In the wake of the college admissions scandal, it’s more important than ever to find an honest college counselor.
You need a college counselor who knows the ropes and is devoted to helping students find and articulate their strengths, choose the best fit schools for them, not just the most prestigious, and forge a path with clear sightedness and integrity in this most important rite of passage.
A few years ago, I was interviewed by Indian Currents magazine on the role of Independent College Counselors in today’s world of admissions. I was delighted to answer Kamini’s questions.
Her questions made me think about what it is I do every day, what makes me unique, and what makes what I do so important.
Every high school across America has at least one college counselor to help its students with all the essentials of the college admissions process. These counselors are tasked with keeping students on top of deadlines, administering PSAT’s, and sending out official high school transcripts. In their spare time, they write college recommendations for each and every student in the school; they guide students towards the right schools for them; they counsel them on majors and career paths; they help students with their FAFSA; and finally, they edit their students’ college application essays! Not!
In fact, high school college counselors don’t have any spare time! There is often a 400-600:1 ratio between students and college counselors, even in the best of circumstances.
What this means is that students don’t get the help they need to navigate what has become a very complicated college process.
Without that help, they often find it difficult to choose the right schools – and most importantly – to write an essay that will help them get into the school(s) of their dreams.
The world of college admissions has gotten much more complicated than when I applied to college many years ago. High school college counselors are busy and overworked. Even though both my parents were teachers, and this was quite a few years ago, I did all that I describe above — for myself! And I didn’t do it very well. I ended up transferring after my freshman year of college.
The burden then falls on parents. But we all know how easy it is for parents to help their teenage kids with their college essays?? 😉
I like to say, if parents could do the work of helping their own kids navigate the college process, I would be out of a job!
So here’s what I said to answer Kamini’s questions. These are questions I get asked, in one form another, all the time.
1. What does private college counseling entail?
When someone asks me what I do, I say that I help students realize their dreams. What does this mean? It means helping them succeed in school and get in to where they want to go. It means helping them make choices about the courses they take, the extra-curricular activities in which they engage, the schools to which they apply, the topics on which they will write their college essays. Private college counseling is no different than what a high school counselor does, except as a private counselor, you can have much, much more frequent and targeted one-on-one sessions with students, and tailor your approach accordingly. High school college counselors are stretched very thin and also have to deal with red tape. For this reason, it has become increasingly popular for people to use private college counselors. If there weren’t such a dire need for my services, I would be out of a job! But as it is, my phone is ringing off the hook!
2. How has the application process changed? How do you and your business plan to address these changes?
In the almost thirty years I’ve been working in college counseling, the application process has gotten more and more complicated. Take the UC’s for example. For the last eighteen years or so, there were two questions required to fulfill the UC Personal Statement. Now there are eight questions, of which students must choose four. There used to be only the Common App. Now there is the Coalition App and the Universal College Application. When I was a student, you took the SAT’s once. You didn’t prepare in advance. You just took it. Now you must choose between the SAT and the ACT. And then there’s the SAT 2 Subject Tests! It has become a great challenge to navigate the college application process. Even experts like myself have to work hard to keep up with the changes so we can advise our students accordingly.
3. At what age or grade do you recommend students start to work towards their applications and college goals?
Believe it or not, I sometimes see students in 8th grade. Once I even saw a 5th grader!! (That’s a little too early 😉 But I would say it’s most beneficial to meet with a college counselor at least once in freshman year and once in sophomore year, early in each of those years. And then it’s a good idea to make a concrete plan for SAT/ACT prep and begin that prep at the end of sophomore year or in the summer between 10th and 11th grades. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of taking the right courses, signing up for the right extracurriculars, and finding out about summer programs and internships that might interest you. When I meet a student in 11th grade, I often say, “I wish I met you a year ago!” Start early! It will make all the difference in the world.
4. What do students need from your services that they are unable to get from their counselors at school?
I answered this in a general way in question 1. But more specifically, I can’t imagine students could find someone better to work with on college essays 😉 I literally wrote the book on it –– The Art of the College Essay! College essays are my area of absolute expertise. I even train teachers in the methods I use to help students optimize their chances of getting into the schools of their dreams. So there’s that. In addition, because I’m not wedded to any one institution, I have a lot more flexibility. I’m not grooming higher achieving students to get into Princeton, Stanford, etc and discouraging the others. I can help every student find the path that is right for them, and then pull out all stops to get them into the school(s) of their dreams. I’m not overworked. I love what I do. And I have been extremely successful. Almost everyone I work with gets into their top school — and takes a deep and beautiful journey to get there. Does that answer your question? 😉
5. Have you noticed an increase in students using counseling services in recent years? How is the business of college counseling growing?
