Counseling: A One-Stop-Shop

From our last two articles, you should by now have a fair idea of what our Advisory and Counseling departments offered as two separate entities. As of the coming year, the departments are merging to form one, holistic and all-encompassing Counseling department.

Such a collaboration will have a foreseeable impact on all students entering A Levels next year.

To highlight why the merger is an exciting prospect for the school, we asked our counselors a couple of questions to gain more insight.

In short, the new counseling department is going to be a one stop shop for self-development, guidance, mentorship, and not to forget, college counseling. You will have one mentor throughout your two years at Cedar. This means one person who will keep a record of where you started, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and watch you grow.

Q. How will the ‘Counselor’ play the role of both an advisor and a college counselor?

Simply put, advisors have a more prominent role to play in your first year, while college counselors step in during your second year. Advisors guide you in all aspects when it comes to your school performance and your personal growth. The amount of confusion and decision-making situations that students are bombarded with at this stage of their lives can be overwhelming. The advisor’s job is, at the very least, to make this transition less overwhelming, and to facilitate the path which, through their relationships with the students, they feel is best suited to reach their goals.

College Counselors, have an extremely important role to play in the student’s life on a personal as well as academic level. They see a student’s college application through from start to finish, from research and shortlisting universities, to essays, personal statements and SAT prep, through to the end. While their main task is to guide and facilitate students with the college research and application process, they also provide mentorship and guidance through sharing their own personal experiences with the students.

Now, one person will take on both responsibilities, and be your go-to person for your two years in A Levels from start to finish.

Q. Why are the Student Advisory and College Counseling departments merging?

We thought it was important that students start, and move forward with, one counselor who is involved with their student from the get-go. Provided the student makes it a point to visit their counselor every week, and makes the effort to build a relationship with them, the counselor will know all there is to know about the student pertaining to school. This doesn’t comprise merely academic records, though. This means the student’s personality, temperament, strengths, weaknesses, history with subjects, career aspirations, goals, and even struggles.

It also means the counselor can exercise much more strategic and timely ‘damage control’ before a potential crisis situation unfolds (dropping a subject mid-year because it doesn’t suit you, perhaps?). If it is this very individual with whom the student has built a relationship and sought mentorship from, since the very beginning, what better person to guide and better prepare them for college applications and course selection? Ultimately, this will fill the gap between college and university preparation, and school performance.

Another objective is to emphasize the importance of thinking about college in AS, rather than leaving it to A2. Why? Because it is in your first year of A Levels, during your winter break and summer vacation, that you will have the time on your hands to not only do research, but also explore your options and your strengths through internships and work experience. We cannot stress enough how much time and tension it will save you if you take the SAT in your first year when you have more free time, as opposed to second year when you have application deadlines looming over you like a dark cloud. If you begin to write your personal essays in the summer before A2 starts, you can potentially save months of editing and rewriting with your counselors, and actually focus on what’s important.

The merging of the departments will therefore, in many ways, not just prepare the student for college, but for professional and real world situations simultaneously.

Q. What should I, as a student entering AS, know about the hybrid department? How will this affect me and what should I keep in mind?

The most important thing, as we mentioned earlier, is for you to visit your counselor regularly. The direct outcome of this is the building of a relationship which will not only help you with your academics and school performance, but also to understand yourself as a person in this often tricky and confusing time of your life.

You do not need to be suffering from unsatisfactory grades, or be miserable with your subject choices in order to have a reason to see your counselor. Think of them as a mentor who will guide you through the good times and the bad. Even if you think that there is nothing to talk about, see your counselor every week. They are there for you.

Your counselors will be the ones to write your counselor recommendations, and a good recommendation comes from a solid relationship. A promising recommendation can be a turning point in your overall college profile, so take the resource you have, and use it to win!

To reiterate one of the reasons for the merging of the departments, remember: It’s never too early to be prepared for college or university. In fact, whether you’re currently in your O Level years, or are about to enter A Levels, it is not too early to start your research. Do not leave the college planning to A2!

Remember, no matter how smoothly you think you are getting on in school, it is still essential that you visit your counselor regularly to update them about your progress and your future plans. Like we said earlier, they’re there for you!