The last year of secondary school can be pretty tough for all teens. Aside from working hard to get the best grades, you also need to prepare for your college entrance exams, interviews and SATs and ACTs, if you are taking these. You have to create and submit several application packs, too.
Since this is also the last year you will spend with your closest friends, you need to find time in your busy schedules to bond with and do fun things with them.
On top of it all, high school seniors need to choose the right college or university to attend — an important, possibly life-changing decision you can’t make lightly.
Getting counseling for college admission can help you navigate the intricate path of selecting the next school to go to. Additionally, a counselor can give you the assistance you need to make the right decisions and gain control over the whole college application process.
How to Find the Best College Admissions Counselor to Work With
The first step in finding a good private college admissions counselor is to talk with your parents. Keep in mind that they will pay for this service; as such, explain to them why you need the extra help. Make sure they understand the benefits you can gain so that they will give you the support you require.
Once your parents approve your decision, follow these tips for selecting the right college admissions counselor to work with:
1. Look up college admissions counselors online
Many learning centers and individuals offering private college admissions counseling advertise their services online. Because of this, you can quickly narrow down your possible options by starting your search on the Internet.
As you look up the websites and profiles of these service providers online, take note of their qualifications and experiences. Read reviews about them as well to find out if they can provide the help you are expecting to get.
Once you have a few learning centers or persons providing college admissions counseling on your list, discuss them with your parents.
2. Prepare a list of questions to ask
Before asking your parents to set a preliminary meeting with your shortlisted counselors, create a list of questions you want to ask them.
Some of the important questions you have to ask your counselor should be about:
- The scope of their service
- Their educational background
- Their relevant experiences
- Training programs they undertake
- Certifications they have
Additionally, find out how many students they have counseled before. If the counselor is inexperienced, ask about the training they went through when they were acquiring their qualification.
3. Consider your needs
Aside from preparing a list of general questions, think about your specific requirements and circumstances.
For instance, if you want to take a theater arts or music course, find out how the counselor can help you with this. He or she should understand your possible options, such as specific courses, and the best colleges, universities, and conservatories for you that would meet your other requirements, including your budgetary needs.
Have your parents go over your list of needs, too. Ask them if they have any to add since they may know ones that you may not be aware of that have to be considered during the college application process.
4. Meet your possible counselor
Ask your parents to set up a meeting with your shortlisted counselors. If possible, visit their offices so that you can see where they work.
While in their office, find out where the counselor conducts their counseling sessions. If this is where the meeting is taking place, think about how comfortable you feel while inside the room.
Take turns with your parents to ask the counselors questions about the services they offer. While taking note of how informative and complete their answers are, pay attention to how confident they are while speaking throughout the meeting.
Additionally, take note of how comfortable you feel while talking to each counselor. Since you will be spending several hours with your advisor, you have to feel at ease with her from the start and throughout the counseling sessions.
5. Choose a counselor who can address your questions regarding financial aid
When going through the college application process, you have to remember that your parents may have limited resources. As such, you have to understand that you should also find a way to relieve them of some of these burdens.
Find a counselor who can evaluate not only if a school would be a good academic fit for you, but also whether you and your parents can afford it. She should be able to give you some figures you can consider in your decision after calculating potential grants.
The best counselor would be one that can customize her service to your needs, which should cover your financial constraints and requirements. Because of this, find out how prepared and competent the advisor is in assisting you throughout the college application process.
What to Expect From a Competent and Reliable Counselor
Once you have chosen your counselor, she will help you by:
- Preparing and giving you a list of possible colleges and universities that suit your needs and other criteria.
- Assisting you with pre-college planning, which includes selecting the best classes, activities, and summer programs to take that will strengthen your portfolio.
- Preparing for the whole college application process. This includes assisting you in knowing the different types of applications, giving tips for completing them, and identifying options for letters of recommendation.
- Conducting mock interviews that will aid you in getting ready for the actual ones. These sessions will take you through the whole process and prepare you to answer commonly asked questions, which will help alleviate some of your anxieties.
- To give you the best service, your counselor has to consider your individual competencies, qualifications, needs, and profile.
When you find the right counselor and receive the advice and assistance you expect to get, you will breeze through the whole college application process. Additionally, you and your parents can also have a less stressful and more positive experience as you transition from high school to higher education.
Moreover, you will also be able to visualize your success clearly and turn it into reality as you enter your dream college or university.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.