Kayla, a student from Valley Regional High School in Connecticut was overwhelmed. We had worked with her older brother for college counseling. “Jack seemed to have figured it out so easily.” This was not exactly true but Jack had two advantages: (1) it was pre-Covid and (2) he went through out college counseling overview, quickly identified his dominant themes. In doing so, we were able to craft a list of colleges for Jack to explore. His intuition/self-awareness proved to be correct and that made his college process easy.
When we present our college counseling overview to students, we walk through dominant themes location, prestige, program of study, type of people, size and so forth. Most students do not really know what they want. They are asked questions: do you want a big college or a small college? Most have no idea. Part of our college counseling process involves educating students on these issues. So, for example, some of students are “bored with small town life” in Shoreline Connecticut. “Essex is so small.” For this reason, they think they will want a large college. Of course, this could be true but with some they learn through our college counseling process that most large colleges include Greek life (fraternities) and that part of the social scene revolves around football/basketball games. A typical Saturday for many at large colleges involves tailgating before the football game, attending the football game, and going to fraternity parties after the game. Some of our college counseling clients who are more artistically minded individuals – which made them think bigger environments would be better for them – change their views.
In Kayla’s case, she was looking at every factor she could find related to evaluating colleges: dorms/food/class size etc. It was great that she was learning about the details of different colleges. But we had to focus on the big picture first. When we did, she no longer felt overwhelmed.