Breakout Recap: College Counselors Make the Case for Earlier Intervention
Breakout Recap: College Counselors Make the Case for Earlier InterventionRobert Fuller, Director, Executive Communications
In a lively session on Tuesday afternoon at Forum 2014, a roomful of secondary school college counselors and college admissions officers debated the merits, challenges, limits, methods, and strategic possibilities of reaching out to students and their families earlier than junior year. The three panelists – Jim McGuire, Director of College Counseling at Louisville Collegiate, KY; Kyle Graham, Upper School Dean at Harvard-Westlake School, CA; and Nat Smitobol, a college admissions counselor with IvyWise, LLC in New York – advocated for what they called a comprehensive counseling model.
In this approach, a counselor helps a student build their high school story throughout their secondary school years, rather than arriving on the scene simply to help them “tell” their story once the student is ready to apply to college. Among the many advantages of such a model, they argued, is the rapport and trust built over the years between counselor and student, as well as the student’s family, which opens the door to more versatile, realistic, and effective counseling.
Some audience members countered that obstacles such as time and resource constraints, parental assumptions and expectations, and the vagaries of college admissions criteria make the comprehensive model either unlikely or fruitless. Nevertheless, the underlying proposal was well received as an important launching discussion on how to maximize the benefits of the student-counselor relationship.