College Counseling: Worth the Price

Courtesy+Angela+Price

Courtesy Angela Price

Rachel Lu and Isabella Borkovic

The beginning of the school year commences a four-month marathon for seniors — and for counselors as well. As the race to start and finish college applications begins, counselors receive an influx of panicked seniors. But more than another round of college applications, this year brings a new addition to the College and Career Center, veteran college counselor Angela Price.

Price will bring a wealth of expertise and experience in the admissions process to Los Altos: she has a long history in college admissions and the knowledge of an insider. Price has worked as an admissions officer at USC and University of Connecticut. Before coming to Los Altos, she made the transition from admissions officer to college adviser, working at Berkeley High School for ten years.

After working as an admissions officer, Price’s career change to college counselor has offered her a different perspective on the application process. Price has found that she enjoys working with students one-on-one rather than just reading about them on a piece of paper.

“I like [being a college counselor] because I like making sure that students understand the process and what they need to do to come out of this process with a college that they can live with and be successful in,” Price said.

One of Price’s main goals as a college adviser is to bring a sense of calm to the college process. The pressure of researching and applying to colleges intensifies the abundant stress of senior year, especially when parents and students begin emphasizing the importance of getting into what they consider a “top-tier” school. Price hopes to undo some of that anxiety and stress.

“I find that students get overwhelmed, not with the actual process but with the idea of the process,” Price said. “I try to bring a sense of reality to the process. We have over 3,000 colleges in our country, and [I try to make] sure that students know that there are options for them.”

Price emphasizes that it’s important that students’ self-worth is not correlated with the school they attend, a difficult concept for many students to embrace.

“For the first time in your life, [you can] work really really hard [on something] and still might not get [what you want],” Price said. “But that should not define who you are. I try to make sure that students understand [that] how they respond to that is the definition of who they are.”

With a copious number of national and global applications, it is easy for admissions officers to view students quantitatively — Price knows that all too well. As part of her role at Los Altos, she works closely with admissions directors to make students more than just another application. By ensuring colleges’ admissions staff come to Los Altos and meet students, the application becomes a much more holistic process.

Price recognizes that even with the help and guidance of college counselors, there are still a lot of negative emotions surrounding the application process. Support during this period of time is essential.

“I do try to make sure that I encourage students, especially in their senior year, to look around each other and just say a nice word a kind word,” Price said. “It’s a very tough time for everybody.”