Spend the time that you AND your student need to understand the process and come up with the best results. Unfortunately, school-based counselors have such large caseloads that they don’t have time to really dig into the college search process with each student. This is a national problem (NY Times article) that is even worse in California (Contra Costa Times article). Magellan’s independent counselors have limited caseloads, so we can spend time with you and your student throughout the college application process, ensuring that you know all of your options and the steps it will take to successfully explore, prepare for and apply to colleges that are the best match academically, socially and emotionally.
Expand their options. Most high school students know the names of colleges in the news, and the ones their friends are talking about. Why limit yourself? There are 2,200 four-year colleges out there – many of which are looking for students just like your child! As this infographic shows, students who work with a professional independent counselor are three times more likely to go out of state for college and four times more likely to go to a private university– where there are lots of scholarship opportunities! You can also see that the average independent counselor visits 22 college campuses per year – we visited over twice that many in 2014!
[Click here to download the infographic as a pdf from the Independent Educational Consultants Association; click here to see our write-ups and photos of California colleges and universities and here for out-of-state schools.]
Help them think about “fit.” Your 16 or 17-year old may not know how to determine which colleges are a good fit for them. We use tools and assessments to help them think about what their priorities are, what they are expecting from their college experience, and how to figure out if colleges match their expectations. We work with students over time – sometimes over a year – so we can really get a feel for what kind of learning environment would be best for them.
Help them create a balanced list – bringing in more acceptance letters. One of the biggest issues we encounter is that parents and students – specifically high-performing students – think that they “deserve” to go to a top-tier school. The problem is that there are more high-performing students than seats at most top-tier schools – this is why their acceptance rates are so low! It’s not that you don’t deserve to go to a great school or couldn’t succeed there, it’s just that there isn’t enough room for everyone who wants a spot. Frequently, superstar students have college lists that read straight from the US News & World Report rankings – so they are likely to get more rejection letters than acceptances. An independent college counselor can help these awesome students create a balanced list which will result in acceptance letters – and possibly even merit scholarships!
We have also worked very successfully with lower-performing students – even those with GPAs below 3.0 – showing them that they have more options than they think!
Establish an application timeline so that they feel a sense of control. Most Most high school seniors now apply to between 12-15 colleges. Even students who are not procrastinators may start to feel as if they have to complete all of them at once. Magellan counselors use an online application management system to help our students prioritize tasks and check things off of their task list so they know what’s left to do. We set up “to-do” deadlines, with reminder messages texted or e-mailed to students. Parents also have access to the online system, so you don’t feel like you have to nag your child to complete his/her applications. It’s a win-win!