College Advising Takes Early Actions


Over the past several months, the college advising office has been working on changes to shift the timelines of assigning college advisors and holding VQV sessions earlier compared to previous years. As a part of the new schedule, current juniors attended their first monthly VQV session in September.

Director of College Advising Jami Silver said that the college advising office has undergone significant changes during the past three months.

She highlighted that three out of the four college advisors are relatively new.

“I came here last March,” Ms. Silver said, “[Associate Director of College Advising Matt Waldman] started in July, and [Coordinator of College Resources Blair Elliott] joined us on Oct. 1.”

Ms. Silver said that while the philosophy is the same, the new staff brings a different dynamic. “We want to keep what is working well and improve what can be improved,” she said.

“I always think of college advising as a space that is inclusive and welcoming, a place that is student-centered, and I think that it will be more helpful to students if we reach out to them earlier.”

Mr. Waldman said that current juniors will be matched to their college advisors this October as opposed to January the following year.

He said that the sophomores will be informed of their college advisors in February and not because there are a lot of things that they need to be doing, but rather due to the fact that they might be curious.

Mr. Waldman said that he wanted students to know that there are resources in the college advising office that can help them if they ever have questions.

Ms. Silver agreed that these changes are being made to lower stress. And she added that the Middle School parents can ask them questions too.

“KO is a 6-12 school, and we have been very open to students and parents that have questions, but now we want to be even more open and visible as a resource for all,”she said.  

“For students and parents, [the] college process is stressful,” Mr. Waldman said, “and it is easy to get anxious about what you should be doing and how to get into the schools that you most want to.”

Ms. Silver said that there are more and more questions urrounding the college process.

“Students are concerned about what curriculum they should choose, the strategies of taking the standardized test, etc.,” Ms. Silver said. “We want to be accessible and support them as they are thinking about the college process and we want the students to have a point person with whom they will develop relationships that will make them comfortable to reach out for help.”

She said that the monthly VQV for juniors in the fall addresses the PSAT registration and other testing schedules. Junior Esha Kataria said that she found it very helpful as she started to think about her college process.

“It helps me to reduce stress because the earlier you start, the less pressure you will feel,” Esha said. “You get to learn about what’s expected in the process and decide what you want to do.”

She said that given the importance of the standardized testing and the strategies it will be too late to start the second semester.

Junior Jean Wang said that she too found it beneficial. “The early start gives you confidence as you know you will have more time to prepare for whatever that is expected of you in the college search and applications process,” she said.

Ms. Silver said that the college process is about students finding out who they are and what they like.

“It’s really self-reflective,” she said, “it’s about why do you do the things that you do.”

Mr. Waldman said that there are two different things the College Advising does.

“There is the practical side that consists of forms, strategized testing, and paperwork,” he said, “and then there is the other side where thoughtful explorations of students’ interests and opportunities happen.”

Mr. Waldman said that being an expert for the students and their families allows him to work with families to  reflect upon what they want in the college process.

“I bring my own understanding of the college landscape to parents and students to help them find the right fit,” he said.