College Podcast, High School Counselor, High School Students, College Admissions, College Application, Extracurricular, International Students, Applying to US Colleges, Bellarmine College Prep, Advice for High School Students, COVID Impact, Making College List"> Podcast | Katy-Murphy-of-Bellarmine-on-College-Counseling-Giving-Students-the-Opportunity-to-Envision-their-Future-e1g0ori

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Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   Click for 3-Minute Listen

Katy Murphy is the Director of College Counseling at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California.

Katy is a former president of NACAC and has been an influential voice in College Counseling.

In her passionate but direct style, she shares her views and perspectives on Counseling, its importance as students map out their college future and beyond.

Katy talks about

  • Her approach to college counseling,
  • How students should navigate the college process in these pandemic-impacted times, and
  • About looking closely at colleges beyond the media amplified colleges.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Why Admissions?
  2. Approach to Counseling
  3. When Counseling doesn’t Work?
  4. Good Schools - Not So Well Known
  5. Advice for the College-bound

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Katy Murphy of Bellarmine on College Counseling: Giving Students the Opportunity to Envision their Future.

3 different High Schools. 3 very different types with College Counseling. This experience as a high schooler, has inspired Katy Murphy’s 4 decade career in College Admissions Counseling.

In this podcast, Katy combines straight talking with wit to share her experiences & insights on college counseling, how to deal with COVID-impacted changes, and her advice for high school students.

Katy Murphy is the Director of College Counseling at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California.

In particular, we discuss the following with her:

  • Katy Murphy’s Background
  • College Counseling Philosophy
  • COVID Impact on Students
  • Advice for the College-bound

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Katy Murphy, Bellarmine College Prep [0:40]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [1:53]
  • Professional Background [4:49]
  • Why Admissions? [6:03]
  • Tools for FirstGen [8:20]
  • Approach to Counseling [11:41]
  • Are 16 year-olds ready? [16:39]
  • When Counseling doesn’t Work? [18:43]
  • Good Colleges - Not So Well Known [22:33]
  • COVID Impact on Students [26:45]
  • Test Optional - To Test or Not to Test? [33:45]
  • Advice to College-bound Seniors [38:02]
  • On Staying Excited [41:20]

Our Guest: Katy Murphy is the Director of College Counseling at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California. Katy earned a BA in Political Science from Whittier College, and is past president of NACAC and WACAC.

Memorable Quote: “My goal is that each one of those kids understands that they deserve to go to a college, … where they can excel, and that they'll be challenged and supported, [&] they'll graduate. And that's not necessarily the school right down the street, just because it's easy.” Katy Murphy.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Katy M  0:14  

You know, when I was on the college side, there was only one day a year that you had any fun, right? Yeah. And that was the day the kids showed up. I think I'm the high school side. What's great is that every day Oh, I got this essay writer. Oh, I found this new school or Oh, I got in here. Oh, I got in there or a Y. You know, I ran my best 100 meters ever. I love that joy that the kids have and I want to celebrate that.

Venkat  0:40  [Introducing Katy Murphy, Bellarmine College Prep]

That is Katy Murphy, Director of College Counseling at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

We're in a very strange time, because there's nothing you can depend on.

Says Katy Murphy.

Venkat Raman  1:08

Katy Murphy, a former president of NACAC, has been an influential voice in College Counseling.

Venkat Raman  1:15

Katy joins us on our podcast to help us understand the current college admissions environment and more.

Katy shares her background, experience & insights, her philosophy of counseling, how to deal with the COVID-impacted landscape, and her advice for high school students.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the Hi-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Katy M  1:53  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Why Admissions]

My goal in all the work that I do, and I do a lot of professional work with educating public high school counselors is that students are given an opportunity to envision their future. And they're given the tools by counselors, especially if they don't have parents who went to college to pursue their goals.

[Approach to Counseling]

What we're trying to do in the junior year, is have them think about what makes them happy? And what makes them successful. Not what's easy, but what makes them happy and what makes them successful. And then start thinking about institutions that have characteristics that meet those needs. Now no college is perfect for there's no perfect college for a kid.

[When Counseling doesn’t Work?]

