Every year scores of teenage students set out to pursue higher education in different countries, both at the under graduate and postgraduate level. Students make their way to new places in hopes of studying in a promising and more lucrative environment in hopes of building a better life. The process can be daunting and confusing for a lot of students, and even though most application processes can be filled out independently most students feel it safer to seek guidance via college counselors.
No One Gets Left Behind
Students across the scoreboard reach out to academic counselors, while selecting which colleges would be a good fit for them and therefore should be on their target list. College counseling isn’t limited to students with low or high scores, but those with grades below or around the average mark should probably seek counseling sooner than later.
Most students will start making appointments with counselors months in advance because the top counselors can be overbooked, but for the most part students plan to meet with counselors before grade 11 or 12 and at that point it is usually too late to turn scores around and take up (and excel in) extracurricular activities. Students thinking about studying abroad can start looking at the schools they want to target as early as grade 8 and work towards the scores and requirements needed to get into their dream schools. Every university has their requirements listed out on their website and exceptional college essays are only a click away as well. If students start working towards the goals they have in mind early on in their high school journey it might take the edge off the application process closer to the time of admission.
Grade 12 exams are pivotal in the academic career because they play a major role in deciding which college a student gets into and what their life might be like after that. Aside from learning, friends and opportunities available in college play a major role in shaping who a student might become as an adult.
Unfortunately the educational system is designed in a way that makes students feel that external help like counseling and tutoring will help them become better students which may not always be true. Ultimately students have to study alone, sit through tests alone and make it through college through their own hard work, so in the process of deciding where to study and applying for the same, counseling could be helpful but it certainly isn’t necessary.
Research Is Key
From standardized testing like the SAT’s and GMAT there are enough resources available online and in bookstores to help students prepare. Also it only takes working wifi and a credit card to apply for the test. While many college counselors will hand hold students through each step of the application process at the right fee, there is no reason students need to feel intimidated to take that step alone.
Unless they are getting kickbacks from certain colleges, there is little counselors can do to help boost the chances for a student to get into a particular college. The odds for that boil down to the students profile alone. Although college counselors walk students through the process of application step by step, it usually comes at a significant price. For those that want to apply for scholarships or just minimize the cost of their education reaching out to colleges directly, speaking to alumni and current students can be helpful.
Application forms are usually straightforward and easy to fill out, students have to coordinate the transfer of grades from schools to colleges themselves and even if counselors offer to guide students with writing their application essays (not all colleges require this) that is deceptive considering college essays are the introduction of a student to the college, and really trusting someone else to write your first impression is not impressive at all.
Even for students that hate writing, there are so many brilliant college essays available online to read and be inspired by, and no one will understand your thought process and accomplishments better than you anyway.
Talent Outside Of Academics
Many parents push their children towards academics and way from other extracurricular activities because many colleges accept students solely based on grades. However, lots of schools around the world take into account a students ability to excel in areas outside of academics, and an exceptional sportsperson or musician can find a place in a top school even with less than perfect grades. Unfortunately for most colleges in India grades are the sole deciding factor for admission that makes it difficult for students who are not academically inclined to feel successful. Success and education are sometimes independent of each other and many different success stories prove that people with or without relevant formal education have gone on to lead financially secure lives. It is possible to make more money as a successful artist than an average lawyer and a degree from a top art school can prove to be more valuable than an engineering degree from an average school. The other great thing is that there is always scope to have your career be entirely unrelated to your degree altogether.
It’s Never Too Late
The great thing about college anywhere in the world is that there is absolutely no age criteria to get in. There are no missed opportunities when it comes to learning and it is worth the leap to switch paths at any time. Ratan Tata has an undergraduate degree in Architecture and over the course of his career has launched and sustained a large portfolio of diverse businesses. Natalie Portman has a degree from Harvard in psychology and also an Academy Award for acting.
While a college education can help a student prepare for the world, and a counselor can help prepare for the college, there are multiple routes to success that can be accessed with or without a counselor.