[S1E7] Welcome Back
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[S1E7] Welcome Back
The next morning, the burnt landscape has been replaced with growing things, lush vegetation and fruit-filled trees. Everyone is very happy and excited but amidst this excitement nobody thinks to go after the Stranger and welcome him back and beg for forgiveness. The Harfoots are selfish and cruel, it would seem.
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Lee Coffin:Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Admissions Beat. So the literal Admission Beat usually focuses on the college side of the admission process; application volume and selectivity, preferences, trends. But in doing so, the media narrative often misses a more personal behind the scenes story. A story that plays out with cheers and tears in high schools around the world. In this episode, we spotlight 'Today in College Counseling Land," and we'll talk to two colleagues who work on the other side of the desk from me, that have firsthand insights into the ups and downs of the admission cycle from the parent and the student perspectives.
Charlotte Albright:Because I knew we were having two college counselors on, I have been hearing by the grapevine that there's a huge shortage of college counselors (there's a huge shortage of any kind of counselor) in high school right now. The college counselors, those who just really concentrate on that task, are really in short supply. There's a story in Chalkbeat, which is a nonprofit online news source about higher education. This story happens to be looking at Chicago, and it ran this summer. And the headline is" "One counselor, 665 students: Counselors stretched at Chicago's Majority Latino schools." And it says, the district is going to try to plan to spend $5 million on 64 additional counselors by 2023. So they're trying to address this. Stories like this go way back to 2018 when there was a survey showing this shortage. You went to a high school that had a shortage of college counselors. So how big is this problem
Lee Coffin:It's huge. This is a structural issue where high schools, particularly larger, not just urban, but even suburban schools like the one I attended have a ridiculously big ratio between student and counselor. And you mentioned my... it was a long time ago. My counselor probably had a 500:1 ratio. And when I went to see him in the fall of my senior year, he looked at my transcript. He scoffed, he said, "I don't have time for the smart ones. Go back to class. You'll figure it out." And that was it. That was the sum total of college counseling for Lee as a first-gen college-bound student. And I did figure it out, but it wasn't because the infrastructure in my school helped me do it. And now there's lots of new infrastructure all these years later, but the fact remains in lots of public high schools, this resource is under-utilized or not there.
And I think there's some urgency around it if we're trying to build a larger college-going cohort. If the pipeline is something we all want to focus on, then having people in schools who are not just available but informed about how this work unfolds. You're going to hear a conversation today with two counselors in independent schools who are college admission officers, and they bring a rich background to their work with students from lots of different backgrounds, but in really small places. And I think there's an urgency that this story is highlighting around how do we address this issue, which I think is often underreported and not visible to somehow many people.
When we come back, we'll meet two college counselors who are former admission officers. And the three of us have a really lively conversation about their day to day observations, interactions, the ups and downs, the tissues and the cheers that go along with working where they do. So we'll be right back.
Lee Coffin:So welcome to this week's roundtable, where I'm joined by two colleagues and friends from the college counseling side of our work to talk about what they see and hear and navigate and referee as college counselors. This episode is called Today in College Counseling Land." And it's inspired by the frequent posts of Sherri Geller, the co-director of college counseling at Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts. She posts on Facebook regularly with witty little sides about what she's seeing and hearing. And I thought these are hilarious and really poignant. And I wanted to invite Sherri on to talk about these insights. So Sherri Geller, hello.
Lee Coffin:All right. So let's talk about Sherri's prolific posts on Facebook. Speaking of social media, I will own up, I am a friend of Sherri and Ronnie on Facebook. Your post today in college counseling land, that would happen every day or even every week, there's a pattern to them that I watched and it started in the summer, it built as we moved into the fall. And they were always commentary that made me smile, and sometimes on occasion, I would spit up my coffee. I've broken your post into four categories and I just wanted to talk about these four thematic areas that seem to be on your mind as you navigate the world of college counseling. And I welcome Ronnie to chime in on any of these as they come up.
Lee Coffin:Because we have to manage scarcity and make it all work. But you have this temptation and Ronnie, I would think it's hard when you're sitting there in your office and a student comes in and they're like... I'll use Dartmouth. I'm applying to Dartmouth. And you know from your wisdom of many years that this application is not going to be successful in that competitive construct. Do you let it go forward Do you try and redirect I mean, this is for seniors who might be listening or juniors who are just starting to roll along and they're excited about everything is possible and the seniors are in this really, okay, I got to make some choices now. But how do you redirect or do you just let it go and try and make sure you have backup plans
Sherri Geller:Yes. But my favorite college counseling land post ever is that I was sitting with a family and the student had gone over spring break to quite a few colleges. And I just didn't have time to hear about every single one where we had this brief meeting with the parents. So I said, "Is there any theme you could share with me in the interest of time and then we can come back to individual schools another day" And the students said, "I really liked the ones that had a buffet."
Lee Coffin:Yeah. No, the integrity of the process, the authenticity, that's really important. So let's end on that note. So today in college counseling land, a wild wacky, always fun moment as your office fills with people. Ronnie and Sherri are going to join me in the inbox section with Charlotte. So we will be right back. 59ce067264