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Rights and Responsibilities of the Students and Counselor

In accordance with the ethical guidelines set by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling, and the Higher Educational Consultants Association, students and counselors have ethical rights and responsibilities in the admission process. Additional tips have been added to help facilitate the process.


Students have the right to factual information from colleges and universities regarding admission, housing, and financial aid practices, opportunities, and policies.

Students are responsible for investigating their college options, for submitting application materials on or before the deadlines.

Because students are responsible for their choices, they should feel free to  be open and honest about their hopes and expectations for their college experience.

The application materials submitted by the student should be the student's own true and original work.

Students should not experience high-pressure sales tactics.

Unless applying under a binding early decision plan, students have the right to wait until May first of their senior year to inform the college where they wish to enroll by sending a nonrefundable

enrollment deposit.

Students should only submit one enrollment deposit; after all, a student can only attend one college at a time!

Students admitted under a binding early decision plan will submit their enrollment deposit by the stated university deadline and will, upon admission, contact the colleges where they have applications submitted to withdraw those, even before being notified of any admission decision.


Parents should be clear with their student about any limitations or restrictions to cost, location, or any other facet of their college choice at and throughout the beginning of the process.

Parents should not complete the application materials on behalf of the student, and should pledge not to revise writing so that the voice of the student is lost.

Tip:  Parents and students should meet together every week for at least a half an hour to discuss the student's progress; students and parents should as much as possible reserve conversations about college to these meetings so as not to overwhelm one another.

Another tip:  Most of the anxiety students feel centers around the expectations that people have for them; it's essential for parents to be as judgment-free as possible, and to let their student know that the parent is proud of their child - say it every week!!! Find something you love or are proud of and recognize your student for it.  

Yet another tip:  Being quiet as students develop their opinions and being judgment-free are incredibly difficult tasks. Instead saying, "The College of Happy Kids?!?  I have never heard of it, so it must not be good!!!" or "Anyone can get into that school!!! You can do better!!!" try saying, "Hmm, the College of Happy Kids...tell me what you like and have learned about it!" or "I have heard of that school - share with me why you see that as a good choice for you!" A positive tone goes a long way to foster communication and trust.


The role of the college counselor is to  promote access and equity to college opportunities, and to work with each family with respect and kindness.  Along the way, the counselor  supports and may gently confuse the student.  As a source of support, the counselor helps students learn how to investigate postsecondary options; organize and complete the work around pursuing those options; and assist in the application, essay writing, scholarship and/or financial aid pursuits. Confusion is actually a positive part of the process as the counselor provides additional factors to consider or seeks to expand the college list beyond the student's initial considerations.  

The counselor is not in a position to guarantee admission or to state exactly what the student might or should do; it is the role of the counselor to provide options and walk the student and/or parents through the potential consequences; students make their own decisions about where and how to apply.

In addition, the counselor will not write or take over the application process for the student.  Ethically, the application materials must be the student's own true and original work.

It is also vital that the counselor not talk about the student and student credentials to anyone except the student; confidentiality on behalf of each individual student is paramount.

Paid college consultants or counselors are also not ethically  able to contact specific schools on behalf of a client.

Roles & Responsibilities: Text
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