Part of a school counselor’s job is to play matchmaker, linking students with the college that best meets their academic, social, and financial needs. Marc Kaminicki is chairperson of the school counseling department at Mayfield High School in Mayfield Village, Ohio. A counselor for seven years, Mr. Kaminicki offers this advice on finding the best fit.
What should be the first step in helping students with the college search process?
Early in a student’s high school career, a student-counselor relationship must be established so that the counselor can provide academic, career, and personal/social information that fits with the student’s needs. As the student matures throughout high school, specific opportunities and experiences should further be explored.
Whether in the classroom, through extracurricular experiences, or through unique academic programs, a student can gain both theoretical and practical knowledge about the choices that exist beyond high school. In providing college counseling, however, a solid, trusting, and empathetic student-counselor relationship is essential.
How do you balance students’ ideals with what’s realistic for them academically and financially? In other words, how do you encourage them to choose a “safety” school?
By sharing data with the prospective college-bound student based on years of Mayfield information from previous graduates.
How can parents help?
Parents can and should be the most important supporter of their child’s college-planning journey. Parents should be realistic about the type of financial support they can provide, allow the student to explore any and all areas of initial interest, and be a professional “nag” to help their child be mindful of many, many deadlines.
What other advice do you offer fellow counselors about the college search process?
The more you can learn about the individual students, as well as all the programs and opportunities available via colleges and universities, the more adept you can be in meeting the individual needs of the student.