As November begins, the seniors’ early decision college deadlines are due in a few weeks, with regular decision deadlines right around the corner: As a consequence, the college counseling offices have been bustling with activity.
This article peers into the daily lives of Hockaday’s three college counselors: Courtney Skerritt, Micah Lyles and Elizabeth Jones.
While college counseling seems to resemble a mixture between a secret society of seniors and juniors and a stress vacuum from the outsider’s point of view, Hockaday’s three college counselors assure only positivity and hard-work inhabit their small college realm.
Whether it be working as a college counselor at another school or being on a college admissions board, all three counselors have had years of experience in the college admissions realm before coming to Hockaday.
“I initially entered this profession on the admissions side, and I worked for a number of years doing college admissions and recruitment,” Jones said. “During that time, I learned about the role of a college counselor on the high school side, and I realized that was the job I wanted to be doing.”
Every year, each counselor works with about 80 students: 40 seniors in the fall and 40 juniors in the spring. While seniors finish their college processes at the beginning of the year, college counselors begin the whole process over again with the juniors towards the second half of the year.
Although each counselor works with a plethora of students, they ensure to treat every girl as an individual, giving them their full attention.
To guarantee an equal experience for each student, Lyles has a certain chair in which all students sit during their meetings.
“Every girl who sits in that chair is an individual,” Lyles said. “Her curriculum is unique because of our semester course offerings, her activities and interests are unique because of the depth of activities that Hockaday offers.”
While the counselors aid their students to understand the break down of the college admissions process and go through it in a really successful way, the girls ultimately are the ones facilitating their progress.
“My job is to help students learn how to identify schools that are great fits and put together applications that represent their stories, all while serving as their advocate,” Jones said.
While seniors fill out applications in the fall, the counselors not only are busy meeting with the girls about their applications, but they also have to edit their essays, meet with college representatives and attend college informational meetings with the juniors.
“I enjoy every aspect of October, but writing 40 unique letters of recommendation—which I actually love to do, is challenging. I just wish I had more time to do it—meeting from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in back-to-back meetings with students, while still trying to edit multiple essays for each student, all within a four to six week period is difficult,” Lyles said.
However, despite the constant work, all three counselors love their jobs.
“My job is so interesting because the students are so interesting. My job is to help the students tell their stories,” Skerritt said. “I am fascinated in the relationship between the student and the school, and how cultures shape an individual. I feel like there is no better example of that than a college application.”
- Micah Lyles starts off his day by responding to emails at his standing desk.
- Courtney Skerritt flips through the Fiske Guide to Colleges in between meetings.
- Libby Conder reviews incoming transcripts to check that they are accurate.
- Elizabeth Jones conferences with senior Emily Wu as the college application deadline quickly approaches.
- Micah Lyles reviews a student’s supplemental essay before his meeting.
Story by Ashlye Dullye
Photos by Charlotte Dross