My philosophy is that information and clear communication are the key elements that will inform the client-counselor relationship. I want my clients to feel informed, but not overwhelmed. To that end, I believe clear communication of each step we will take to reach our shared objectives is key to a successful outcome.
Recognizing that the student is on the path to becoming an independent adult, I believe in a student-centered approach to college access counseling. I also, however, believe that a student’s family members should be kept apprised with information and clear communication about the process, decisions, and path the student is taking as a result of our collaboration. I will provide written materials to the student and his or her family members that describe the roadmap of our process and the various topics that I have or will be discussing with the student. I will also email a synopsis of each of my meetings to the student and family members, together with supplemental written materials that explore with more specificity the topics I’ve discussed with the student. Students and their family members can email me at any time with questions.
I believe that each college-bound student has multiple AAA college choices and that my job is to work with the student and the family to insure they have identified and applied to more than one AAA school that will meet the student’s aspirations for their college years. What do I mean by AAA in this context? Colleges that are affordable (A), a solid fit for academics (A), and accessible and authentic (A) from the standpoint of meeting the student's social, cultural, and emotional needs.
There shouldn’t be a single AAA school at the top of a student’s list, with all others standing in as lesser options. I believe it’s critical for a college access counselor to convey the emotional toll exacted by an outsize fixation on a single school, the Ivies, or the national rankings lists. My goal is to demonstrate to my clients how many AAA options are available to each student and to find the specific AAA schools that best suit the student.
Each element of the AAA formula is important, but some students will place greater weight on one factor over the others. My job is to educate students and their families about each of the factors, regardless of the ultimate weight given to any one factor. I will, however, pay particular attention to the affordability or financial factors as appropriate.
Providing all the information, at a reasonable pace, and communicating clearly about objectives at each step in the process is the key to a successful outcome. The goal is for the student and her family to feel confident that she has a solid list of AAA schools to apply to in fall of senior year, that she is comfortable that she can thrive academically, financially afford, and have a positive emotional and social experience at several AAA schools on her list, and that she and her family have the tools and information necessary to make an ultimate choice for acceptance and enrollment at one of those schools.