The College Counseling Office at Branson is responsible for helping students navigate the college search and application process. Our two primary goals are to ensure that each student has choices for attending college at the end of the process and to alleviate some of the stress that is often associated with college admissions. To this end, the College Counseling Office offers a comprehensive program that aims to guide and support students and families through the process. The program consists of several major components:
Parent College Nights
Realizing that parents play a critical role in the college search and application process, the College Counseling Office offers parents from each grade level a college program with three primary goals in mind, first to educate parents about the current college admission landscape, second to provide insight into each aspect of the process, and lastly, to keep parents informed about where their students should be in the overall process.
Individual Appointments with Students and Families
Beginning in the second half of the junior year, college counselors meet individually with students and parents. During the family meetings the student’s academic record, interests and goals are discussed. During the individual appointments with students, we seek to learn about the student’s personal and academic interests, explore possible college choices, and discuss expectations for the college search and college admissions process. These meetings help foster strong relationships with the students. In the senior year, we continue to meet regularly with students and parents to provide guidance throughout the college application process, provide feedback and offer advice on students’ application essays, and help students with their final college decisions.
Dilemma of Choice
Think of the term—dilemma of choice—as a philosophy of sorts, a philosophy that stems from our strong belief that every graduating senior should be faced with a dilemma of choice, meaning that every student should have at least two or three college choices at the end of the college application process. If we ever seem conservative when it comes to this process, it is because we would rather see students struggle over where to attend than have no such dilemma. It is that simple.
Relationships with CollegesThe college counselors represent Branson School to and maintain relationships with colleges and universities through participation in college admissions conferences, professional organizations, and college counselor visit programs to colleges. To help expose students to the various colleges and universities, the College Counseling Office welcomes approximately seventy college admission representatives to the school each year. Seniors are encouraged to attend these presentations as a way to learn more about the different colleges.
Conversations with the Counselors‘Conversations with the Counselors’ is an opportunity for all parents to meet with the college counselors on a more informal basis. We understand that oftentimes parents have quick questions that they would like to ask a college counselor. ‘Conversations with the Counselors’ provides this very opportunity! For an hour each Tuesday morning—from 7:45 to 8:45 AM—the college counselors will be available to respond to questions and concerns about the admissions process. Sometimes, parents or their friends hear comments in the community that surprise or puzzle them about college admissions policies, standardized testing, or application strategy and timing. ‘Conversations with the Counselors’ provides a comfortable environment to ask about these or other topics, to lessen misinformation, and to talk about changes in the college admission scene. We hope parents take advantage of this opportunity whenever convenient and hope they find it helpful. As an important clarification, these sessions are not intended to replace the individualized college counseling meetings, and we will not be able to talk about a particular student’s or parent’s experience or difficulties. When every junior has been assigned to a college counselor, individual and confidential issues will be welcomed and addressed.