“I think high school has become much harder in terms of
pressure and expectations, but if we can support a student
through the whole process, it makes for a very satisfying
job,” she tells The PIE.
And such support doesn’t just begin in the final throes of
students’ secondary education either.
“I have a case of 52 students, which I firstly meet briefly
in 10th grade. Then in 11th grade, I start meeting them in
large groups, then smaller groups, then individually and
with their parents,” explains Kelly Wetzell.
“Early on our students begin to look at the international
rankings to start a list of potential study destinations, but
we feel it’s our job to help them to look further afield and
expand their list, not just focus on rankings.”
Kelly Wetzell says the expectation in UWCSEA is that
students will have access to expert advice to prepare for
all aspects of the applications process.
“Nowadays counsellors have to be knowledgeable across
a wide range of destinations and programs,” she says.
“A few years ago it was all about studying economics,
but now it’s all about computer science, so you need to
look at what students are interested in. You can’t possibly
master all of the options, and it’s why partnerships and
collaboration with other counsellors is so important.
“We have to constantly stay up to date – but that makes
the job exciting.”
ISSUE #19 | THE PIE REVIEW | 41
But given the competitive nature of the modern academic
environment, coupled with the increasing stress and so-cietal
pressures young people are facing, few school-based
college counsellors around the globe would say their job is
solely focused on helping their final year students select a
suitable institution and navigate its application process.
It’s something that head of university advising at the east
campus of UWC South East Asia in Singapore, Pamela Kelly
Wetzell, understands all too well.
As UWCSEA caters for students across 75 nationalities,
and 100 per cent of the students go on to higher education,
Kelly Wetzell says her team of five full-time counsellors
need to be well versed across a variety of areas.
The personalised approach and
’handholding’ is key to the counselling
business in many countries.
“Now the question
isn’t whether a student
is going to use a college
counsellor, it’s who they
are going to use