As we ramp up for yet another wonderful academic year, we are delighted by the many new faces of the faculty and staff joining the BASIS Independent Brooklyn school community to support the intellectual growth of our student population. With our total staff and faculty number over 100 strong this year, we are delighted by the wonderful material we are bound to develop and share with you via our school blog. We pulled our new college counselor, Mr. Brauch, aside to talk to him about his background and vision for college counseling at BASIS Independent Brooklyn:
First, an easy question: where did you grow up?
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.
What was your own experience with college counseling when it was your turn?
I went to a performing arts high school, so my experience was a little different than most. My school was public and there were so many students in the senior class that I only had the opportunity to meet with my college counselor three or four times. During senior year, though, I remember her coming into my AP English class to remind us about setting up a time to speak with her. She then introduced the class to Skidmore College. Since I grew up in the Midwest, I had never heard of Skidmore but as I met with my counselor on a one-on-one basis and discussed my interests, I found that the school fit a lot of what I was looking for in an undergraduate experience. I ended up applying, getting into, and attending Skidmore for my undergraduate degree and I could not have been happier with my college choice. I will be forever grateful to my college counselor for stopping by my AP English class.
What made you decide to become a college counselor?
It wasn’t one experience that convinced me to be a college counselor. I began college counseling international students in China after teaching English at a top university there, and I really enjoyed speaking and learning about student’s interests and leading them through the college process.
What do you see as unique about the BASIS.ed approach?
The curriculum is really what caught my attention. Students study logic and Latin in middle school and take AP courses much earlier than I have seen at other independent schools.
What is unique about your approach with students?
It’s an individualized approach. I appreciate the opportunity to sit one-on-one with each student and really take the time to get know them, learn where their interests lie and what their dreams are. As their college advocate, I have to fully understand what they are interested in, or what they might want to try.
As a college counselor, what is your goal?
Applying to college will always be stressful. I hope make the college process much less strenuous for BASIS Independent Brooklyn students and parents.
It is no secret that parents and students sometimes set their sights exclusively on top-name colleges and Ivy League schools. How do you work through this with families?
I want to help students reach their goals and I encourage them to dream big, but it is also very important to manage expectations. Perfect test scores, robust extracurriculars and a very strong application do not guarantee acceptance to an Ivy League school. I work with students and parents to identify not just one school, but several schools that align with the student’s aspirations. College counselors employ “Factors for Finding Fit” – which is about identifying what is truly important to the student and ensuring that their college selection(s) are a good match. It’s important to understand the strengths of each college, and an Ivy League school may not always be the best fit for what the student wants to get out of college.
It’s important to understand that college is not the end, it’s not the ‘reward’ for working hard in high school. College is just the beginning and, therefore, students should look at it as the start of their career development. Post-college success is just as important as collegiate success.
What is your advice to students who are embarking on the college process?
It is about to be a very exciting and demanding time in your life. Exploration, time management, and independent research will be key to managing your tasks and stress levels when it comes to applying for college.
What are some book recommendations for parents and/or students?
I recommend every high school student read Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope. There are many excellent college resource books available for students and parents. I always keep a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges in my office.
To learn more about Mr. Brauch, check out his impressive bio on our website!
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