The Difference Between Independent Counseling and Our College Counseling Team

Hailey Schlotthauer, Staff Writer

ODA college counseling has a rule maybe you may or may not be familiar with, you aren’t allowed to have an independent college counselor along with the ODA college counseling team.

Well, why not? Couldn’t an ODA student benefit from an independent counselor?

The answer simply is no.

The numbers add up, three is better than one. It’s all about connections. If you choose an independent counselor, you won’t get the connections of the whole college counseling team. While you also are giving up connections, you also are giving up the advocating they will do for you. Mr.Harding and Mr.Calkins go above and beyond when it comes to promoting you. They will call up colleges, even visit colleges to advance your chances to be accepted.

The problem with independent counselors is the message they give college admission workers. Normally, they can be perceived as people who are only in it because they are getting paid, and the outcome has no real affect on their lives. Something commonly seen with independent counselors is that the parents are often in control, rather than the student. Two messages that go against what the ODA college counseling office philosophy, and most college admissions offices.

So why don’t college admissions offices like working with them?

Often because the message is confusing. If a student goes to an independent school, and on top of that they are getting independent counseling, they know that they are receiving two different messages. Meaning this confusion plays into the voice you have during the college process.

For example, think back to your college meeting. Remember being bombarded with questions and giving lackadaisical answers? Your college counselors know how you are at school, because of the relationship that has been developed provided that you have been going to meetings since the freshman year. Mr.Harding and Mr.Calkins know your learning style, if you’re a hardworking student and how involved you are at school because (duh) they see you at school every day.

However, an independent counselor only knows what you and your parents have said. The problem with this is that this voice shows in the application, and while the teacher recommendation says one thing the essay might say another. These things don’t mesh and the college admissions offices will notice this.

Independent counseling might not be the best choice for an ODA student, but a student at a huge public school with a graduating class of 700 would most likely benefit. In public schools there is no college counseling, students make college choices through the help from their guidance counselor. As you can imagine, there is only one guidance counselor and hundreds of kids who desperately need help. An independent counselor can give the student the time and focus they need, whereas the guidance counselor only has so much time.

So, an ODA student clearly benefits from our own team. If you haven’t yet, stop by the office and get to know your counselors! They are here to get you into your dream school!