The Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause unprecedented changes in college admissions. Because schools remain shuttered, high schoolers now lack the in-person help they traditionally could receive from high school counselors to meet critical admissions deadlines and requirements. This situation is exacerbating the already difficult role that school counselors face in providing adequate help with college admissions.
There are many high schoolers who have not met with their school counselors and their school counselors don’t really know them. High school counselors in public schools spend the majority of their time on school activities unrelated to college admissions.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2019 State of College Admissions (using data from NACAC’s 2018–19 Counseling Trends Survey and the US Department of Education) reported: “that on average, public high school counselors spend only 19 percent of their time on college admissions counseling. On the other hand, the counseling staff at private schools spent an average of 31 percent of their time on college counseling. The results of NACAC’s 2018–19 Counseling Trends Survey indicated the average overall student-to-counselor ratio for public secondary schools (ending in grade 12) was 263-to-1. Data regarding the extent to which college advising is part of counselors’ job responsibilities showed the average student-to-college counselor ratio was 309-to-1. Public institutions assigned substantially more students to counselor.”
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a maximum 250-to-1 ratio. Most states are significantly higher than this. The most recent student-school counselor data (2018-2019) available from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The student-to-college counselor ratio is based on both the total number of counselors who exclusively provide college counseling for students and the total number who provide college counseling among other services for students.
High school counselors are tasked with a multitude of duties. It is a well-documented fact that 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. Now they must do all of this without the benefit of personal contact with their students.
With the heavy workload of most high school counselors, few are able to know their students well or have the time to provide the personalized attention needed during the college admissions process. Now add to this mix the new and unfamiliar challenges of closed schools, distance learning, cancelled standardized testing, alterations in traditional student evaluations, limited ability to visit colleges, cancelled summer activities, cancelled internships, cancelled sports, changes in extracurricular activities, etc. Welcome to the new era of college admissions!
Many high school parents who call us are anxious over the fact that their children currently aren’t in school and they are focused very much on day-to-day living. Some parents are aware of the differences in methods of providing education between independent schools, which provide remote active classroom interactions with student participation, as well as assignments and projects vs public schools, requiring parental home-schooling for completion of assignments. Furthermore, they have not been planning ahead and are not keeping up to date with various changes in admissions deadlines, test cancellations and other issues that usually require multiple in-person school counselor meetings.
Given the level of uncertainty and the timing of the pandemic at a point when high school juniors are on the verge of college application planning, it’s important to understand the impact on student (and parental) planning.
Many parents are concerned with how the COVID-19 pandemic has and will affect their children’s chances of acceptance to colleges, especially to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities and BS/MD programs.
In our recent webinar: “Navigating the College Admissions Process: COVID-19”, many parents stated that they have a very hard time keeping up with college admissions. Parents are frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed and at times confused as they try to understand the competitive process, because they rely on books, algorithms and unreliable third-party advice about college admissions. From these antiquated and outdated sources, many parents believed that they knew all there was to know about competitive college admissions. However, they are now in new and unfamiliar territory.
Navigating this new frontier requires expert admissions advice, insight, foresight, specialized predictive analysis, research and the experience to spot pitfalls and avoid irrevocable mistakes that may result in rejections letters.
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
“We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – 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 Advisors.