caseload for a High School Counselor: 500 students. That means three things.
First, they could potentially throw together one heck of a bingo game.
Second, these people have lots of experience working with students just like you.
Third, you had better not need any special or individualized attention, because therearen’t enough hours in the day. Science is working on it, but it’s harder than
you might think to slow down the Earth’s orbit around the sun.
help! Woot! High School Counselors are available to enrolled students at no
extra charge. They won’t even accept tips. They also have tons of experience and
are familiar with hundreds of colleges, so they can be a great resource. Some
of the truly exceptional ones will even offer to go to college for you. Bless their hearts.
Popularity is a double-edged sword. (Note: owning a double-edged sword tends to make you very popular.) Counselors often work with hundreds of students, and that number is growing every year. The average caseload for counselors in California is nearly1000 students, so don’t be offended if, in passing, they call you “Judith.”
(This will make sense to all readers except those named Judith.)
Your High School Guidance or College Counselor is there to help you sort through all the BS (Bureaucratic Silliness) so you can make informed decisions about your high school and college careers. You didn’t know it was a “career,” did you? Hey, where’s your paycheck?
These fellas can serve as resources for the college search process, completing applications, taking standardized tests… they can make sense of all the mumbo jumbo involved in the application process. (If applying to a school in Louisiana, be prepared to run into a bunch of mumbo gumbo.
Bet on the High School
You are fairly independent and self-motivated and don’t require individualized
attention. So… you know how to tie your own shoes, for starters.
Private counselors cost money. Not just a bit of spare change either. An
inexpensive counselor might set you back a couple of grand, while the in-demand
superstars can charge more than $40,000 – pretty much what it costs to go to
college for a year or two. So… hopefully you can find a private counselor who
is also really good at teaching you how photosynthesis works. A
two-birds-one-stone kinda deal.
Individual, one-on-one attention. Just the way you like it. Private counselors will meet or speak with you regularly, rather than just when they can “squeeze you in,” and they’ll help you with college research, applications and essays. If you spent the summer running a bikini car wash, they’ll help you come up with the title“Automotive Cleaning and Visual Stimulation Facilitator.”
The biggest distinguishing factor between private counselors and school counselors is that private counselors generally provide substantial help on your essays and often help with the final “packaging” on your overall application, while school counselors simply don’t have the time to do that for every student. Busy, busy bees they are.
Money, money, money. Private counselors will cost you gobs of it. And sometimes the money you pay makes it difficult to make your own decisions when they disagree with you. Although… you could probably give them more money to change their mind on the matter…
It’s important to remember that private counselors can make your application look better, but can’t redefine who you are or remake your high school career—there’s only so much anyone else can do to make you look good. Even Banana Republic has its limitations.
Private College Counselors aren’t quite as introverted as their name implies. Most of them are pretty open communicators. Some of them will still blush when you ask uncomfortable questions though.
Private Counselors are in the business of helping you get into college, by whatever…legal means necessary. They may be independent or work for a firm, and might be educators, business people, or even parents who learned about the process by helping their own kids.
Bet on a Private Counselor
If: You can
afford one. Keep in mind that you (or more likely your parents) are also going
to be paying for a four year education, so really consider the financial burden
you’re likely putting on them and weigh it against the potential benefits.
Remember how crabby your parents can be when they’re out of money, and keep
that in mind.