Oh, it doesn't work well, when kids don't want to put the work in. It doesn't work when well, when parents cousins, friends say, oh, you should go to that place. Because it's a lot of fun. It doesn't work well, when parents and students aren't on the same page about money.

 

[Good Schools - Not So Well Known]

But they don't understand that, that just because you haven't heard of it, it doesn't mean it's not good. And I think that I think that the media, for some reason, the media has decided this is a really cool topic. And they give advice all over the place. But again, they're talking about 30 colleges, they're not talking about the rest of them.

[Advice for the College-bound]

I would really have them focus on fit. Is this a place I want to live for four years? Or am I going to this place to go to 10 football games a year? I would focus on career planning? And what kind of career planning support there is. I would also focus on who is my academic advisor? And is it a faculty member who's going to get to know me in a class? And am I going to be successful at that place?

Venkat Raman  3:52

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by “College Matters. Alma Matters.”

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  4:03

Now. I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Katy. So without further ado, here's the podcast with Katy Murphy!

-----------------

Venkat Raman  4:13  

So let me start by welcoming you to the podcast. college matters. Alma Matters. Thank you so much for making the time. I know you've been traveling. And so this is great. So I'm basically wanting to have a conversation with you around, you know, the broad area of College Counseling, starting maybe with your background and experience and then sort of talk about how things are today and what kind of advice you might have for students looking to apply. So if you're ready, we can jump right in and start maybe with your background and experience.

Katy M  4:49  [Professional Background]

Sure. I have I was 28 years on the college side of the desk as we say. I was a admissions Dean And the Assistant Provost for enrollment supervising admissions, enrollment and financial aid at four institutions in California. And then 16 years ago, I joined the Bellarmine College Counseling staff. Two years after that, I became the Director of College Counseling at Bellarmine. And I have been president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and twice, president of the Western Association. I've been on College Board committees, and I have I teach, I have taught for UC Berkeley college counseling certificate program, and currently teach for UCLA college counseling certificate program. And that's among a lot of other things.

Venkat Raman  5:47  

Wow. So you're really deep into this whole business? Yeah.

Venkat Raman  5:52  

So. So maybe we should start with why why this love and passion for counseling or college admissions in general, I guess?

Katy M  6:03  [Why Admissions?]

Well, I do. You know, I think my background, what came my my dad was in the Air Force. So we moved around a lot. So with my, I went to three different high schools, and the three different high schools were so different from one another one was in La Jolla, one was in Louisiana, and one was in Fairfax County, Virginia. And the level of college counseling or counseling at each of these schools was so different. And the expectation of students was so different. I went to college and majored in Political Science and then did graduate work in urban planning and came to California when Proposition 13, it passed. So there were no jobs in urban planning. So I went back to work for my alma mater in admissions. And I found this passion for enabling students to find a fit in college admissions to find the to find a school where they'll be challenged, will they're where they'll be supported. And well, they're where they will graduate on time. And in California, the California has one of the worst counselor to student ratios in the country. And public school counselors, especially during the pandemic have been, they're not doing any college counseling, they're doing a lot of social emotional support, which our students do need in their parents or families need. And they're doing a lot of substituting because teachers quit. I would like, my goal in all the work that I do, and I do a lot of professional work with educating public high school counselors, is that students are given an opportunity to envision their future. And they're given the tools by counselors, especially if they don't have parents who went to college to pursue their goals.

Venkat Raman  7:55  

So there's a lot there to unpack. So let's take a couple of things. I think. I think I want to kind of touch on fit, which you talked about, we can come back to that later. Right. But you were talking about tools for, you know, students and parents, especially the ones that are the first gen students. What are what kind of things are you talking about?

Katy M  8:20  [Tools for FirstGen]

I'm talking about having conversations about what, what kinds of colleges are out there. There are colleges, there are liberal arts colleges, there are technical institutes, there are universities that are comprehensive universities, there are research universities, there's public, there's private. And what we try to do here at Bellarmine, is work with our juniors to imagine the characteristics of the college that they're looking for, before they before they talk about the names of colleges, or there's a lot of misinformation or misunderstanding that misinformation, of course, a lot of misson understanding about how large some of the highly selective colleges are, there are many highly selective colleges that only admit 70 Or only enroll 700 to 2000 students and yet people are applying from all over the world, right families think well, you know, well, okay, you know, then let me apply to all of them what they're different. They're different from one another, and students will students are challenged and supported differently at different institutions. Just take for example, the University of California. UCLA is very different from Davis is very different from Irvine is very different from Riverside. They're different. There's different vibes on the campus. There are different excellent programs on the campus. There's different levels of support for different kinds of kids. It's not one institution, even if you're just thinking about the UCS or, you know, a state system.

