High school principal Aimmie Kellar at a graduation ceremony. (Korea International School)
High school principal Aimmie Kellar observes that since the pandemic began, “we are having more conversations with families. Parents talk to us about taking care of the child as a whole. KIS counselors provide a common language for talking about mental health issues and offer relevant resources. These conversations equip each family to support their child.
Beginning in the ninth grade (first year), counselors help students identify their own strengths and interests to give them advice and skills they can apply beyond KIS. One example is Jessica, a 12th grader (final year), who plans to study psychology in college, but also wants to learn more about media arts.
Her advisor suggested taking media classes this year to help her decide which courses to enroll in during her freshman year of college.
Jessica also encourages younger students to talk with their counsellors. “Every conversation helps your advisor know who you are,” she says, “Then they can help you make informed decisions about college.”
KIS counselors build relationships with students and their families through one-on-one 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, it can strengthen your relationship and your understanding of their background,” says Dorn.
During the eleventh year (first year), counselors offer lessons specific to post-secondary education. At this stage, students are ready to consider potential careers or study options that match their interests. Students also prioritize what matters most to them at a university, such as location, diversity, class size, internship opportunities, or alumni networks.
Every spring, KIS celebrates the enrollment of its students. “Our legacy crosses 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.
Kellar credits the counseling team with facilitating a range of helpful conversations that build relationships with students and families, successfully guiding students’ high school experience and the college application process.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)