Should We Hire a Private Counselor?

The extensive, highly individualized services offered by Laguna Blanca’s College Counseling office are more than most families will ever need. Nevertheless, here are a few points to consider as you navigate the college admission process and evaluate whether hiring an additional private college counselor would be helpful.

Begin Early
Attend the Gr. 9/10 College Night at Laguna and similar events at Laguna Middle School. We will cover everything a family needs to know to maximize competitiveness and a healthy range of choices. Additionally, college admissions representatives will be available to discuss the finer points of what makes an excellent applicant and how colleges make their choices.

Own the Process
Make an appointment with Laguna’s Director of College Counseling Matt Struckmeyer and attend college information sessions at Laguna. Admissions officers – the people who actually read and evaluate applications – will candidly discuss how admission really works as well as what often backfires: the over-involvement of well-meaning adults. You’ll see how much these professionals rely on the Director of College Counseling to understand each Laguna student and why frequent meetings with him are the key.

Broaden Horizons
If you do hire an outside counselor, choose one who is clearly familiar with and recommends a broad range of schools, and who will direct you to institutions that are in the best interest of your child—one size doesn’t fit all. Laguna Blanca’s Director of College Counseling has personally visited nearly 300 of the nation’s best colleges and universities and can guide students to the schools that will best suit their unique needs, strengths, and interests. At Laguna, each student’s college list is a culmination of an extensive process of self-examination, interviewing, discussion, and journal writing. No two students’ lists should be the same because no two students are the same.

Empower the Student
College essay writing, when done right, empowers a student by expanding his or her self-awareness, helping the student find his or her voice, and crucially, building confidence in taking risks. College admissions personnel are drawn away from “overly packaged” candidates whose essays are clearly the work of a private counselor. At Laguna Blanca, we empower students to find their own voice and shine as an individual in the college application process.

Get Administrative Help
One helpful role for an additional college consultant is as a task manager, keeping the less-organized student on top of the huge volume of college-related writing and tasks and sparing the “nag factor” that causes friction between applicants and their parents. This is a valuable service, but it should cost far less than the fee many parents needlessly pay years earlier.

The Final Word
Before soliciting help from an outside college counselor, schedule an appointment with Mr. Struckmeyer. His wealth of experience in college counseling and personal approach will empower your student to enter and thrive in the best college or university.

MATT STRUCKMEYER'S COLLEGE TIPS