By Jarvis Taylor | Independent College Counselor
Many students attend college without having the opportunity to explore their options so that they can select a college that will maximize their chances of reaching their full potential. Unfortunately, high counselor-to-student ratios, overwhelmed guidance counselors, and the lack of access to an independent college counseling puts them at a huge disadvantage in the college choice process.
While many believe college readiness (curriculum-centered) is a major factor in low graduation rates among African-American and Latino students, many overlook the value independent college counseling (relationship-centered) play in low graduation rates.
To expand educational opportunity, families need access to individualized college counseling services. College Counseling Matters because it provides under-served families with social capital, empowerment, and most importantly, it communicates that they have value and worth.
Social capital is about relationships. The term emphasizes a broad range of benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks.
Social capital works through many channels. As relates to college counseling, information flows, and social networks provide the most vulnerable families with enormous amounts of social capital. Many college-bound students lack access to timely information that can position them for opportunities that will increase their college
options and competitiveness in the college admissions process.
Independent college counselors join associations and interact with college admissions officers to pass on information that will be of benefit to their clients in the college choice process.
College counseling is about empowerment. Armed with information and social networks –tempered with guidance – college-bound students and their families are empowered to make life changing decisions.
When parents are not empowered to navigate complex systems, exploitation is inevitable. We know, the most vulnerable families are exploited by for-profit colleges, but they must be made aware of and empowered to maneuver the exploitative practices of public and nonprofit college and universities seeking to maximize enrollments.
Individualized college counseling is not paternalistic; it is about
arming families with timely information and quality guidance so they can make the best possible college choice.
Denying families access to resources that facilitate their college choice process is a violation of human dignity. By supplying vulnerable families with social capital that leads to empowerment creatively communicates that they have value and worth, regardless of their GPA, high school curriculum, or access to additional educational services.
Joining professional associations, attending conferences, and visiting colleges and universities for the sole purpose of serving families who need college guidance the most is a profound way of communicating that they have value.
Please help us educate others about the need for and benefits of individualized college counseling services for underserved families by encouraging them to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and spreading the word about our cause.