When I started working as a full-time tutor at Georgetown Learning Centers (GLC), fresh out of college and working with kids just 4 or 5 years younger than I, comments from parents often ran along these lines: “My kid really listens to you because you’re so much closer to his age! If I told him any of this stuff, he’d just roll his eyes!” Now, comments from parents generally follow themes of “experience” and “expertise.” While I like to think there’s a certain charm inherent to my personality that will always allow me to connect with students, I’m also pragmatic enough to embrace that I’m solidly in my 30s now. Soon, I could be old enough to be a mother to some of my sophomore students. And I think that, in the niche field of test prep, students will fare better with tutors closer to them in age. Time for me to plan my next logical career move!
For many years, going back as far as my own junior year in high school, I have been interested in college counseling. I received excellent in-school counseling at my small private high school, and I didn’t realize that all students didn’t have access to such service until I started working with public school students through GLC. In my years as Director, I would regularly take calls from parents who were lost in the college admissions process and who weren’t receiving needed support from the understandably beleaguered high school guidance office. I was regularly referring students to independent counselors GLC had connected with in the past, but I secretly wished I could help them. As my independent test prep business has grown and developed since I left GLC, I continue to get the hopeful question from parents: “You don’t happen to help with the whole college admissions process, do you?” My answer has sadly continued to be negative, but I’m at a place in my personal and professional life where I’m ready to change that response.
I've mapped out a rough timeline of tasks to complete and goals to achieve over the next three years, using the requirements for professional membership with IECA as a guideline. As soon as I knew I was ready to make this transition, I also knew that I needed to start learning. The body of knowledge in this field is daunting. As a person driven toward excellence in all things and toward good stewardship of my clients’ time and financial investments, I am compelled to find the best resources to succeed as an independent college counselor. I've submitted my application to attend IECA's Summer Training Institute 2015, which is the best place I can start.
Well, sort of start. I’ve already begun reading well-reviewed books on college admissions and counseling. I’ve made plans to visit nearby colleges this spring. My to-do list includes coordinating some apprentice-type relationships with experienced college counselors during the 2015-2016 school year. So, “start” might not be the best expression. Perhaps “blast off!”—like a rocket that has done plenty of on-the-ground simulations and is finally ready to get the show on the road.
I'm also in the market for some willing students for the 2015-2016 school year. I'd like to get experience in college planning with students across 9th through 12th grades, and I intend to offset my current lack of experience with significant discounts on services. Please contact me if you're interested!