Our Meeting With High School Counselors

High school counselors help students pick colleges, and they help shape our rankings, too.

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Editors from U.S. News met earlier this week with a cross section of high school counselors to get their input on various education issues. We found this meeting highly beneficial and heard many new ideas that we are studying.

The high school counselors who attended were Silvette Bullard from Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.; Marjorie Jacobs from SAR Academy in Riverdale, N.Y.; Annalee Nissenholtz, an independent college counselor in St. Louis; Susan Rexford from West Springfield High School in Springfield, Va.; and Missy Sanchez from Woodward Academy near Atlanta.

Here is a sampling of the topics that were discussed:

  • How is the current economic downturn affecting the types of schools your students are considering applying to?
    • Are students applying to public colleges more frequently than they did in the past?
      • Has there been an increase in students applying early decision or early action during this admission cycle?
        • Are more students going to a two-year college in order to save money for a couple of years before going on to a four-year college in their state?
          • The pros and cons of going to a historically black college
            • Are colleges reducing their recruiting and other outreach efforts because of their current budget woes?
              • Tips for students from lower-income families on how to successfully navigate the college application process. Students from lower-income families need to start thinking about the college application process much earlier than many do.
                • What are some pointers for students being recruited for an athletic scholarship? How important is the sophomore year to athletic recruiting?
                  • The new policy allowing choice on reporting SAT scores is confusing to many. What approach should students, parents, and counselors use? Is it better for a student to withhold SAT scores from a college or not?
                    • What did high school college counselors think about our first ever America's Best Colleges high school counselors' rankings of colleges? Should U.S. News do them again?
                      • The U.S. News education website. Suggestions were made on how to make our website better and how to make its college search function more user friendly.