As I mentioned, I am incredibly busy. There is a HUGE need for my services. Students have no idea how to write their essays. They are filled with anxiety and stress. And they don’t know where to turn. A big part of my job is helping them calm down, find their stories and write winning essays that will get them in.
6. What expectations do you want people to have when beginning to use consulting services?
I always tell parents and students that though I cannot guarantee acceptance 100% of the time (only about 94%), I can guarantee that when they press send, students and parents alike will be super confident in their applications and essays, that in fact, they will know in their hearts they could not, under any circumstances, have done better if they tried. That’s a good feeling. The rest we leave up to the gods!
The only question Kamini didn’t ask me was what makes my services unique?
I’ll let parents and students speak for themselves. You can also take a look at this video to get a feel for what I do and who I am. If you think you’d like to find out more, please give me a jingle at 415-637-1955. If you know you’d like to work with me, don’t hesitate to Book Now!
Gabrielle Glancy is amazing at connecting with teenagers.
We have worked with her for our son (now a junior in the UC system) and currently she is working with our daughter who is in the middle of the process now — Gabby does everything she can to make a real connection with our amazing young adults and to help them learn and develop the tools to be successful with the test-taking, essay-writing process.
The college process is daunting, but Gabby is there with the kids and the parents to guide the way!
My daughter is a senior in high school and missed the second half of her sophomore year due to an illness. She came out of the hospital in June and had to start summer school right away. College applications were the last thing on our mind as she started her junior year. I contacted Gabrielle Glancy (as well as some other consultants) and found that Gabby’s style and approach matched our needs. From the outset she respected my daughter’s experience and was all about listening to her and helping her discover her story and communicate it in a compelling way. I feel like Gabby is not trying to make my daughter into someone else just to look good in an application.
The essay writing process, in particular, has been amazing and will have lasting benefit!
The process of free writes, reflection, developing insights and meaning, and connecting meaningful moments into stories has been a wonderful growth process for my daughter. She is becoming a better writer, even using some of the techniques in her school work. The reflective essay writing process has been a great opportunity for my daughter to think deeply about herself and authentically tell her story. This alone has been worth it. Working via Skype has been terrific too. No driving in rush hour to make an appointment and wasting time. They pop into Skype together and get to work. At the end, my daughter has her to-do list and knows what she needs to do. I have been hands off but check in and get involved only when necessary and it has been terrific. I could never have guided this process myself. Each session is based on what my daughter needs – discussing edits or issues in an essay, working through writer’s block, strategizing about how to use various pieces of writing in different essays. Wherever my daughter is, Gabby has a technique or approach to support her and help her move forward. My daughter started the process skeptical, with concern and some anxiety since she missed school etc., not sure she had anything to say, but she is really enjoying working with Gabby and has found her confidence and power. We’re applying early action, to UCs, CSUs, and some East Coast/Ivys. It is a lot of work!
Gabby has created a very do-able process and flow of work. Gabby is busy, but I have found her flexible and supportive throughout the process
Gabby worked with my daughter on her college essays and I’m so thankful we found her! What I found was that the process of digging deep to write an amazing personal college essay takes time and a lot of effort. Gabby uses a free-write process to get ideas flowing and gets these kids thinking outside the box to come up with something unique. The results do not come overnight but THEY DO COME! Gabby is super busy. Scheduled back to back most days. But when it’s your time, she is there 100%. My daughter never felt rushed or stressed by Gabby. My daughter felt as if she was working with a trusted friend throughout the process. But my daughter truly received a master class in writing, and has already used techniques she learned from Gabby in applying for an honors program in college.
Our daughter absolutely LOVED working with Gabby Glancy.
I don’t think college essay writing can be done in even a few sessions; it really is a process, and in fact, requires a particular style of writing that many students don’t really learn in high school. Our daughter worked with Gabby starting early in her junior year and through the mid-point of her senior year. Gabby was a huge help, support and inspiration, and taught her some invaluable ways of writing. Gabby taught her a whole new way of writing that really captures her unique voice and experiences, which is why the “free writes” that the parent below mentions are so important. These college essays must really be the student’s authentic voice and experience – and that requires a process of discovery, experimentation, reflection, writing, editing, feedback and then more writing and editing. We knew that the colleges our daughter were interested in place a high value on the quality of the essays, and that they really need to stand out. Using the writing techniques Gabby taught her, our daughter got into a very competitive summer fellowship (5% admissions rate), and she just got into a highly competitive, top-choice college early decision. Gabby has a strategy for helping young adults dig deep within themselves and find ways to work through writing blocks to come up with compelling, meaningful, authentic and excellent essays. I would definitely give her a call. She’s very organized, accessible and fun to work with.
