Should college counseling start at the beginning of Fourth Form? Considering the record low acceptance rates in colleges this year, some students say yes. Applying to colleges is a stressful process for everyone. Having someone there to guide you through the process is beneficial, but will starting the process earlier help or hinder students?
Fourth Formers are assigned their college counselors in the spring. Yet some students feel the stress of the college process much earlier than spring of sophomore year. But are our college counselors prepared to deal with another class of students a year earlier than they do now? Might the urge to start early take time and resources from the Fifth and Sixth Formers who are deeper into the process? How many students can one counselor reasonably take on at once?
Let’s say there are one hundred and twenty students in each grade, and we have four college counselors. With our current system, that’s 60 students across two grades per counselor. If we were to add another grade to the list, it’s 90 students per counselor. That’s a 50% increase. Is that manageable or fair to students or counselors?
Perhaps a better question is: are Fourth Formers feeling the stress which accompanies college applications yet?
According to Fourth Former Finn Kelly, “Yes. A lot of my friends have put themselves into more communities than they should or want to, just for the point of saying, ‘Oh, it’ll look good for college.’ Which is kind of bad, in my opinion.”
But Fourth Former Liam French offers a different perspective, “I don’t honestly care when [college counseling] starts. It’s just that parents put the most pressure on their kids, in my opinion.”
While several Fourth Formers note feeling stretched and feeling some stress, there is no consensus about whether starting the college counseling process earlier will help.
“I feel some stress with classes. I just do extracurriculars because I enjoy them,” Fourth former Mason Wiegand says.
“You just get overstretched,” French said. “It’s a lot to do all at once, but it just takes a lot of time management.”
But couldn’t our amazing college counselors help with this time management?
While each Fourth Former I interviewed had a different opinion on when the college counseling process should start, they all shared anxiety over topics our college counselors would likely be able to provide insight into.
Though a specific college counselor is not assigned until Fourth Form spring, the counselors are always available to answer questions. A quick email or stopping into the college counseling office may be all that is needed to ease a concern.
Obviously, we can all benefit from a little extra help, but our college counselors can only do so much. Because of this fact, it is probably best that we stick to what we know and keep the current college counseling system.