The role of college counsellor is an essential part of the
academic landscape in many countries, and as these advisers
learn more about the range of available study options, the scope
of international opportunity for students widens. Kerrie Kennedy
explores the evolving role of college counsellors working in North
America and in international schools around the world.
ISSUE #19 | THE PIE REVIEW | 39
WHAT DOES IT take to get into an Ivy
League school? It’s a question that plagues
the mind of many an ambitious student – and
often, parent – who dares to dream about an education
in one of the US’s highly selective top eight. But with ac-ceptance
rates as low as five per cent (Harvard reached
a record low of 4.59 per cent this year) it appears fewer
people than ever know the answer.
One Ivy alumni who discovered a fulfilling career in
counselling while searching for that solution is Mandee
Heller Adler, founder and president of Florida-based edu-cation
consultancy International College Counselors.
Having successfully transitioned from public school to
the prestigious University of Pennsylvania on her own me-rits,
Heller Adler set out to investigate why so few public
school children were attending ‘Ivies’ when compared with
those from private schools.
But the big differentiator wasn’t money or even intelli-gence,
she tells The PIE Review. It was guidance.
“Having someone by your side who is going to visit as
many colleges as possible and who’s trying to become an
expert on a range of things including learning disabilities or
how to spot a gifted student in athletics is a huge asset when
it comes to writing a college application,” she explains.
While still somewhat alien to the education systems of the
UK, Australia and many parts of Europe, college counsellors
have become an integral part of the passage to higher educa-tion
stateside in recent years – and not just for the country’s
With 15 years’ experience and two books under her belt,
Heller Adler knows a couple of reasons why.
“When I started my career as a college counsellor, I
used to have to explain to people what I did,” she recalls.
“Now the question isn’t whether a student is going to use a
counsellor – it’s who he or she is going to use.”
With around 4,000 colleges and universities in the US, Hel-ler
Adler reiterates that it would be impossible for one person
to research everything about every one of them, or work out
the best way to approach the application process.
“For international students, counsellor support is even
more beneficial, because they have to jump through so many
hoops just to get through the application process.”