When families ignore counselors’ advice

Counselors, how do you handle it when a student (or parent) won’t take your advice?

A family insists that their student apply to a long list of schools you know will not admit the student.

A parent wants their student to write an essay on a topic you know to be overused, like “Sports taught me the value of teamwork and committing to my goals.”

A student continuously retakes the SAT even after achieving a score that’s good enough to please any college’s standardized testing expectations.

Any person in the consulting, advising, or counseling profession faces the challenge of people who ask for your help but then won’t take your advice. But college counselors, both independent and those in high schools, feel deeply responsible for—and protective of—their students. These are kids, and we’re talking about their futures. I’d hate to have to calculate how many hours of sleep counselors lose worrying about students who aren’t following the advice they have access to.

If there were a quick solution to this challenge, someone would have found it already. But I can offer some advice and encouragement via the past posts below.

First, remember the inalienable rights of students, parents and counselors.

When you’re on opposite sides of an issue, start by anchoring with agreement.

Rather than debating, share your concerns.

Here are some tips when a parent gets too involved in the college essays.