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Expert College Admissions Professional Development for School Counselors

Picture of Belinda Southgate
By Belinda Southgate on February, 20 2024 | 7 minute read
Collegewise counselors professional development workshop for schools

If you’re a high school counselor, principal, or district leader, you may be looking for effective ways to improve your college and career readiness infrastructure and guide more students to successful post-high school outcomes. Having just returned from the annual AASA conference, we know that this is top of mind for many superintendents. For 25+ years Collegewise has been at the forefront of delivering targeted college admissions-focused professional development for school counselors and educators around the country. Read on to learn more about what our professional development looks like and how it could benefit your school or district.

The Problem - School Counselors Often Have Limited Time and Resources to Prioritize College and Career Readiness 

Let's talk college admissions. We can all agree that school counselors have a lot on their plates—between supporting students' mental health, managing hefty caseloads, keeping up with ever-changing educational landscapes, and navigating the new FAFSA, tackling the complexities of college applications can often feel like a daunting task. We know this because among our team of 85+ college admissions experts, many used to be school counselors themselves, and also because we work directly with schools and counselors who consistently reiterate this message.

Because we work closely with school districts, we also know that district leaders are juggling a lot of priorities and there’s only so much funding to go around, especially now that COVID funding is dwindling. Finding an effective, efficient, and reasonably priced solution for improving post-high school outcomes is paramount. 


Recent changes in the college admissions landscape have made things even more difficult. Consider these statistics:

+21.3% - The number of U.S. college applications increased from 2021-2022. With even more applicants in the pool, families worry about gaining acceptance to a great fit school.

1033+ - The number of colleges on the Common App continues to grow. With so many options, learning about each college and determining fit has become a challenge for students and counselors.

408:1 - The average student-to-school counselor ratio at schools in the US. It’s no wonder that school counselors often don't have the time to address every need for every student.


The Solution: Collegewise College Admissions-Focused Professional Development for School Counselors and Educators

At Collegewise, we're all about personalized support and tailored solutions to fit even the tightest budget. Our professional development resources and workshops are designed to meet the unique needs of each school and district, ensuring that you have the tools and knowledge necessary to help your students make informed decisions about their post-high school plans.


Recent Collegewise professional development case study - Imagine International Academy of North Texas:

Imagine International Academy of North Texas engaged Collegewise in August 2023, just before the school year started, when they were welcoming a new college counselor to the staff. The school’s leadership wanted to support their new hire and give them the tools they needed to be ready to greet nervous seniors, enthusiastic juniors, and the grown-ups that go along with these populations. Collegewise proposed some options and looped in Mckinney, Texas-based college counselor, and International Baccalaureate expert, Karen Kimball


Karen Kimball, Collegewise Admissions Counselor

During their engagement, Karen explains that she “shared recommendations for structure, suggestions for what the counselor’s first weeks could look like, a round-table on the topic of teacher recommendations, along with frameworks around the details required by the Common App and the counselor’s responsibilities for application completion. I also guided the design of a system for the counselor to triage/prioritize the seniors and their progress. When I returned to this school later in the fall, the focus was on how to support robust college research for juniors and how to start to cultivate relationships with 9th and 10th graders.” 

Even though the professional development project has now come to an end, Karen maintains an ongoing relationship with Imagine Academy. “ I remain in touch with the counselor and the school - always sharing Collegewise resources and more. The counselor is fully integrated into the community, has had the space to engage in many ways with the students beyond the college counseling role, and articulates that understanding how to jump into the counseling position with confidence came from the time spent with Collegewise and was significant in their success.”

Of course, this is just one example of the type of professional development support Collegewise provides to schools and districts. Whether you're looking to brush up on college research strategies, dive deep into the nitty-gritty of financial aid, or sharpen skills in essay writing guidance, our dedicated team of admissions counseling experts is ready to design and deliver personalized training, webinars, and workshops that meet your unique needs. 

And here's the best part: our approach does not just impart information. It fosters a supportive community where educators can share ideas, learn from one another, and grow together. 


Why Schools Trust Collegewise

  • 135+ deep team of industry experts, including former admissions officers, school counselors, and educators.
  • 500+ years of combined experience from the greatest minds in the industry. We accept just 2% of job applicants and our counselors are regular speakers at industry conferences like NACAC.
  • 200+ school partnerships and counting. We know we’re doing a good job when schools renew with us year after year and see their college admittance rates increase.
  • 25+ years of working with families and schools. We’re experts in the field and know how to adapt to changes and trends.
  • 92% of our students are accepted to one of their top 3 schools. 
  • 75k+ per student average scholarship and financial aid yield.
  • 9 out of 10 families recommend us to their friends.


A Deeper Dive into Collegewise School Counselor Professional Development Offerings

Our professional development programs allow school counselors and other faculty members to gain a deeper understanding of the college admissions process and develop actionable skills for supporting their students. Our trainers come from a variety of backgrounds: they’re former admissions officers, high school counselors, teachers, and professors. As lifelong learners and respected speakers at industry events, our team of experts brings nuanced, timely admissions insight to your district.


Some of the topics we cover within our professional development training sessions include: 
  • College application 101
  • Application deep-dive
  • College research and list-building
  • Standardized testing and academics
  • Personal statement and supplemental essay writing
  • Navigating financial aid
  • How to score scholarships and make college affordable


We also offer our Wiser Advisor Subscription, which includes:
  • Full access to the Collegewise “hive” community of 135+ experts
  • Quick answers to your most pressing questions, with expert guidance available in just 24 hours
  • Scheduled 1:1 “gut check” meetings to delve deeper into the challenges your students are facing

So, whether you're a seasoned counselor looking to level up your college readiness game or a principal aiming to enhance your school's support systems, Collegewise is here to support you every step of the way. Together, let's empower our students to dream big, aim high, and achieve their academic goals with confidence and clarity.


Want to Learn More?

If you’d like to learn more about working with Collegewise, you can check out our school prospectus or schedule time to speak with Joe Korfmacher, Director of Partnerships at Collegewise. During your call, Joe, a former school counselor, will get to know your district’s unique needs so we can build an individualized plan to help you reach your goals. 


About Collegewise:

With more than twenty-five years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you the student. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for each student to be their best self - whether in the classroom, the applications, or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of counselingtest prepacademic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, lead to 4x higher than average admissions rates. 


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