Katy M  9:54  

So, what we want kids to understand is that their characteristics that that go beyond location and distance from home. It should include student activities, because have kids like to do things, they should be able to do that in college, or they should be able to try new things in college. But what kind of community is there? What kind of support in terms of career planning? Are there? You know, there are some institutions in the country that do excellent jobs and career planning, I, I would call out Franklin and Marshall, I would call out Loyola, Maryland, among others, that have amazing career planning, and that also helps assuage parents fears, but what kind of career planning do they have, what kind of internships job shadowing, Co Op programs do they have? And we want kids to think about all of those things, not just the name of the school. And I am not a big fan of ranking, because I don't see kids pictures in the rankings. And so just because a school is ranked high doesn't mean that that's the right school for that kid. And if a student chooses a school based on the name, they may not be successful there. And, you know, the best place to go is where you're going to be successful, you're going to stand out, you're going to graduate and go do good things.

Venkat Raman  11:16  

So what is your sort of philosophy of counseling? I mean, you you started to talk a little bit about creating about the type of place that you want to imagine. So how do you approach that and maybe Bellarmine, as an example, as your only big example, actually, I guess, on the school side, right, right. So so what is that? What is your kind of philosophy?

Katy M  11:41  [Approach to Counseling]

Bellarmine, Bellarmine is all boys. So boys and girls handle things differently, Especially when they're 16 and 17, and 18 year old years, girls are and with no offense meant. But girls are usually ahead of boys at that point, in terms of their decision making, right? But what our philosophy is, think about what, where you thrive, think about the things that make you thrive? What kinds of classes? Do you like discussion? Do you like lectures? Do you like creative projects? Do you like hands on projects? Do you like to read about things? And then, you know, go into a lecture and learn more about it? What kind of learning style do you have? And then think about the environment? Do you like cities? Do you do want to like go to museums? Do you want to go to plays? Do you want to go to art, you know, art exhibitions? Do you want to go to baseball games, whatever? What kind? Do you want to be in a fraternity, what we're trying to do in the junior year, is have them think about what makes them happy. And what makes them successful, not what's easy, but what makes them happy and what makes them successful. And then start thinking about institutions that have characteristics that meet those needs. Now, no, college is perfect for it. There's no perfect college for a kid.

Katy M  11:57  

But we at Bellarmine, we limit the number of applications students can make to 13, which is too many in my opinion, but you know, we got to go with it. The US count is one the CSU is counted as one. And that's the reason is we want them to do in depth. And we we we have them do this. We teach a class in January, having worked with them in the fall a little bit. We're going to characteristics first, coming up with large lists, have them do some research on some things, have them visit colleges, I do think visiting colleges is really important. I believe in the feeling and and I learned this from the college side, too. Yeah, there's a feeling in the pit of a student's stomach when they walk on a campus like I could do this or No, I don't like it. And I think that parents and all of us need to, we need to honor that. They need to give it a couple minutes, not just like don't get out of the car. But there there's a feeling for that we want them to visit. We want them to talk to college admission officers when they visit a school or go to a college fear and start, they need to understand that their needs are important. They are not to be put aside because, you know, some some schools, you know, in March Madness or some school played in the BCS playoff football game. That's 10 days a year. Right? Yeah, yeah. What do you do in the rest of the time? So we go to characteristics first, and that's some philosophy. And then we try to match the student with the characteristics and do a big list have the student the students got to have some skin in the game. A lot of a lot of them would like me just to tell them where they're going. Yeah, but what would I do with the rest of my time, but and their ideas change over months? You know, we have kids that will come in in September and say, you know, I was thinking this but I really don't want that right? Wouldn't visited the school, and I like this about it, but I didn't like that about it great. Well, we can move around. I think it's important for college counselors to get on campuses because I believe and I've probably visited 150 college college campuses, I believe I can, like out tell a kid, I can see you there, or I cannot see you there, based on what you're telling me about yourself, you know, and I spend a lot of time with these guys we do. In meetings, we, you know, we work on their essays, essays tell a lot about a kid. And we, you know, we, we really try to get to know them, because we write letters for them that support their applications. And colleges, tell them tell us and this is an advantage of Bellarmine, because we have five full time college counselors for 400 kids, right. And public schools, they don't have that, right. They're like at 800, or 900 per person. But I get to know at kids really well. And I can write 80 letters really well. And my letters are not templates, they actually highlight the the curiosity, highlight the creativity, highlight leadership, highlight service, whatever that kids about, then the college knows what kind of a student they're looking at it in application.

