Counselors

The State of College Admissions

The State of College Admissions

The National Association for College Admissions Counseling, or NACAC, released its annual “State of College Admissions” report. The report is based on a survey of over 2,200 high school counselors and almost 500 college admissions officers. You can read the full report here. It’s worth at least browsing and checking out the charts. Here are my top take-aways for smart, ambitious college-bound high school students.

It's time to say "thank you"

It's time to say "thank you"

For most high school seniors, the active part of school applications is winding down. Now is the time for waiting. While you're waiting to hear from schools and thinking about how to choose from your acceptances, take some time to write some thank you notes. Write one to everyone who has done something for you along the way: teachers who wrote recommendation letters, counselors who sent off transcripts, college admissions personnel who answered questions, people who took time to interview you. Everybody. They gave some of their time to help you, and you should thank them if you haven't already

Be kind to your counselor

Be kind to your counselor

Most high school students--and their parents--think their own counselor at school is less than great. But most high school counselors are severely overworked. The American School Counselor Association recommends one counselor per 250 students, but in the U.S. the average is almost double that. Even the best counselors have trouble keeping up with twice as much work as is reasonable. There's not much you can do about the quality of your own assigned counselor nor the workload they have, but there are some things you can do to make it easier for your counselor to do a great job for you.

Preparing to talk about college

Preparing to talk about college

My friend's daughter has already done a lot of thinking about school, and she's been smart about it: "she wants it to be relatively small, in an urban area, have great science facilities and opportunities to work directly with professors. She's thinking biology, likely pre-med, but also acknowledges that she might abandon that entirely when she gets to school in favor of something more like politics or public policy. If you ask her casually, she's pretty articulate about her thought process." So why did her daughter, when asked about her plans by a professional who wants to help her, just shrug and say "I don't know"?

Saying "Thank you"

Saying "Thank you"

For most high school seniors, the active part of school applications is winding down. Now is the time for waiting. While you're waiting to hear from schools and thinking about how to choose from your acceptances, take some time to write some thank you notes. Write one to everyone who has done something for you along the way: teachers who wrote recommendation letters, counselors who sent off transcripts, college admissions personnel who answered questions, people who took time to interview you. Everybody. They gave some of their time to help you, and you should thank them if you haven't already.