Maximizing Face to Face Time With Students

How to spend more time doing the most important part of your job.

Sitting down with a student, listening to the fears, hopes and dreams, and sagely offering thoughtful advice to guide them in the right direction. That was likely the picture you had in mind when you signed up to be a college advisor, right?

For most advisors, that one-on-one time that fosters a real connection with your students and allows you to offer truly personalized advice. This is probably the one thing that can help your students most, and thus can be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of your job.  

Unfortunately, few get to spend nearly enough time doing that valuable work.

The STD's of College Advising Intervene

To borrow a phrase I first heard from Dr. Esther Hugo, college counseling hero of mine, STD's stands for: Scheduling, Testing and Discipline. You know, those not fun parts of your job that often wind up taking most of your time. For a counselor, this is an all too familiar story.   

Even those counselors that get to focus exclusively on college have every day tasks that get in the way. For those that also have non-college related counseling responsibilities, the situation is even more dire. Add to that the ratios of counselors to students in many schools and finding time for quality face-to-face time with each student can seem like a fantasy not worth seriously hoping for. 

Focusing on High Value Work

Guidance counselors need to be freed up to focus more time on their highest value work. To make this happen, some of the other day to day tasks need to be taken off their plate. I propose we consider finding alternative ways to more efficiently accomplish some of the following tasks:

  • Basic Education on the College Application Process
  • Researching Colleges to Obtain Relevant Information
  • Student Profiling
  • Taking Students Through More Advanced Assessments
  • Initial College List Building

While the above tasks are certainly important, they are ultimately lower value because they don't fully leverage the expertise that each counselor has and takes time away from their most important work, guiding students and giving personalized feedback.

A Better Way

What if there were cost-effective ways to offload some of those tasks? What if....

  • What if parents and students were automatically sent relevant high quality educational material based on where they were in the college selection cycle?
  • What if all the information and insights about a college were collected in one place and able to be easily called up when you needed it?
  • What if extensive information about each student and what they were looking for was automatically collected and served up to you in an easy to use interface so you hit the ground running when you meet with them?
  • What if you had the results of student assessments at your fingertips to help students identify college majors and careers related to their natural strengths and interests?
  • What if students came to you with an in-depth, well-informed list of colleges that you knew was likely to be full of great match schools right from the beginning?
What if you were able to have all this information at your fingertips the moment you needed it to help guide a student to make the best decision possible for them? 


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