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Is College Advising an art or a science?

The answer is…College counseling is both a science as well as an art. The “science” part comes in when you’re learning “the trade.” You read tons of articles and journals. You travel to see multiple colleges, which include tours and information sessions. You attend webinars, seminars, talk to other counselors, students and parents. Then, you read more, subscribe to more journals, update yourself with new webinars and seminars. You never stop educating yourself!

So how is college advising also an art? It’s all about your knowledge, right? I liken this to the way you can add up that a man or woman you’re dating has these oh-so-many great qualities that should add up into becoming a serious relationship. But, the problem is, you’re not feeling the “ooh là là,” the “za za zoo,” the pitter patter of your heart. No butterflies in the pit of your stomach! Of course, there is a drastically different kind of relationship being created with your counselor, but this working relationship also has to work, although in a very different way.

You can hire the most knowledgeable person, but you just don’t “click.” You may be a person who is very deliberate and precise, and your counselor may be more loosie goosy, Or, your work style may be slow and introspective, but your counselor wants everything done ASAP! The best college counselor works with all styles of learners and working styles. After all, the beauty of you hiring a private, one-on-one counselor is that they gear their advising to how you work best, not how they do! Ahhh…the art of it all!

The college application process and final product that gets submitted to schools is also a science and an art. There are certain quantitative elements that go into the application such as GPA, class rank and standardized test scores, but there is also the art of the application. After all, haven’t we all heard stories about that person who had it “all,” had everything on the checklist, like the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend, but then got jilted by their college?

There is an art to writing your essay and resumé. We are not only the sum of our parts, there is a something that unquantifiable that needs to come through on the application-the essence your authentic self. But, maybe, just maybe through the careful writing of your personal essay and resumé, you can provide a glimpse into who you are as a unique individual-the very enticing part of why you would stand out among so many applicants who, on that check off list of qualifications, look exactly like you, but don’t add up when you do!

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