Are you wondering whether you should consider college counseling? Ready to start, but lost when it comes to actually get going? We asked your top questions to our talented counselor Christine W., to get her perspective on this pivotal moment in young people's lives. Read her advice below about:
- why finding the right counselor is so important,
- when the best (and worst) times to start counseling sessions is,
- and what she wishes all parents knew.
Meet Christine W.—a counselor at Empowerly with a passion for psychology and development in personal growth. Christine's multiple certifications in high-performance and productivity coaching make her an expert in understanding how to motivate students to succeed. Christine has applied these skills to working with different segments of the population, ranging from teenagers to adults. Starting her own educational journey at her first choice school, Wellesley College, she continued that journey at Harvard to study psychology, and now counsels students at Empowerly.
Q: How do your unique experiences contribute to your ability to be a strong advisor?
Christine: “When you study psychology and personal development, you spend a lot of time looking inward and putting yourself in other people's shoes.” Christine continues, "My job as a college advisor is not telling others what to do, but being a supportive guide and understanding the struggles that someone is going through. Being able to sense when to back off and when to push, and just really helping somebody through a process. I view this college application process as a rite of passage." With her background and range of experience helping others at pivotal moments of their lives, Christine understands: "I look at this process as difficult because it's the first time somebody has to look inward and write and share about themselves. I like to think of myself as well-equipped to understand and guide someone gently through that."
The right person is required to guide your child during the difficult time of self-discovery. The college application process truly is a rite of passage, and therefore an opportunity for your child to look inward and accurately to present themselves to college admissions officers. The introspective nature of college applications makes finding the right college counselor so important.
Q: What is one trait that you find common among the most successful students you have worked with?
Christine: "The most successful students start early. They have this mindset that the college process is not something that they have to do, but something that they accept and willingly embrace." Christine explains, "However, the least successful students fail to look at the process as a stage for personal development and seek to only get through the process as fast as possible. In other words, they don't look at the whole process as a rite of passage."
Presenting the best application for colleges starts with the correct mindset. There should be no rush to finish your essays as quickly as possible. This time is an important period of growth that shouldn't center solely around getting into the highest-ranked college.
Q: What kind of questions do you wish students/parents would ask you before they decide to enroll in college prep?
Christine: "I would ask if my child is independent enough to handle the task, and be self-motivated enough to finish the process." She concludes: "At the end of the day, look at the desired outcome. Anything is worth the investment if the desired outcome is accomplished. If someone goes to a counselor and says, 'I want to go to Harvard,' the problem/solution is completely different compared to if the desired outcome is to find the best match for the student and to craft the best application based on the accomplishments presented. If that is the desired outcome, college prep services are absolutely worth the investment."
Have a talk with your child, and make the decision together whether they are independent and self-motivated enough to fully take advantage of college prep resources. Also, make sure to clearly understand you and your child's end goal for the college application process before opting into college prep services. Clarifying your expectations will help set realistic goals.
Message from the Empowerly team:
For more information regarding counselors like Christine, visit our website here or book a free consult here with Empowerly. We have a variety of counselors with diverse backgrounds that can meet your and your child’s needs during the college application process!