A Month in the Life of a College Counselor

My calendar alert from early October. Emphasis on early.

My calendar alert from early October. Emphasis on early.

Fall is a crazy and hectic time of year in the world of both college admission and high school counselors.  I remember feeling like I put my life on hold each fall while I traveled for weeks at a time, leaving my routines, car, and husband behind.  This fall was a different, yet still quite hectic, time of year.  Now that the November 1 deadline is well behind me, I’m able to reflect on October and process what the heck went on during this incredibly long and often trying month.  Here’s a look at what my diary entries might have looked like from the past month:

Tuesday, October 1: A bit exhausted today after last night’s 11th Grade College Counseling event where we spoke to our entire junior class and their parents.  I can’t wait to get to know them better so I can write amazing rec letters for them by this time next year!

Mon. Oct. 7: What a great weekend!  So glad I was in town this year to celebrate my husband’s birthday for the first time since 2007.

Thurs. Oct. 10: We had multiple college reps visit today during every available meeting time and even after school.  It’s fun to meet other reps and hear their background, but I’m starting to get overwhelmed trying to learn about each college.  There are so many!

Mon. Oct. 14: Crazy day.  I had so many meetings with students and college reps today that I forgot to eat lunch or even take a bathroom break!  How I stayed awake all day, I’ll never know.

Weds. Oct. 16: Today will live in infamy (gross exaggeration).  We proctored the PSAT today for 200 juniors and sophomores.  The coordination was a huge undertaking and the amount of last-minute issues that needed fixing is incomprehensible.  Also, sitting for 2+ hours while proctoring a standardized test is NOT exciting.  I almost wish I could’ve taken the test with them, just so I had something to do.  Almost.

Sat. Oct.19: I’ll have another large mocha with quintuple shots of espresso, please.  Ok, not quite, but I did order multiple coffees while sitting at a local café trying to crank out rec letters.  Is it November 1 yet?

Tues. Oct. 22: Sat in on more college rep presentations.  Who knew every college has a Quidditch team these days?

Thurs. Oct. 24: Apparently the October SAT results were released today.  I was bombarded by seniors who were happy about their improvement as soon as I walked in the door this morning.  It was actually fun to share in their excitement, although not every student had good news to share.

My daydreaming view from my office.

My daydreaming view from my office.

Mon. Oct. 28: It’s the home stretch!  Only a few days stand between me and my post-Nov. 1 celebration.  Time to start reminding teachers how to upload their recs.  And also remind some of them to write their recs.  Oy vey.

Tues. Oct. 29: Another late night answering frantic student and parent emails and submitting transcripts and recs to colleges.  The wait-time for documents to be submitted electronically and go through is surprisingly short at 11pm PST.

Weds. Oct. 30 AM: Met with a student who found an error on his already submitted Common App.  Told him it was not the end of the world; he just needs to correct the mistake by contacting each college since he can’t change his Common App.  Assured this same student at least 5 times that it would be ok.  Really.

Weds. Oct. 30 PM: A senior just decided to apply Early Decision.  Today.  To a college she’s never visited.  Is this real life?

Thurs. Oct. 31: Happy Early Application Deadlines’ Eve!  Oh, wait… today’s Halloween?  I had forgotten what time of year it was due to my rec letter/college rep visit/student meeting/teacher reminder frenzy.

Fri. Nov. 1: Hooray!  I survived (so far)!  My reward?  A 6am flight to a counselor fly-in program on the other side of the country.  No complaints here, though—it’ll be nice to unplug, if only for 24 hours.

It may have been a chaotic month, but I learned a lot.  Now it’s time to enjoy a glass (or two) of wine, catch up on quality time with family and friends, and start the next round of rec letter-writing for the remaining deadlines.  It can’t get any more crazy and hectic, can it?

By Meredith Britt

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