These last weeks have been interesting for those of us who are University Guidance Counsellors. I opened the papers recently and saw a familiar face from the series «Desperate Housewives», in the spotlight in the United States because of the help she afforded to her children to ensure their acceptance into the « right » universities. What a shame.
As a college and University Guidance Counsellor, many students come to see me every day, and we discuss their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations for the future. I encourage them to study hard but also to find a work-life balance which is key to a healthy, happy life. We discuss all manner of subjects: Greta Thunberg (the young Swedish activist fighting to stop climate change), students around the world walking to try to save our planet, rugby, fashion, art, music, current affairs – discussions which help these young people to find their career path and their passion so they can have good lives.
Students may ask me about specific schools and universities they have heard about, but, speaking as a Guidance Counsellor, I am, as are many other counsellors I know, trying to find the « best fit » for each student, not merely suggesting universities that are the best-known ones. Doing this is not always an easy task, but it is one worth pursuing for the sake of our students. Young people who find the university that fits with their values, their dreams and their vision will, I believe, be happier, more fulfilled and more authentic human beings.
The question we must ask is whether we have all, somehow, become obsessed with university rankings? Do we need to think again about the real aim and value of education? I recently read an article in the New York Herald Tribune entitled «Inside the pricey totally legal world of college consultants», and it was very disheartening to me with regards to the important work we do. Helping only certain students enter the «best « colleges», in a dishonest way does not seem to me to be the path we should follow.
Mary Mayenfisch – Career Counselor – Collège Champittet
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