High School Guidance Counselors/College Admissions: Big Caseloads and Little Time

Over 20 years being an admissions advisor, I receive calls from parents to retain our services for college admissions.  All of their children have guidance counselors and many are from suburban public schools in the NJ, CT NY RI and MA.  Students were applying to range of universities and BS/MD programs.

Because of the increasing competition to get into top colleges, many families feel overwhelmed and stressed by the college admissions process.  Moreover, the process can seem so complex that families may want the assistance, resources and knowledge of an expert who focuses solely on the college admissions process and who spends more time and individualized attention than guidance counselors can provide.  Many parents and students discover too late (their children receive rejection letters) in the college admissions process that they should have hired a college admissions expert.

With the heavy workload of most high school counselors, few know their students well or have the time to provide personalized attention needed in this vital process.  Public school systems burden counselors with many duties unrelated to college counseling including but not limited to, testing, scheduling, crisis counseling, social/emotional counseling, occupational counseling/job placement, etc.

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Consider the results of studies and sources summarized below:

  1. In a February 2015, in an op-ed piece in USA Today, former First Lady Michelle Obama, wrote eloquently: “There’s the world of the schools most of our kids attend where school counselors are too often under-valued and overstretched, and they simply don’t have what they need to do their jobs. While the American School Counselor Association recommends no more than 250 students per counselor, the national average is one counselor for every 471 students. And often, school counselors are burdened with all kinds of unrelated responsibilities such as proctoring exams, substitute teaching, even monitoring the lunchroom. Many school counselors find themselves doing triage, juggling those duties while trying to help kids in crisis and also keep up with the latest college admissions deadlines and requirements.”
  2. The National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2018 State of College Admissions reported that on average, public high school guidance counselors spend only 21 percent of their time on college admissions counseling. High school guidance counselors spend the majority of their time on school activities unrelated to college admissions.
  3. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey indicated that high school guidance counselors have an average caseload of 195 to as high as 708 students making them unable to provide adequate college guidance.
  4. A National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) 2012 annual survey of school counselors also indicated that regardless of staffing, no counselor reported sufficient training in any of the areas related to college counseling.
  5. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) compiled a report that indicated that school counselors currently serve an average of 482 students, a caseload nearly twice the recommended maximum of 250.
  6. The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) stated: “An educational consultant brings to the family the knowledge and skills of an experienced professional coupled with a commitment to assuring the [student’s] best interests are met. Educational consultants counsel students and their families in the selection of educational programs based on the student’s individual needs and talents.”
  7. Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization a survey that indicated that most people who graduated from high school in the past dozen years say their counselors provided little meaningful advice about college and nearly half said that their counselors made them fell “like I was just another face in the crowd”.
  8. The Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) stated: “A professional educational consultant works one-on-one with each student, helping to identify colleges and universities that offer the best matches for the student’s unique needs, and keeping the student on track through every phase of the college application process.”

“Top qualified applicants, after all their hard work (and parents’ work) and preparation deserve the best and should not settle for less” – Dr. Paul Lowe

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

What If You Are Rejected or Deferred Early Action/Decision? 2018

High School Seniors are receiving their College Admissions Early Decision/Early Action results.  The results are producing a mixture of palpable emotions.  While some happy students settle in for the holidays with their acceptance letters in hand, others will be disappointed and distressed in discovering that they have been deferred to the regular decision pool, or worse, rejected by the college or university (after all of their hard work).  For those who are deferred, their applications will be re-considered along with the thousands of Regular Decision applicants.  In the Regular Decision pool, the selection process becomes even more competitive and selective.

Many students try the strategy of applying to what they perceived to be safety schools because they think the school will likely accept them early, only to discover that they are also deferred or rejected.  In either case, whether deferred or rejected, SOMETHING WENT WRONG!  The problem is that the application errors that caused the rejection or deferral, if not discovered, will continue without rectification to the regular decision pool and result in multiple rejections.  When I mention this to parents who call us and many don’t believe me, I usually hear the horrific stories about their children being rejected from everyone of their top-choice schools and even perceived safety schools!

With only a few weeks left in the application season, I recommend that students scrupulously reevaluate their deferred or rejected early decision/early action application and carefully plan a workable strategy in this crunch-time.  You may need to hire an educational consultant who is an expert in post-decision admissions advising.

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For parents who engage our services after the disheartening news of deferral or rejection, I use our post-decision strategies.  I discover what the student did to be rejected or deferred, build upon their current student profile and accomplishments and re-energize their application so that they are removed from the deferred list and placed on the accepted list.

Additionally, I assess the student’s Regular Decision applications (due by January 1) to identify mistakes on their Early Decision/Action application so that their mistakes do not become viral and affect the student’s Regular Decision applications.  The worst thing a student can do is nothing.  The worst thing parents can do is to try this post-decision process on their own.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

Chinese Parents Seek Top U.S. Boarding Schools For Their Children

China continues to be the top country of origin for international students studying in the US, and Chinese students are coming to the US at a younger age, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Around 2 in 5 international students enrolled in US high schools are from China, and the number of Chinese students studying in US high schools has skyrocketed by 48 percent since 2013, according to the IIE’s report Globally Mobile Youth: Trends in International Secondary Students in the US, 2013-2016.

The growing trend among younger Chinese students to study at US elementary and secondary private schools is a result of the growing middle class in China.  Chinese parents want their children to receive high-quality education at the best boarding schools to increase their chances of being accepted to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities.

“Our Pinnacle affiliates, Private School Admissions Advisors and Boarding School Admissions Consultants, focus on the private school entry to K-8 grades and transfer students in the 9th and 10th grades,” said Dr. Paul Lowe, CEO and co-founder of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, a Connecticut-headquartered admission-advisory firm with offices in Manhattan, Greenwich, White Plains, Fort Lee and Princeton, NJ.  “Our approach highlights the potential for future opportunities in that special niche, especially for Chinese parents.”

“There is hyper-competition amongst Chinese parents seeking admissions to top boarding schools for their children, for example in schools like Choate, Exeter, Andover, Peddie, Deerfield, Lawrenceville, Taft, St. Paul’s, Loomis, Blair, Hotchkiss and Hun.  That’s where we come in,” said Dr. Lowe.   “As a result of our research, analysis, insider-knowledge and continual school visits, I am fluent in the language of admissions and understand the politics, psychology, culture, rhythm and diplomacy for acceptance into at top boarding schools.  I also know what key admissions decision makers and key players at these schools are looking for.”

Dr. Lowe’s Private School Visits: Other independent educational consultants may depend on telephonic interviews, group speed meetings in central locations, or simply read literature and review websites and repeat it to families.  I physically visit schools and actively interact with school admissions personnel, senior administrators and students. My clients are, therefore, placed in the most appropriate school for their (and their parents’) happiness.  My approach ensures that your child will be placed in the best and most appropriate top-choice school.  By understanding, analyzing and researching a specific school’s atmosphere, vibe, rhythm, tone, color, experience, culture diversity and mission, my team and I can clearly articulate what differentiates one school from another to consumers/families.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s  Boarding School Admissions Consultants.  and affiliate of Private School Admissions Advisors.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and private schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. boarding schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.