College Counseling at Korea International School
Korea International School offers its high school students and families an excellent college counseling experience. Counselors know the challenges students face during their teenage years, a time of transition to young adulthood marked by major decisions. At KIS, counselors take a comprehensive approach, emphasizing social-emotional growth, academic development, and partnering with them through the college application process.
High school principal Aimmie Kellar observes that since the pandemic began, “We’re having more conversations with families. Parents talk with us about taking care of the whole child.” KIS counselors provide a common language to talk about mental health issues and offer relevant resources. These conversations equip each family to support their child.
Beginning in grade nine, counselors help students identify their own strengths and interests. Michael, a grade eleven student, appreciates the prompted introspection. “The counseling department encourages you to find your interests,” he says. Jessica, a grade twelve student, plans to study psychology in university but she also wants to learn more about media arts. Her counselor suggested taking media classes this year to help her decide which classes to register for during her first year of college.
KIS counselors build rapport with students and their families through individual or parent appointments and information sessions. High school counselor Jennifer Dorn appreciates the time she spends with each of her students. “When you get to know a student through social-emotional support, that can strengthen your relationship and understanding of where they’re coming from,” Ms. Dorn says. Jessica also encourages younger students to talk with their counselors. “Each conversation helps your counselor know who you are,” she says, “Then they can help you make informed decisions about college.”
During grade eleven, counselors offer lessons specific to postsecondary education. At this point in their high school career, students are prepared to consider potential career or study options that suit their interests. Students also prioritize what matters most to them in a university such as location, diversity, class size, internship opportunities, or alumni networks. As Michael heads into his last year of high school, he feels prepared to see his options clearly. He also knows that his counselor will work with him and his family to help him make the best choice.
Each spring, KIS celebrates the matriculation of its students. “Our legacy walks across the stage in May, graduates, and goes out into the world,” says high school principal Aimmie Kellar. She finds joy in the unique choices each graduate makes. “When they talk about where they’re going next year, they light up,” she says. This year’s graduates will join universities around the world including Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, McGill, and Waseda. Ms. Kellar credits the counseling team with facilitating a helpful range of conversations that build rapport with students and families, successfully guiding students’ high school experience and college application process. At KIS, counselors help students design their future.