Director of College Counseling, Corie McDermott-Fazzino, and College Counselor Kate Smith recently traveled to the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) Summer Institute at the University of Oregon. The pair not only met with colleagues from the University of Portland, Lewis and Clark College, and Reed College they also presented.
Their presentation entitled Hearing the Student Voice explored how, through questions and conversation, the counselor can awaken and uncover the student’s own natural voice on the page. “As long-time English teachers, we know our way around all kinds of writing assignments, from new critical analysis to creative pieces. Even so, as college counselors, we still find that working with students on their college essays can be tricky business.” McDermott explains. “How do we guide the student, without overstepping, to produce a polished, original piece that clearly reveals their unique individual self? To put it simply, we don’t. Rather than lead students anywhere, we ask questions and help them hear and recognize their own growing voice. Whether this leads to such universal topics as relationships with grandparents or difficult ones dealing with trauma or questions of identity, we become their sounding boards.”