Amidst the noise in the world of college admission, Associate Director of College Counseling Lauren Watson has aimed to center students during her time at the school, she said.
“The most important thing to me is to make sure that I am seeing the person sitting in front of me and not an end result or a process—that we’re instead really focused on meeting students where they are and providing the insight that they need on that day at that time,” she said.
After six years in the college counseling department, Ms. Watson will start her own college counseling company next year, Watson College Consulting, which, she said, will aim to serve a broad spectrum of students and families who may not have access to a college counselor at their school, or simply want extra support in the process.
“In my career as a college counselor in independent schools, I’ve always been acutely aware that there are lots and lots of students and families who do not have access to this level of support and guidance,” she said, “and I’m hopeful that I can contribute to giving that out even just a tiny bit.”
Providing clarity to students during the application process will continue to be her focus, she said.
“I constantly felt this desire to pull away the curtain because there’s a lot of nuance to college admission, but also there’s a lot about it that’s very straightforward. If you don’t necessarily know how to access the information, it can feel more complicated than it is,” Ms. Watson said.
Director of College Counseling Amy Selinger said she will miss having Ms. Watson on the college counseling team.
“I will miss her fabulous stories, good humor, collegiality, friendship, amazing sense of style, and professionalism and desire to think and change and develop as a counselor and a member of a dynamic office,” Ms. Selinger said.
Dunia Sarkis ’22, whom Ms. Watson has counseled, said she has appreciated Ms. Watson’s calming presence.
“She’s really good at helping you calm down and think rationally, so I love every time she says to breathe and calm down—it just makes me feel so much better,” Dunia said.
This spring, the school welcomed Sharonda Dailey to learn from Ms. Watson and get to know students before filling Ms. Watson’s role as associate director next year.
Carson Eckert ’22 had the opportunity to meet Ms. Dailey via Zoom and said he instantly felt Ms. Dailey would be a helpful and guiding figure in the college process.
“I appreciated her first piece of advice, which was that I should be mindful when setting up my classes for next year because I don’t want to be too swamped with work while applying to colleges,” he said.
Ms. Dailey comes from The Wheeler School in Rhode Island, where she was an associate director of college counseling and the creator and leader of a student support program whose purpose was to celebrate and encourage the achievements of students from low-income families, students who will be first-generation college students, or students of color. She is excited to get to know our school and its students, she said, and to implement her own ideas of what college counseling should look like.
“Students reflect a lot as they proceed through the college process, and I encourage students to not only consider who they are now but also who they hope to become, as their future community must be able to support them today and tomorrow,” she said.
Ms. Dailey said she aims to help students find schools that are a great match academically, socially, and financially, and her approach to counseling will include working with the DEIG office to help carry out the school’s mission and values.
“I chose to come to BB&N because it is a community that is committed to implementing anti-racist policies and practices,” she said. “As someone who identifies as Black who is passionate about ensuring a more equitable future for all, I was thankful to find a place with a vision that aligned with my own.”