I would like to add to the many recommendations for Gabby Glancy as a college admissions counselor. She worked with my daughter on all aspects of the application process, from helping her choose the right schools for her, to SAT tutoring, to writing essays.
Gabby is a former college admissions officer and really knows her stuff.
She helped bring up my daughters SAT scores significantly after just a few sessions, and really pushed her to write essays that she was proud of. My daughter said that her writing skills, which were already good, have improved so much since working with Gabby, and I think that that is worth its weight in gold. These are skills that will.
Gabby also clearly enjoys working with kids at this stage in life and really understands them.
She acted as a therapist to my daughter throughout the process, giving her pep talks exactly when she needed them.
I only wish we had met with her earlier in the process….my son is a freshman, and I’m going to take him to see her this Spring!
Everything you need to know about the results is on her website, but what really convinced us to find the money to get our two high schoolers tutoring with her was the woman herself. I was skeptical when I heard about the service and results she promised; my son was WAY behind on college prep; it was already October of his senior year and he hadn’t begun to apply to schools, and though his grades were passable, his SAT scores were only 1530.
For parents of teens who are flummoxed by the complexity and competitiveness of SAT prep and college application process, I have a recommendation: Gabrielle Glancy of New Vision Learning.
My daughter, a hard-working Junior, wanted to get a head start on her SATs and needed help with writing and vocabulary in particular. Grudgingly, I scheduled a consult with Glancy in San Rafael. I was immediately taken by her intense passion, her ability to connect to my kids and motivate them with specific goals and the encouragement that only someone who has spent a good number of years in education could muster.
Glancy is determined to help students find their own strengths and work with them to identify the possibilities without selling them pie in the sky.
My son’s SAT scores have risen to 1730. His math and writing have improved, and he’s been motivated to apply to colleges and follow up like never before. He’s already been accepted at Long Beach State and UC Riverside. We never thought we’d be promoting an SAT and college prep tutor, but Glancy has taken two concerned kids and their parents and given us all the tools and wherewithal to not only survive today’s college application process, but even enjoy it.
You get what you pay for. Glancy’s a master.
She goes around the country giving talks on writing college essays and wrote a book on it. She took our son through the process from beginning to end. It wasn’t cheap, but he got into UCLA and some other great schools.
You feel like you’re in good hands working with her — expert hands.
I highly recommend Gabrielle Glancy as a college counselor. We went through the process without a counselor for our oldest, and decided, given the personality of our second, that it would be a good idea to enlist some outside help. Gabby worked with our daughter for 8 months (from spring of junior year through applications submission on 12/30), and, thanks to her, most of the stress at home around college apps was eliminated. This meant that our home was not a battlefield but rather a calm place–very different from two years ago when our oldest was at the same stage. Sophie stayed focused and on track both with the apps and with working to get her grades up (part of our agreement with her and with Gabby).
My daughter heard from her first school last week–she was accepted into their honors program with a scholarship that will cover 50% of all expenses. Gabby is worth every penny!
Gabrielle Glancy is truly the best. Our daughter worked with Gabby two years ago and got into the school of her dreams.
We started our son at the same time as our daughter even though he was only a sophomore. Gabby helped him every step of the way — with SAT’s, his college list and the entire college process. As a rising senior, he is now working with her on his college essays. In this area, I cannot imagine anyone better. She has helped him come up with really unique topics that express his true essence, is teaching him how to write in ways he and we could never have imagined and has helped him gain confidence in himself throughout the process. I have seen them work together and they have a great rapport.
Gabby is easy to talk to but really sharp and on her game. My son always comes out of her office (or SKYPE) smiling.
He’s calm around her and she gets his creative juices flowing. Catch her early if you can. She’s busy. Her book The Art of the College Essay came out last year and she’s started working with students all over the country and all over the world. She’s worth every penny. A rare find. You can also check out her website which is pretty thorough and informative.
Gabby is the best in the business! I have three sons and I have never met someone who has as much expertise and rapport with kids as Gabby has.
She’s truly an expert in her field. As a former Admissions director, she knows from the inside out what students need to get into college.
Working with Gabby is really one-stop shopping. She is worth every penny!
Our daughter had done previous preparation for the SAT’s, but eight sessions with Gabby was worth all of the rest of it put together. She has some techniques that seemed to unlock previously locked doors for Sophia. And then she helped her find her voice and write the most beautiful essays.
We did our college process from start to finish with Gabrielle Glancy and everything that is said about her is true.