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Recruiting Intelligence

College counselors: The education force behind the curtain

High school councelors play a critical role in the decision making process for the college selection process in the United States. They are a trusted advisor who coaches, mentors and directs students and parents. With this in mind, we reviewed the college board's annual reports on "True North - Charting the Course for College and Career Readiness."

The report highlights a number of critical themes, in particular:

  • how college counsellors can support college readiness,
  • training for counselors themselves, and
  • the accountability between counselors and administration.

We are particularly interested in the function of counselors in the United States since this advisory function is largely missing in international markets to help prepare and advise international students. Our goal is to identify information needed for students and parents. We work with universities on what, where and how to present information on your academic programs to students and their parents in international markets. Doing this right compensates for the lack of knowledgeable advice for international students and parents. And doing this right includes addressing more than just academic readiness and the programs available. It also addresses the cultural shift required to succeed in a new environment where values and norms can be radically different.

Beyond developing this valuable information about your school and region for the student and parent, it is important to consider how you can get this information in the hands of international paid counselors (recruiters), hired by parents and colleges in many international markets. These agents DO provide counseling and direction to the international students and their parents. The better ones have taken time to tour the U.S., get to know the range of academic programs available, understand the U.S. college application process and visa regulations. These areas of expertise are complex and the role agents can play is vital to helping some international students navigate to a U.S. school.

So back to College Board's report on U.S. high school counselors: we can learn from the issues college counselors face and information gaps they identify to refine and adjust our marketing and information programs for both domestic and international students. What struck us the most is the low satisfaction rate by high school counselors themselves about their preparation for the counseling environment and tasks. The first chart (Figure 1) shows a significant gap in the need for knowledge about academic preparedness and career readiness information.

The report states that less than one-third of the counselors say that they intentionally collaborate with outside organizations and businesses to support college and career readiness activities. Even with their own level of higher education (graduate degrees), these high school counselor feel inadequately prepared. We see a need for professional development training in this field. NACAC and OACAC, are you listening?

Source:CollegeBoard: True North Charting

The second chart (Figure 2) that we selected from this report is about the assessment between U.S. high school counselors and their high school administrators about how they support these counseling activities. Consistently, the administration believes that they provide a significantly higher degree of support in all areas than the counselors perceive. Again we are interested in what is missing in international markets. Consider what steps can you take to help overseas teachers, school administrators, agents and parents as they support their students working on evaluating the range of U.S. schools available and then preparing their personal statements, visa applications,etc. To say nothing of the cultural transition issues.

Are you giving domestic and international counselors the information they need online? In printed form? When you travel?

If those involved in the student support structure feel that they themselves are not well-supported, they are struggling to do their job well. You can help them feel more confident, be more prepared, and ultimately, be more successful - domestically and internationally.

Our hunch: they will thank you for it. And that is a valuable bridge to build for your recruitment efforts.

Source: CollegeBoard: True North Charting
Topics: Insights