Frankly, a better question may be what doesn’t an independent college counselor do? Your independent college counselor is a knowledgeable professional who knows everything there is to know about colleges and college admissions. They should be able to answer questions from “what school has the best toxicology program in the country?” to “how do I know this school is right for me?”

Your counselor communicates the most up-to-date information about the college admissions process. At the most basic level, your admissions officer should teach you how to:

Getting your child into the school of their dreams is only a consultation away.

Much like any other form of consulting, building a trusting relationship is foundational! Your college counselor should know who you are, what matters to you, what kind of learner you are, and where you would thrive. Your college counselor should act as a jack of all trades. They should help paint pictures, cook up the best opportunities for you, tell great stories, and cheer you on. 

College counselors paint

If you are lucky enough to work with a college counselor at the beginning of your high school experience, your college counselor will help you paint the picture of a successful student. They will help you strategically pick classes, extracurriculars, and volunteer opportunities that highlight your passions and strengths. Your advisor will help create a clear plan of success from the moment you set foot on campus to the moment you graduate. If you don’t know what you want to major in or where you want to go to college, your counselor will paint broad brushstrokes to help you explore your interests and finetune them over time. They may encourage you to try new hobbies or activities to get a feel for what you like and dislike. You can use this information to help narrow down what majors you may be interested in. 

College counselors tell stories

Your counselor will story tell in one vital way: they will provide important information about the college admissions process. The most important thing a college counselor can do is equip you with the knowledge and tools to make the right decisions. The best college counselors have worked with a diverse range of students with every background and passion imaginable. These experiences will inform the schools they point you to, the information they provide, and the advice they give. The best college counselors have a feel for each college as well. They can explain the cultural differences between Boston College and Boston University. While stories may not feel extremely important, they help guide one of the most important decisions you’re going to make. If they know and care about you, they will use qualitative information to recommend the best schools for you.

College counselors cook

College admissions is not formulaic. There is no one perfect recipe. Instead, college counselors leverage your unique skills and experiences to create an entirely unique application, one that is authentically you. They know how to turn your negatives into learning experiences and promote your positive experiences. Your college counselor should work with you to curate the message you want to communicate to colleges and universities. They will use unique recipes to prepare you for each college interview you take and every personal statement and supplement essay you write, even if this means hours of editing and interview prep. 

College counselors cheer

Your counselor should be your biggest cheerleader. They will push you to take classes that will challenge you, support you as you take on more leadership roles, and help you learn meaningful lessons when you fail. A great counselor will cheer you on as you apply to schools you thought you’d never get accepted to; they cheer even harder when you get in.