College counselors vs. Private Counselors: Our Separate Roles

Even the best private high schools can only afford to provide one college counselor for every 100 students. Is your child getting enough personal attention for their university admissions process?

With hundreds of transcripts to send and recommendation letters to write, high school college counselors are too busy with administrative work to worry about the finer details of your child’s application strategy. Let’s take a comparative look at the difference between a high school counselor’s job and think STEP’s value-add services.


Based upon Michael’s experience supporting college counseling officers in Taipei’s international high schools, these counselors spend a disproportionate amount of time in meetings with administrators and other teachers. They sometimes even act as substitute teachers! Whereas we estimate a high school counselor spends 35% of his or her time on non face-to-face student interaction, think STEP dedicates 100% of its efforts towards directly helping students with their admissions strategy and needs.

In addition, think STEP advisors are available all day, including the weekends. Whenever you have a question, there’s no need to wait until Monday morning—just LINE us!


Even in top private high schools, college counselors serve upwards of 50 to 60 seniors per year. Because they focus on the paperwork of the admissions process (sending transcripts, writing recommendation letters, etc.), their ability to make suggestions on student essays is limited. Whereas we estimate that a high school counselor has 5 to 10 hours of 1-on-1 face time with any given student, think STEP provides upwards of 50+ hours of guidance, all of which we will describe below.

Starting Year

For the above reasons, some counselors are too busy to take a student’s case more intensively until the 11th grade. By that time, it is quite late to begin developing a comprehensive admissions strategy and Triangle of Talent, making it much less possible to align a student’s academic choices with their three summers and four years of extracurricular accomplishments. For these reasons, think STEP recommends beginning Admissions Strategy during 9th grade, the earliest year that universities will consider your academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

Responsibilities and Customization

think STEP goes above and beyond what a typical high school counselor has the time or energy to offer. The school counselor covers the basic necessities, whereas think STEP is the specialist that takes your child’s high school experience and university application to the next level. Take a look at the chart below to briefly review each side’s responsibilities.



High School Counselor think STEP Education 
Responsibilities Writing Recommendation Letters;

Sending Documents to Universities;

Represent High School in Communication with University

Personalized Service

And Strategy for:

–Student’s Self-Discovery


–Course Selection

–Resume Building

–School List Creation

–Application Essay Planning and Editing



Level of Personal Service








The Upshot: With the myriad obligations that a school counselor must fulfill, it is impossible to receive the customized and attentive service that your child deserves. At think STEP, we ensure availability for our students and offer top-notch strategies to ensure Admissions Strategy success.

Does your school not offer enough individualized attention to your child’s university application process? Sign up for a free consultation (6000 NTD value) today!

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