Venkat Raman  16:17  

Your basic first step here is really to have a kid imagine or come up with characteristics of the car they would like to be at. Now, does a 16 year old or 17 year old, Do you think they know enough to even do that? Or do you think that it's something that you guys can guide them and coach them,

Katy M  16:39  [Are 16 year-olds ready?]

I think there's a little of both, we actually have them draw it the first day of the junior junior class, we have them draw a picture of them in college, on a white piece of paper, and some of them put up football stadiums, and some of them put up mountains. And some of them put up girls, you know, because we are boys school, somebody beakers up, someone put computers up, they know in their heart, they may not know in their head, they know in their heart, what kind of makes them happy. And then we go, we take them through conversations of characteristics. And again, they may change their mind. But what's amazing, is that we use those pictures when kids are making decisions in their senior year, I'll put like, if a kid can't decide, I'll picture and say, Wow, this is what you said to your junior. That's right, you know, because one of the things that's really sad about the work that we do is the media has kind of glommed on to this, right? And they the media, like talks about 30 colleges and acts like that that's the same for every kid in America or the United or the world. And but there's a lot of pressure because of rankings because of basketball games, because of football games, because of you know, whatever, you know, Money Magazine's Best ROI, or you know, whatever. And there's a lot of pressure, there's also a lot of pressure to make an instant decision. And so kids need they need to have it in their heart. And I think I am pretty sure that my 16 and 17 year olds when they draw those pictures, you'd be surprised how many of them are pretty accurate at the end.

Venkat Raman  18:17  

And that's, that's great to hear. It's a great way I mean, I do I do completely subscribe to this notion of getting the feel of the place and sort of having a, at least an image in your head of what what that might be, however fuzzy that might be.

Venkat Raman  18:36  

So what works? I mean, it looks like a lot of this stuff, at least for you works and what are the challenges? What doesn't work so well?

Katy M  18:43  [When Counseling doesn’t Work?]

Oh, it doesn't work well, when kids don't want to put the work in. It doesn't work when well, when parents cousins, friends say, oh, you should go to that place. Because it's a lot of fun. It doesn't work well, when parents and students aren't on the same page about money. It doesn't work when when kids say but I want to go there when they don't have a chance of getting in. Yeah, and I want kids to be aspirational. I want them to be inspired. I want them to think about, you know, places and I want them to apply to some read schools, but I don't want them to apply to all reach schools. And a lot of times people forget that in statistics. There's individual statistics rather than groups. So you can't apply to eight reach schools. And because each of them has a 5% Admit rate, think that you've got a 40% chance of getting that's but they don't think that way because you know, I want I want I want and I think that there's a lot of times parents don't want to disappoint a student. Right? But a lot of times parents are putting a lot of parents and brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles putting a lot of pressure like well you have Have to go to that place, or that place isn't good enough for you. And one of the concerns I have is, you know, there's 3000 colleges in the country, you know, depending on how you count it, there's places that kids have never heard of that are great places I'm looking at, I have stickers from each place I visited, like, you know, bumper stickers, you know, in the Western New England, just looking at Western New England is a great place for a certain kind of kid. And just because they don't play football or basketball, doesn't mean that it's a place that you should look at. In fact, one of the tools that we give students, in addition to looking at websites and visiting is we give them LinkedIn. And we say, look at LinkedIn, look at you know, call up a college's LinkedIn, call up Western New England's LinkedIn, find out where, what their alumni, where they're working, what kind of majors they had, what kind of job titles they have. And that really, you know, opens a lot of eyes. Just because you haven't heard of a place doesn't mean it's not a good place. And in the United States, I think probably across across the world, you know, we look at, you know, US News rankings, blah, blah, blah, you know, Money Magazine rankings, blah, blah, blah. Well, you know, if you look at those top ranked schools, they're only enrolling like 10,000 freshmen. Yeah. And there's hundreds of 1000s of kids applying to college. There's great schools for every kid. But a great school, we, we actually define a good college as in a good location, offers career planning offers, the activities you're interested in, offers, the academic support that you're interested in, is affordable for your family, and a place to graduate from. And that's how we define a good school. We don't define a good school by somebody else's, you know, assertions, I could start the Katie Murphy rankings. And somebody pick up on it, and I That's just ridiculous.

