My name is Abby Schuster and I’m going to tell you a bit more about the college counseling process at Lawrence Academy!
The College Counseling office is home to our beloved College Counselors. Their office is tucked away on the second floor of the Ferguson Building.
While many students will not officially meet with their college counselor until junior year, most of us already know them as teachers, coaches, dorm parents, and advisors. The fact that our counselors are more than just college experts is extremely helpful when working on a list of prospective colleges. When it is time to start talking about the college admissions journey, students will be surrounded by familiar faces they already have strong personal connections with. This makes the process a lot less daunting!
During freshman and sophomore years, the college counseling team has grade-wide meetings addressing the importance of grades, school involvement, and testing (PSAT, ACT, SAT). In the fall of junior year, students select a college counselor. By having the flexibility to choose my counselor, I was able to select someone who knew me as a student and as part of the LA community. This allowed us to get right to work. Over the course of junior year, smaller group and one on one meetings are frequently held. By the end of my junior year, I had my college list complete, a personal essay draft, and a solid plan for my summer. I was a lot less overwhelmed, and I was able to focus on the things that mattered most in my college journey.
One of the sayings that I think represents our college counseling at LA is “you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” All the college counselors are there to help you, but it is up to you how much you want to use them as a resource. They are more than willing to meet with students and parents anytime on top of the routine meetings. There are also many optional resources you can take advantage of as well! The college counseling office hosts programs for parents to help them understand the complex college process.
Being the oldest child in my family, I was the first to go through this process, and my parents and I knew very little. The college counseling office made this intimidating process for newbies very doable. LA college counseling also offers an optional “College Application Bootcamp” in early August for rising seniors. During the week, students attend workshops on the Common App, your personal statement, interview prep, supplemental essays, and most importantly how to remove stress and be confident. There is also a guest speaker from a college admissions office who shares more about the process. While the workshop is offered on campus, there is also a remote option for students that live further away. Once September rolls around, there are additional after-school workshops and plenty of opportunities to meet one on one with your counselor.
In the end, I had a wonderful experience with college counseling over my four years at LA. My college counselor established a strong relationship with the admissions reps from my prospective schools. I got into my top school because of the relationship with my college counselor and the time and effort they put into me and my application. My biggest tip for parents and students is to use your resources and plan ahead.