Thank Your Counselors. It's National School Counseling Week | Thinking About College | John Raftrey And Lori McCormick | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Thinking About College

By John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

E-mail John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f...  (More)

View all posts from John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

Thank Your Counselors. It's National School Counseling Week

Uploaded: Feb 3, 2020
Written by John Raftrey

Today kicks off National School Counseling Week in the United States.

Please, everybody, do two things this week:
1) Stop by your counselor and college counselors’ office and just say thanks. Counselors hear a lot of complaints, but few compliments.
2) Please ask your school board to hire more counselors, especially college counselors.

I’ll go first.

I would like to publicly thank Selene Singares who was the counselor for my three sons when they were at Paly. She was always, upbeat and honest about what she could and couldn’t do to help my kids and went to bat for them multiple times. Most importantly, she kept us parents calm!

I don’t know Sandra Cernobori personally, but I would like to thank her too, for all the work she does for Paly. The part of her job you don’t see is what happens behind the scenes. I was among the several hundred counselors in the room at a national conference, who saw her stand up and personally admonish the NCAA panel for not allowing Film Composition Literature at Paly to be an authorized NCAA class. (It is UC A-G approved) She was professional, made excellent points and I think you would be proud of her. You could see counselors' heads shaking in agreement throughout the room as she spoke.

Counselors are insanely overworked. The National Association for College Admission Counseling recommends a counselor to student ratio of 250:1. (which I think is still way too high). Using basic numbers, Paly and Gunn ratios are about 1000:1. Freshmen need college counseling, too. According to their school profiles, Paly and Gunn each have 2 college counselors. (Paly has 3, but only two are assigned students alphabetically). Gunn supplements them with academic counselors, for whom college is only a part of their workload. Paly supplements theirs with teacher advisors who are instrumental in writing recommendations.

In addition, school college counselors have to make Naviance work. I don’t want to go into all the issues with Naviance, but if you got caught up in the password change last week, you have only seen the tip of the iceberg of the problems with that application. They have to stay up to date with all the rules of the UC system. Every time there is a new class offering, it has to be approved by the UC to be included in the A-G framework. They also have to arrange college visits to the high school and make sure students show up. The colleges have a lot of schools to visit and they can’t visit all of them, so keeping relationships intact is key. Most of all, they get all the transcripts and other documents needed for college applications to the colleges on time. That’s for 500 students each year.

So, raise a toast to your school counselors. They work really hard and they really care.
What is it worth to you?


There are no comments yet for this post

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Arya Steakhouse, a standby for steaks and Persian cuisine, moves to downtown Palo Alto
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 3,210 views

“To get the full value of joy . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,634 views

We need an audit of city spending
By Diana Diamond | 4 comments | 1,583 views


Register today to support local nonprofits

The 38th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 9. Proceeds go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually to support local nonprofits.

Register Now!