Venkat Raman  22:00  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, maybe you should.

Venkat Raman  22:09  

You mentioned the 3000 Plus colleges, the fact that, you know, quote, unquote, they are lesser known to people. Now. Have things changed over the last now, 14 years? I mean, have you? Are you seeing more students and families agreeable to a lot of the schools that are good, but maybe not that known?

Katy M  22:33  [Good Colleges - Not So Well Known]

I don't think at the beginning, I think that they're more name conscious than they've ever been. To be honest. You know, another another tool we give them I forgot to tell you is we have a look at graduation rates and retention rates. Yes, indicators of value, right. If 98% of the freshmen come back, they must be doing something. Right. Yeah, if you know, national average is somewhere in the 60% range for five years, six year graduation, they're graduating 80% They must be doing something right. But you know, a lot of times parents, I think parents are worried about, you know, with, especially the way the economy in the world is, you know, will my child get a job? Will my child be able to buy their own house? You know, I'm in the Silicon Valley housing prices out here outrageous? Will my child be able to, you know, have a life. And I think that's I recognize and, and completely understand those concerns. My problem is that they say, if you don't go to this in this place, your life is over. And part of that is because in other parts of the world, not in the United States, and other parts of the world, if you don't go to x place, your life is over, right? If you go to in China and Singapore and Japan, other places like that, if you don't go to you know, XYZ College, then you're not going to get a job at this, this this company, and you'll never move up. Well, one of the things parents don't understand is in the United States, that's not necessarily the truth. Right? That's a challenge. You know, when you have parents educated in India or Pakistan, or, you know, another place is that is to say, you know, a liberal arts college, which they don't understand either, by the way, that's right. That's right. Liberal Arts and Sciences. I keep saying it's Liberal Arts and Sciences, right. And we've had kids go to liberal arts and sciences colleges and go on to amazing medical programs and all kinds of research and all kinds of stuff, but that's a challenge too. But they don't understand that that just because you haven't heard of it, it doesn't mean it's not good. And I think that I think that the media for some reason the media has decided this is a really cool topic. And they give advice all over the place, but again, they're talking about 30 colleges, they're not talking about the rest of them. And I wish they talked about Colorado State or wish they talked about, you know, Bucknell or some other place where there's amazing opportunities for kids. But I also wish that the college counseling curriculum in every state requires that the that the counseling curriculum to get a master's or whatever credential you need to be a counselor in the school, required college counseling as a part of that curriculum. And California has only just done that this year. Okay, so there are people in California that gotta gotta got a credential to be a counselor in a school. And they've never left the building. And they, they've never visited a college, other than the college that they went to. And you know, it's really easy to say, well go to the local place, go to the local thing, especially if you have 800 kids that you're dealing with. Sure, my goal is that each one of those kids understands that they deserve to go to a college, they deserve it, to go to a college, where they can excel, and that they'll be challenged and supported, no graduate. And that's not necessarily the school right down the street just because it's easy.

Venkat Raman  26:14  

Agreed. Agreed.

Katy M  26:16  

So I get on rants about stuff like this.

Venkat Raman  26:20  

But but you know, it shows you care. It shows you how the passion that's the reason you're in it.

Venkat Raman  26:30  

So let's let's sort of switch gears or maybe not really Switching gears, but talk about today, right? Talk about COVID The impact. So what has happened over the last two years, what has changed in your mind, with respect to admissions applications and a little bit?

