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College Search Strategies
Portola Valley, CA
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College Search Strategies Blog

High School Student? Second Semester? Do I need an Independent Counselor?

Time flies when you're having fun!--or just raising a family. Suddenly you realize it's January, not even early January, but mid-to-late January! Should you panic? When is the right time to start looking for an independent college counselor, and really, do you need one? 

Well, that's two questions:  First, Do you need one? 

The value of an independent college counselor is immeasurable. What does an independent offer that the school counselors don't? Mostly, time... and a very individualized approach, which may or may not be available through the high school. Working with an independent counselor, a student has the opportunity to explore interests, navigate the myriad choices in universities and colleges, design a personal plan for creating a college list and creating a timeline to complete all that's required to apply, learn about latest admissions practices,  and work at a pace that fits both the student and family. So, do you need one? It kind of depends on the family, but what if by working with an independent counselor there might be less stress on the family, then yes. What if the independent counselor also fosters independence in the student? Then, definitely, yes.

And the other question? When should you start to look for an independent counselor?

Now is a good time: January, February, March. Counselors have completed most of the work with current seniors, so they have time to interview potential clients, and they'll have openings. Starting second semester, whether freshman, sophomore or junior, will help alleviate stress and worry. It will allow most students time to figure out how to spend their summers wisely and effectively. 

But, most importantly, it will offer students and their families time to begin to dream: what if??? What if my teen found 8 or 10 really perfect first choice colleges? Colleges where he or she really, truly believes will be great fits? Time to talk and laugh; visit and plan; organize and execute all that is needed to seek admission. No guarantees, but... what if??? 

Working with an independent college counselor will give you and your teenager a chance to dream. THAT's the value of an independent counselor. NOW is the time to find one.