Korea International School’s counselling supports students through college applications and beyond

Diana J. Smith
High school principal Aimmie Kellar at a graduation ceremony. (Korea International School)

High school principal Aimmie Kellar at a graduation ceremony. (Korea International School)

Korea International School offers comprehensive counselling with emphasis on social-emotional growth and academic development that guides high school students through the challenges of their teenage years to aid them in 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 (freshman year), counselors help students identify their own strengths and interests to give them guidance and skills they can apply beyond KIS. One such example is Jessica, a grade twelve student (senior year), who plans to study psychology in university but 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.

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.”

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,” Dorn says.

During grade eleven (junior year), counselors offer lessons specific to postsecondary education. At this point, students are prepared to consider potential careers 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.

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.

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. 

By Choi He-suk ([email protected])

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