for in order to get into the college of your choice. He/she can help you get registered for preparatory tests for SAT, ACT and even TOEFL.
  • Figuring out how you should pay for college: A lot of colleges offer financial assistance on a need or merit basis. Your high school counselor can help point out the colleges that offer this facility. He/she can also tell you about various scholarship offered by different colleges.
  • Putting everything together in time for the application deadline: Staying in touch with your school counselor will help you keep abreast of the various application and test deadlines. Your school counselor will also help make sure that you have all documents in place to go with your application.

Your school counselor is available for any questions you may have regarding your college application process so don’t hesitate to ask. If you make sure to use your school counselor to your advantage, your college application process is bound to be a breeze.

Counseling and Admission: Your Ticket to College Success

counseling

High school counselors and college admission representatives play an integral role in shaping students’ futures by assisting them in making college-related decisions that are suited to them.

At the end of every school year, it’s common to see high school seniors neck deep in the college application process. Most college application dates clash with school finals, thus giving students less time to thoroughly research the colleges they are applying to. In such situations, these groups of professionals emerge as extremely helpful guides. Continue reading Counseling and Admission: Your Ticket to College Success

4 Top Websites for Scholarships

 

As a new semester and school year dawns upon us this September. Our bank balance empty from back to school shopping and very necessary vacations during the summer, scholarships can be very useful and helpful for us and our bank accounts.

Here, you can find the top 4 websites that offer scholarships weekly, and one scholarship from each website.

Continue reading 4 Top Websites for Scholarships