The college admissions process is a challenging one. From mapping out the high school courses your child should take to make them a competitive applicant to developing a thoughtful list of potential schools; from prepping for standardized tests to completing those painstaking applications and essays, the road to college acceptance can be very daunting.
As college admissions grow more complex and more competitive, the impact of a good college counselor can make all the difference. Studies show that students who are well-served by their counselors have higher chances of admission to top colleges.
But therein lies the rub: For the overwhelming number of high schools, college counselors are spread extremely thin. In fact, according to the American School Counselor Association, the average student-to-counselor ratio in California is a staggering 527:1.
Because of this, more and more families are hiring outside consultants – independent educational counselors (IECs) – to help navigate the college admissions process. Unfortunately, with a whopping average price tag of $230 per hour, this type of service is out of reach for many, if not most people.
But what if your child attended a school where the student-to-counselor ratio was just 78:1 (roughly 15% of the California average)? What if their school provided the professional services of seasoned counselors at no additional cost to you?
Such is the case for high school students at Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim and Fairmont San Juan Capistrano.
The counseling process at Fairmont begins with developing a four-year plan for incoming freshmen. The plan serves as a guide for the academic journey students will take alongside their counselors and is meant to be a living document that can change as they discover and develop their interests and passions.
Counselors and students meet one-on-one four times a year (once each quarter), but students are welcome to drop in at any time. Additionally, monthly grade-level meetings are held so counselors can discuss important topics that are relevant to each class – freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Students also benefit from on-campus college fairs, with representatives from nearly a hundred different schools making a pilgrimage to Fairmont each year. “We are fortunate to have lots of colleges and universities from across the globe come to visit because they are interested in our students,” said Justin Voss, Director of College Counseling | Advanced Programs Counselor at Fairmont Preparatory Academy. “They know the quality of our students – academically and in terms of their extra-curriculars. These colleges can visit all kinds of different high schools, but they choose to come to spend their time here at Fairmont to get to know our kids.”
One of the hallmarks of the Fairmont counseling process is how personalized it is. Each student is assigned to one counselor who works with them throughout the duration of their high school years. This, along with each counselor’s small student load, allows them to get to know their students in a very meaningful way. “By getting to know the kids – what they’re interested in studying, things they’ve accomplished throughout high school, who they are as people – we can really tailor their college search uniquely to them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all mentality here.”