Katy M  26:45  [COVID Impact on Students]

Oh, boy, um, a lot. You talk about grades and test scores. So there are a lot of schools, public schools, private schools, whatever, with a grading systems during COVID went wonky. You know, kids got all A's, they got passes, they got more than A's than they've ever gotten before. We also saw kids that struggled a lot. So their grades went way down. And I think it's a challenge for college admission officers to look at transcripts from the last two years, and kind of ferret out what the student knows and what what that students intellectual capability are is, and you know, would that student be successful at their institution? I think that that's the great, and that's going to stay with us for four years, right? Yep. Yep. Yeah. So the freshmen we decided, you know, we understood that the freshmen who came to Bellarmine, this year, the first year students, they really hadn't been in school for a year and a half. And so they come to Bellarmine to start their first year. And they're like, crazy kids, and they're boys again, but they, you know, they haven't had they've been at home, right. And so it's kind of like freedom or something. So it's been interesting, they haven't done anything bad, but it's just like, holy goodness, could you calm down anyway. But I do think that the juniors feel that way, too, because they really haven't had kind of the consistency of a standardized grading situation. And the teachers feel pressure because they know the pressure that the you know, they were under pressure in their own homes, we keep reminding the kids, you're not the only one that was at home, remember, the rest of the teachers want to give as much leniency to kids as they possibly can. So the grades have gone up at most schools, right, the grid, average grade point average has gone up at most schools, and colleges are having a hard time kind of deciphering that. Because at the same time you have this test, optional situation that came in. And it came in because kids, you know, there were schools ahead of time that had decided to do this, and congratulations to them. But the vast majority of schools that went test optional, did it because the tests weren't available. Yeah. And they talked about, and I and I appreciate it. And I have a lot of friends on the college side. So please don't think I'm slamming them. But they talked, they talked about, you know, kids not having access and all this kind of stuff. And then it's kind of turned into this conversation that tests don't measure anything. And I know you can have arguments for and against tests, and I'm not going to get into that. But there's even now more uncertainty about admission. Because if a school X say Murphy university, that fine institution, right. So the test option says it's test optional, right? Yep, a kid goes, Okay, well, I might as well apply there because I don't have to send my mediocre test scores, right? Yeah, great grades, but I have mediocre test scores, so I'm not going to send them so they're applying to more schools because of that, because they think they're gonna throw it up and it's gonna stick. It doesn't. And what we've learned is that Does it but our predictability college counselors predictability like to say a student school is a reach schooler, or a safety school or likely school or a target school, it's become much more, it's become harder because we've been using, you know, two axes scatter grams for years. Yes, convinced some students that, you know, Stanford probably wouldn't be the place for you with your 3.7 GPA. Yeah. Other tests optional. Maybe they'll take me and I'm like, Okay, do you really want to write those extra five essays? And Miss Murphy doesn't believe that they're going to take you and I always say, I'm the first one at the party, but find two more reach schools, because and our research has shown us and research that other people have shown us is that this highly selective schools are taking the kids you would have expected them to take, but more kids are applying to highly selective schools meet moderately selective schools early decision because they think that's like the magic bullet. And it's not right. Right. So that's what's happened in the last couple of years. So it's gotten much more complicated. And it's harder to talk with students and parents about this. Because, you know, we don't want to crush their dreams, right? Yeah. But you also, you can apply to eight, let's apply to three, which ones are the best fit for you? Because Brown and Columbia couldn't be more different? Yeah. Yeah, that's a hard conversation to have right now.

Venkat Raman  31:34  

Has it made harder on the students? Or?

Katy M  31:37  

I think it's, I think it's increased their stress when it was supposed to test optional was supposed to decrease their stress, right? Because they're, they have these dreams, aspirations, pressure from other people, pressure from their peers, you know, their peers are like, you know, especially I work with boys. So there's like, well, you're not a real guy, if you don't apply to so and so. And I always try to stop that kind of stuff. Yeah. And, you know, they're well intentioned, you know, everybody, they just like to hear their stress. I do think that it, I think that it is a challenge for students. I also think that this recession, or whatever you want to call the economic situation that we're in, in addition to the world crisis that we're that we're facing, which is beyond sad. Right, right. But I think the economic situation is also putting a lot of stress on families, which puts a lot of stress on kids. You know, I don't think the kids think they're going to be drafted, because that's not happening. But you know, as, as families look at cost of housing, they look at cost of food, and God forbid cost of gas, right. Yeah, think about their thinking about, you know, what can we afford? And also the value? I didn't watch what happened with the market today, but the value of our retirement, right? It's just, we're in a, we're in a strange time. And I keep saying things can't get worse, and yet they do. We're in a very strange time, because there's nothing you can depend on.

