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YUHSD counselors receive training from Stanford Counselor Outreach Program

Stanford Counselor outreach presenting to YUHSD Between varying requirements and ever-changing standards, the college admissions process can be challenging and sometimes daunting for students and their families. To better assist with the process, Yuma Union High School District counselors took part in a four-hour training session with Stanford University’s Counselor Outreach Program on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 at the district office professional development room.

Tuesday's workshop, facilitated by Tuan DinhJanelle, Stanford’s Assistant Dean of Admissions for Diversity Outreach, focused on the holistic admissions process. A college or university with a holistic admissions policy considers the whole applicant, not just empirical data like one's Grade Point Average (GPA) or ACT scores. They want to admit interesting students who will contribute to the campus community in a variety of meaningful ways. 

“Preparing for postsecondary success is what our school counselors strive to do,” YUHSD Associate Superintendent Lisa Anderson said. “The world of college admissions can be a confusing one, and often school counselors haven't received formal training in this arena. As part of the Tuesday’s training, our YUHSD counselors had the opportunity to participate in a case study and review college applications through the holistic admissions lens.”

Counselors from all six high schools in the district were present.

“The training was very meaningful and gave more tools to prepare myself as a counselor,” San Luis High School counselor Maria Dillard said. “We learned how to write letters of recommendation from a Stanford admission officer’s perspective.”

The idea of bringing Stanford to Yuma came about after Cibola High School counselor Anastasia Dawson traveled to the Palo Alto campus this summer to take part in the on-site Stanford Counselor Outreach Program. Upon returning, she suggested it to her colleagues and it eventually was arranged to have the program deliver a presentation locally.

“Our training with Stanford admissions really gave me useful insight into what selective universities are looking for in a student's application,” said Cibola counselor Christie McMorris, who works with Dawson. “Going over the school profile was interesting, but the most eye opening activity was our case study, looking at samples of Stanford applications to see what the Stanford admissions teams look for when admitting students.”

Gila Ridge High School counselor Aurora Frost, said it was an “ah-ha” moment for many of the counselors in the room.

“We tend to focus so much on test scores, GPAs and AP courses that we can lose sight of the student as a whole: What have they done, who are they, what has inspired them?” Frost said. “Evaluating a student holistically is an approach we learned about during the [training] and what top-ranked universities in our country are seeking among their thousands of applicants.”

According to Stanford’s undergraduate website, the Stanford Counselor Outreach Program is an annual program for counselors from high schools, community based organizations, and community colleges that help under-represented students make a successful transition from school to college. The program's purpose is to exchange information and build a foundation for understanding the elements of this transition through training, discussion, workshops, and sharing.

Danny Marron sharing with counselors

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org