I would like to respond to an article, "Counseling For College: Ethics Issue," appearing in your newspaper on Feb. 25.
Getting into college is a theme, sometimes submerged and other times more clearly articulated, which preoccupies educators, high school students and their parents. A recent survey by the National College Counseling Project, as reported in the Boston Globe, concluded that "many students do not get the kind of information and advice they need to pick colleges that fit their needs and abilities." Moreover, the article points out that "the average caseload for a college counselor is 174 students and the average time spent with each student per year is 20 minutes."
Twenty minutes per year with a counselor to work on what is perhaps the most important issue to date in a young adult's life--this fact strikes me as a deeply tragic example of how we blur our priorities and gravely shortchange our students and children.
High school counselors, most of them, are doing their jobs well; there is, however, only so much one can do, with only so many students, amid the bells and meetings and paper work and phone calls that punctuate the normal school day. Counselors, public and private alike, have the same goal--to help students find appropriate schools to meet their academic, career, and personal needs--and share the same hopes for the young adults we help and serve. Rather than our being "grudgingly accepted by peers," I have found high school counselors to be remarkably supportive of our work. Our work is likewise accepted by college admissions offices, which value the screening and marketing services we provide in an increasingly sophisticated and competitive college admissions process.