Venkat Raman  33:17  

Oh, I had one other question before Sure. One. So there's this whole test optional thing, as well, where, you know, on the ship, you know, if you can take the test, take the test. And then it's, like you mentioned, you know, if your scores are mediocre, don't send it in. But it sounds like to get a lot of the merit scholarships and things of that nature, you do need the scores of people are looking at those scores, if you have them and, you know, or improves the chances if you can?

Katy M  33:45  [Test Optional - To Test or Not to Test?]

Not for merit, not for merit, they're not not financial aid. I, you know, I believe my colleagues on the other side of the desk, when they say, a third test, optional for admission, they're not going to look at scores for merit scholarships. Okay. And I believe them. I do think that a lot of you know, the whole it's interesting about merit scholarships, because people believe that every college gives out merit scholarships, and they don't. And so people will say, well, wow, he got into so and so. But he didn't get any money. While I'm like, they don't offer academic scholarships, you know, they offer athletic scholarships, and that's all you know, otherwise, you're paying. Well, that's, that's we don't want to pay, you know, $80,000 Well, that's your choice. You know, that's, that's what we're doing. And we have to constantly remind parents that not every school offers academic merit scholarships, and I think that that's really an important message to get across. You know, I think that that, again, this great inflation, yeah, has, it also causes difficulty in awarding merit scholarships, because more kids are eligible for them. If you if you if the college stays with their standard kind of Merit Scholarship plan, you're going to have more kids, qualify for them. And that's gonna cause a financial impact on colleges as well. You know, the other piece of all of this is that the, you know, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer in terms of colleges, the colleges that have big endowments, and have kids who can't, you know, they're dying to go there did pretty well through, you know, they, they had stabilized enrollment all the way through this process, the colleges that that depend on summer school and summer camp. And, you know, I used to work for a college that we used to make, like $50,000 on filming on our campus, you know, and how is that they call it external revenue, those are the ones that are really suffering. And yet, those are the ones that are really I found, those are the ones that are really careful about making sure that students can afford to go there. And so you find a lot of colleges that are kind of, you know, they're they're kind of on the edge, and then you find some, some of those colleges are being you know, they're changing presidents and the presidents are coming in from business, not from education. And you say, well, what's the bottom line? Go get go get kids, right? Yeah, yes. And officers are under, you know, there's ethical considerations here, right, you know, once you get committed someplace else, or how much money are you going to give this kid as opposed to this kid, you know, the need based aid conversation versus merit based aid on on college campuses is huge. And so there's some, there's some turmoil in on the college side, as a result of all of this too. And as their costs their their, their oil, their their food costs, and things like that go up. It'll be interesting to see what the increases in tuition are this year, for next year, which haven't been announced yet. And especially in the last month, as as prices have gone up. I don't know if that I you know, I do think that it, we're all in it together. But it's not nobody's having a great time doing this. And I would say when I started 15 years ago, there was a lot of predictability. There was a lot of colleagues ship, there was a lot of partnership. And I think that we've we're all undergoing a lot of stress. But my students are lucky because five of us are here to listen to them talk about anything. What if you're in school, where you're one of 800, and your counselors talking to the kids who are in trouble with the law or in trouble with their families? Or are the high fliers and you're in the middle? Nobody's talking to you, that nobody's supporting you? And that's what I worry about.

Venkat Raman  37:39  

So on that note, what would your advice be to students out there that are probably applying this year? Based on the current circumstances, what, what are the things they probably need to consider or think about?

Katy M  37:55  

You mean the seniors?

