The Personalized College Counseling Process at Roycemore School
Mauricio Robert, College Counselor
In the increasingly selective world of college admissions, there is nothing more important to achieving post-secondary success than careful planning. Most schools tend to offer guidance to students towards the end of Junior year and the beginning of Senior year, but this is typically not enough time to have a meaningful impact on maximizing students’ college opportunities. Nowadays, the most outstanding college applicants are those who have spent their high school years crafting a 4-year narrative showcasing growth and an increased desire to pursue either an academic interest or extracurricular passion to its fullest degree.
Previously, college applications used to be more about seeking out well-rounded students that would typically try to excel in everything by taking the most demanding classes available to them across all subjects and overloading on extracurricular commitments. Unsurprisingly, that sort of mindset led to significant student burnout and created an unhealthy culture in which high schoolers felt they had to participate in anything they could, regardless of actual interest in the matter, in order to stand out from their peers. Nowadays colleges are trying to rectify this mindset by expressing a greater interest in students with more angular profiles. Currently, admissions officers are more impressed by students that take the time early in high school to refine their academic interests to one or two subjects and demonstrate more sustained commitment or leadership within a small handful of extracurriculars, typically no more than three.
Though this is a change for the better in the sense that it will be conducive to students pursuing a small handful of things that they are genuinely interested in, it also presents new challenges because students will have to be more mindful of how they can shape their high school experience to be more of a story about expertise.
I believe that a 4-year college counseling process is what is necessary to help students create truly passionate high school narratives. I plan on spending time with 9th grade students to help them explore a wide variety of academic and extracurricular options so they can better reflect on how their own strengths and interests might be more conducive towards pursuing certain paths. I work with 10th grade students to help them refine their initial explorations to a smaller group of genuine passions that they can then explore to their fullest degree. I help 11th grade students create a meaningful capstone project that can showcase either their academic expertise or leadership initiatives within their areas of interest. By the time students start applying to colleges in 12th grade, I am able to not only help students reflect on how their passions might translate into good matches for different types of colleges but also guide them in how to present their achievements on their applications in compelling ways.
Overall, the work I do at Roycemore is more than just getting students into college. It is about helping them develop their identities as young adults through their pursuit of genuine passions. I hope that this type of counseling can not only make the college application process less stressful for students, but also encourage them to view high school as an opportunity for meaningful self-discovery.