How Do I Chose My Counselor? Do I Really Need One?
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How Do I Chose My Counselor? Do I Really Need One?

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Insights & Information
  • Published on 24 Jun 2024

The journey from high school to college is exciting yet daunting. Cutthroat competition, academic demands, and high expectations can overwhelm a high schooler. While the internet is a mecca of information, it often fails to bridge the gap between your aspirations and the road ahead, as the information provided is generic and not specific. One size does not fit all!

The application process, adopted by top U.S universities and colleges, has also influenced the best of The Indian Liberal Arts institutions, such as Ashoka, KREA, and FLAME. Universities seek beyond academics. They seek diversity through critical thinking, creativity, and communicating their ideas, passions, and interests This diversity is demonstrated through participation in various extracurricular activities, school clubs, volunteer work, passion projects, and more. Students combine their achievements in a Statement of Purpose (SOP) and personal essays, which reflect their unique selves. The process thereby is more complex than it seems. The Counselors play a prominent role in the application process via their knowledge and experience.

Who is a Counselor?

A Counselor bridges the gap between the applicants and the universities. Their expertise and experience help students draw out their strengths and weaknesses, by way of interactions. This guidance occurs within a structured framework set by the counselor. The mentoring process typically involves Bi-monthly meetings with students (which can be tailored to the student's needs). These meetings provide counselors with insights into:

  • Students interests - To facilitate a deeper understanding of student's interests and aspirations, counselors often employ strategies like breaking the ice through meetings. One effective tool is encouraging students to create a "no holds barred Bucket List." This approach helps counselors gain insight into students' passions and aspirations, fostering a more personalized counseling process.
  • Identifying potential projects through brainstorming and exploring personal interests- Counselors delve deep into the student's interests as highlighted in the point above. This initiates constructive brainstorming sessions between the Counselor and the student. The process helps set goals and objectives once the potential projects are identified. Throughout this process, counselors provide continuous support and guidance.
  • Develop personal essays- A critical component of the college application process. Counselors help students craft a compelling narrative by reviewing essay prompts provided by colleges and universities. Reflection on experiences via various brainstorming sessions reflects on significant experiences, Challenges overcome, pivotal moments, and personal growth.
  • Crafting a compelling Statement Of Purpose- Counselors thoroughly review the SOP prompts to help students highlight specific aspects of their academic backgrounds, research interests, and career aspirations. They assist students in highlighting relevant coursework, research experiences, internships etc. Counselors guide students in weaving their personal experiences, challenges and influences to create a unique and personal story which brings out the students unique background and perspective.

To identify whether or not you need a counselor can be concluded by answering the following questions -

1 . Where do you want to apply?

  • Ivy Leagues - Highly competitive colleges
  • Top US Universities such as MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley- Highly competitive colleges
  • UK- OXBRIDGE, London School Of Economics - Highly competitive colleges
  • New Age Indian Liberal Arts colleges such as Ashoka, FLAME - Highly competitive colleges

The more competitive the college, (in general) the more complex the application process. A counselor understands the nuances involved and can be of assistance to guide the student in building a unique and reflective profile.

  1. Does your school have counselors?

Most schools in India do not have dedicated counselors. As per a survey conducted by The Times of India, there is a deficit of 93% counselors.  With the growing number of options and complexities in the application process, students somehow lack proper guidance that helps increase their chances of getting admission to their future choice of university.

  1. Can you or your parents devote the necessary time to the application process?

The admissions process, no matter how complex, is not impossible to achieve with one's true intent, dedication, and motivation. If parents have time and skills, they can do much of the job of a good counselor. The challenge, however, would remain in them assuming that role, given that they are perceived primarily as the child's parents, not as impartial advisors.

Caveats: Points to note

  1. A counselor is not a guarantee for your admissions.
  2. A counselor does not take action on your behalf.
  3. A counselor does not make the admission decisions.
  4. Students remain responsible for completing their applications, essays, and other requirements independently.

How To Choose My Counselor?

It's crucial to begin by understanding your needs and requirements. Once you have clarity on these aspects, your next step should be to find a reliable counselor. You can achieve this by

  • Checking reviews and testimonials on individual or company websites
  • Seeking advice from friends and family who have experience with the process,
  • Being cautious of unrealistic promises and risks.
  • Since it concerns your child's future, involving them in these decisions can be beneficial and they often provide valuable insights. Making these choices together ensures a more informed and thoughtful approach.

Being well-informed empowers you to weigh your options effectively, enabling you to make informed decisions. Ultimately, whether you are a parent or a student, the decision rests in your hands.