Venkat Raman  37:57  

Yeah, the seniors? I mean, you know, I know what your philosophy is. But I was just,

Katy M  38:02  [Advice to College-bound Seniors]

I would really have them focus on fit. Is this a place I want to live for four years or my going to this place to go to 10 football games a year? I would focus on career planning? And what kind of career planning support there is, I would also focus on who is my academic advisor? And is it a faculty member? Who's going to get to know me in a class? And am I going to be successful at that place? Am I going to be at the top of the class at that place? Am I going to be in the middle? Or am I going to struggle, because there's no use going to a school where you're going to struggle for four years. That's just, that's just ridiculous. If you can, if you can go to a place where you're going to be successful. And you're going to love learning, and that's actual college was supposed to be about that, you know, back 3300 years ago, you're going to love learning, right? You're going to love and you're going to excel and you're going to be successful in your profession. But remember, kids and I also worry about a little bit that kids are too focused on careers because you know, most of the careers that they'll have haven't been invented yet. Yeah, exactly. Talk with our I talked with our juniors last week, I said, you know, drones when you were a baby drones didn't exist, or if they did, they were like, you know, just a little thing. And they just kind of look at you like what, huh? I'm like, yeah, so imagine the changes that are going to take place during your working time. So we want you to you know, we want them to be open to change, we want it to be culturally savvy, we want them to be good communicators, and we want them to have some fun. And, you know, I wanted to have some fun in college. I don't want them to be in the library 24/7 But I want them to do internships and I want them to take classes and things they haven't thought about and I want somebody there in case you know, something goes south that that is there to support them.

Venkat Raman  39:58  

So all this makes sense. The only question I have no, no, this makes sense. And this, you know, I can I can process it and say, okay, yeah, I know how to kind of evaluate that the only one I'm having trouble with is, you know, you said being successful at that place. How do you do that? How do you sit here and sort of, what should I look at? How do I look at that?

Katy M  40:21  

You should look at their retention rates, you should look at their, their graduation rates, you should go into the catalog and a major you think you want if you know, if you don't have any clue, go into the catalog and just look around. Do those classes sound like fun, you should visit a campus, walk around, read the student newspaper, talk to the average kid that's just sitting on the bench, you should go into the career planning office and ask them what they do with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Right. And you should get a feel for it in the pit of your stomach.

Venkat Raman  40:58  

Okay, so Katy, we are beginning to wind down here. And before we sign off, I have only one question to ask you. I mean, in talking to you, I, and you've been doing this for so many years, but there's still a lot of energy, passion, excitement for this stuff. So what keeps you going?

Katy M  41:20  [On Staying Excited]

The kid that walks in that says I get into Chico State and has a big smile on his face. You know, when I was on the college side, there was only one day a year that you had any fun, right? Yeah. And that was the day that kids showed up. I think on the high school side, what's great is that every day, oh, I got this essay writer, oh, I found this new school or Oh, I got in here. Oh, I got in there or a y, you know, I ran my best 100 meters ever. I love that joy that the kids have and I want to celebrate that. And so I give the I give the same hug and excitement. They get into a CSU. That's if they get into an Ivy League. It doesn't matter. You know, it's really where the you know, the kids the joy on the kid's face just keeps me going.

Venkat Raman  42:10  

That's fabulous. That sounds absolutely right. So Katy, this has been really illuminating. Thank you for sharing and being direct and honest and also generous with your insights. I will let you go now. But I'm sure we'll talk again in the future. So

Katy M  42:33  

good luck to all your listeners. And thanks for inviting me to do this. I appreciate it.

Venkat Raman  42:37  

Sure thing. Thank you so much. Bye, bye.

—---------------

Venkat  42:45

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Katy Murphy of Bellarmine College Prep.

You can see that Katy is passionate about College Counseling.

In her engaging but direct style, she shared her views and perspectives on Counseling, its importance as students map out their college future and beyond.

Katy talks about

  • her approach to college counseling,
  • how students should navigate the college process in these pandemic-impacted times, and
  • to look closely at colleges beyond the media amplified colleges.

I hope students and parents find Katy’s insights valuable.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

Podcast for High Schoolers, US Colleges, College Podcast, High School Counselor, High School Students, College Admissions, College Application, Extracurricular, International Students, Applying to US Colleges, Bellarmine College Prep, Advice for High School Students, COVID Impact, Making College List


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