than ever before, it’s difficult for high-achieving students to narrow down their college lists. Applying to college requires a lot of time from students and money from their parents, and in the end, you can only matriculate at one school. Many students fall into one of two categories. Either they set their sights on all eight Ivy League schools, plus other top schools like Stanford and Duke, or they under-shoot and only consider “safety” schools. The first type of student bases his/her decision on prestige and high rankings alone, whereas the second type allows their fear and anxiety about applying to college get in the way of their true potential. This kind of thinking makes more work for the students, as they end up over applying to schools on either end of the spectrum. We’ve found that the best approach is for students to apply to a few reaches, match, and safety schools, and ultimately to choose the school that’s the best cultural and academic fit for them. Near peer mentors are not only knowledgeable about colleges but also have recently attended college and have friends who studied at other universities. These mentors give students valuable insights into campus life and special features of each school that aren’t readily apparent after a google search. Guidance from a near-peer mentor can help students craft a college list consisting of reach, match, and safety schools that uniquely aligns with that student’s needs.

5. Understanding the American College System

国彩凤凰appInternational students intending to study in the U.S. especially benefit from college counseling. Just as the college admissions landscape has transformed over the past few decades, it differs greatly from country to country. The best way to learn how to navigate an unfamiliar territory is by following a local. Differences in what’s socially acceptable and valued come across through the personal essay and supplemental essays. Students should demonstrate their awareness of these differences by staying true to their personality while presenting themselves in a way that is appealing and attractive to college admissions officers. In addition to essay writing, international students benefit from advice about American standardized testing. A private college counselor can help a student determine what a “good” score looks like for them, decide whether they should take the SAT or ACT, and strategize for success on the SAT subject tests.

6. Accountability

国彩凤凰appParents have jobs and guidance counselors have their hands full with a large roster of students. Neither one ends up with enough time to help their students who have schedules full of studying, homework, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. A private college counselor does more than simply assign more tasks for a student to do; they act as accountability partners who help students keep their goals in sight and stay on the path toward achieving them.

Applying to college signals an impending major life change for each and every student, and a shift in family dynamics, as a result, is inevitable. Throughout this emotionally laborious process, it’s important for students to understand what they’re capable of and not put themselves under too much pressure. If the stress of the season is getting to you or to your child, consider the benefits of a mentor who can act as a friend as well as a teacher, encouraging students to live up to their potential in the college admissions process. It’s amazing to see what students can accomplish with the right support and motivation from a near-peer mentor.

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