Seniors Speak: Counselors’ Role in College Application Stress


Isabella Webb, Journalist

With classes in full swing and college applications looming around the corner, it is undeniably a stressful time right now for seniors. College applications make up the workload equivalent of an additional AP class, considering the need to perfect the personal statement, write supplemental essays, and secure letters of recommendations from teachers. According to many seniors ones of the biggest battles of the college application process is getting their counselor’s written evaluation submitted.

According to the counselors, there is nothing to worry about. In a SchoolLoop email, it is announced that “If you have already met with your counselor for the white college packet, please do not remind your counselor of your college deadlines,” and the email goes on to say that “The counselors do not need to be reminded of the deadlines you listed on your white college packet. All counselors will ensure that the documents are sent to the colleges on the date of the deadline or prior to that date.” But is this the case?

A senior who wishes to remain anonymous says, “I gave my counselor [the letter of recommendation packet] the second week of school, September 11. She promised it would be in a few days later, but it wasn’t. I followed up with her several times and each time, she promised it would be in ‘today or tomorrow.’ But it wasn’t and still isn’t.” The senior then goes on to explain, “I’m in the process of getting recruited for sports, which is why I really need to get the letter of recommendation early. The counselor letter is all that is missing in my application. This is really creating a lot of stress because it meant that I couldn’t get an early likely letter for sports, and I’m having to do extra college applications just in case.”

In addition to writing seniors’ witten evaluations, CdM’s school counselors’ job includes scheduling their students’ classes, managing academic accomodations such as IAPs or 504 plans, moderating meetings between students, parents, teachers, and admin, and providing support to students. Counselors are technically available five days a week from 7:30 until 3:00, but there are still many difficulties getting an appointment. Students can only drop in during their free period, which creates a mad rush during the ten minute break and thirty minute lunch. In addition, every counselor has a “letter writing day,” during which they are unavailable to see students.

With hundreds of students assigned to one counselor, there is no doubt that they have a very difficult job. However, that does not stop many seniors from wishing that the counseling office would be more organized, not to mention more sympathetic, during such a stressful time.

Another anonymous senior says, “[My counselor] has made me feel bad for scheduling meetings with her about my college packet and her condescending attitude towards me makes me anxious every time I have to go in. I don’t understand why she would apply for a job working with students if she is going to be so rude to us. She has made my college application process 1000 times harder and the fact that she is writing my letter of recommendation makes me sad beyond belief. I can’t believe any part of my future is in her hands.”

CdM administration has been making great efforts recently to create positive change based on students’ concerns. Hopefully the counseling situation will be taken into account and given priority by administration in order to better support their senior students.