The Beginning Of College Counseling

by Abe Asher

Some of you may know that I am now a junior in high school, though clearly not all of you since I’ve been asked three times in the last two days if I’m a senior.

I know, I’m getting old and not aging well. But please be careful about what you say because it hurts.

In any case, I am strongly considering going to college in the next couple of years. Most people assume that I will be attending, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. For one thing, I am not a huge fan of owing schools a lot of money. Another thing is that I often fear change and new situations, and that should be respected.

I also don’t really like everyone, and if I go to a college there will probably be some people I don’t like.

Still, with that in mind, I have begun the college admission process.

Fortunately, I have been assigned Paula Sutton as a college counselor. Some of you might think that Paula is extremely competent and good at her job, but I was slightly taken aback in our first meeting when Paula lit several college banners on fire and bragged about breaking into SPARC in the middle of the night and smashing tennis balls off the wall.

Paula is also insistent that I take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, even though I tried to explain to her that I was protesting the college process and taking a holistic approach that will include me moving into a glorified tractor-trailer and leading a life of hermitage in the Amazon rainforest.

Paula said she “respects” my life choices, but “strongly recommends” that I take the tests.

It’s okay, because I am already biased towards college counselors because my grandmother used to be one.

She was very good, too, and at one point her reputation was such that the principle of a major Cleveland school brought her son to her office for college counseling instead of going to the college counselor at her own school. When the meeting started, my grandma asked if they had any specific criteria for their college search.

The mother said one thing: As a very Jewish family, she didn’t want her son to attend a Christian or Catholic school.

My grandma looked at them, thought it over, and enthusiastically recommended… “Boston College!”

She no longer works as a college counselor.

Although I envisioned Paula as a slap-stick comedian, someone who I could go to ballgames and the bowling alley with, someone who could show me around the rough streets of Brooklyn, those things haven’t quite happened yet. Despite considerable incentive, Paula refuses to get drunk at work and bash her least favorite colleges.

My theory is that attendance czar and wielder of considerable power Allison Nugent actually decides where everyone goes to college which is why I am dropping hints like, “I am GON-ZAGA be back in an hour,” every time I leave school.

Frequently, family members and other people who wish to annoy me with their genuine interest in my life ask me where I’m looking for college. I usually respond that I am looking “around,” in the “country,” outside of my “backyard.”

But between you and me, I’m confident. Rick Rees, my advisor and fearless slayer of dragons, has already guaranteed he can get me into Harvard — which might actually be an easier feet than getting people to sign up for ECHOES.

While I have been accused of choosing my new advisor purely based on which college they could get me into, I can assure you that’s not true: I didn’t sign up for Julie’s advisory despite her being a graduate of my dream school, Ripon School in Wisconsin, alma mater of Jack the Ripon.

All in all, things are going well. Although I loathe the colleges and all the stand for, the college counseling process has brought out the best in me, as it has brought out the best in my family for generations. Stay tuned!

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