Hot CoCo for the littlest lions! College Counseling expands to LD


Tiger Mom

In a drastic new step, the College Counseling (CoCo) office is opening up its doors to Lower Division (LD) students following anxious calls from parents to expand programming to start in kindergarten. 

“The location change to the Lower Division was actually a strategic move on our part,” Head of College Counseling Lionel Forester said. “Now, Lower Division students and parents can easily access our office whenever they have an admissions-related question, even if it comes at the cost of Middle and Upper Division students getting lost on their way here.”

To accommodate an increased caseload, sixteen new college counselors have been poached from elite private and boarding schools across the country such as the University of Chicago Feeder High School and Bill Barr Academy. 

“The CoCo office is the most well-funded department at HM, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t spread the wealth to Lower Division students as well,” Forester said. “We’re ensuring that only the best, brightest, and well-connected minds are dealing with the new caseload.”

Kendall Puffman P’62, who applied his child to the Nursery Division for next year, recognizes the necessity of such an expansion. “The college admissions process is becoming harder every year, and especially with fewer colleges considering legacy admissions, I’m worried that me having attended a small college in New Haven won’t help my daughter get into said school,” he said. 

CoCo’s expansion eased Puffman’s fears. “Now that I have a direct point of contact for any college-related questions starting in the LD, I’m less worried about her chances — this definitely makes HM’s tuition worth its money. I wouldn’t pay upwards of $600,000 per year for my child to stack blocks otherwise.”

Puffman looks forward to the day he can disdainfully disregard CoCo’s advice in favor of an outside college consultant that he already has on retainer. He expects to finish his daughter’s resume and preliminary college list before she graduates from the LD.

Forester believes that beginning the college process in the kindergarten will actually alleviate the workload of college counselors come fall of senior year. “The college process is extremely lengthy and complicated, so splitting it up across grades and having kids learn about each part of the application quite thoroughly will make it more manageable for us in the long-term,” he said. “Don’t worry — we still won’t finish reading seniors’ supplemental essays.”

During weekly workshops led by counselors that have replaced naptime, kindergarteners learn how to distinguish between research institutions and liberal arts schools. First graders will memorize each Ivy by name, color, and US News ranking. Second graders will learn how to form new clubs and publications to pad their resume, Third graders will take a break to focus on managing expectations and coping with disappointment. Fourth graders will get trained to butter up teachers for potential recs. Finally, fifth graders will build a foundational understanding of the Common App and the personal statement, mastering useful turns of phrase such as “interdisciplinary passions” and “community impact.”

Moving into the Middle Division (MD), sixth graders will tackle supplemental and college-specific essays. During seventh grade, each student is expected to attend a monthly meeting with their counselor to draft parts of the Common App, edit essay drafts, and assess whether their generational legacy will be enough to get them into selective schools. Eighth graders will research potential gap year alternatives when they don’t get into top 14 choices. By the time students graduate from the MD, Forester expects them to finalize their lists and plan high school activities based on academic interest and ED/EA school major.

Ultimately, Forester predicts that the LD CoCo program’s success will encourage other private schools to replicate a similar process. “It’s all a great comparison, not a competition. We’re all in it to support each other, and building up that culture starting from the LD can only be beneficial,” Forester said. 

“We considered starting in nursery,” Forester said. “But we didn’t want to stress them out too much. Let kids be kids.”