As we’ve long expressed on the pages of this college admissions blog, high school counselors can be a college applicant’s greatest advocate. When a student is deferred in the Early Decision / Early Action round or waitlisted in the Regular Decision round, a well-timed, articulate call from a high school counselor in which the counselor tries to sway an admissions officer at an elite university to offer the student a slot in the incoming class can make all the difference. It can change that college applicant’s life.
Today, we mourn the passing of one such staunch advocate, a vivacious high school counselor from Long Island who lobbied for her students even when the high school felt doing so flied in the face of fairness. Oh how we disagree. It is a high school counselor’s role not to be objective but rather to fight — and fight hard — for the young people who are in their charge. Kathi McElroy, a longtime high school counselor at The Wheatley School on Long Island, was one such staunch advocate. Of all the high school counselors we’ve known, she was our favorite. She was our high school counselor and the high school counselor of our siblings. We are deeply saddened to learn of her death.
We couldn’t find an online obituary for Ms. McElroy nor even a photo. We only learned of her death through a sentence in The Wheatley School newsletter sent to alumni. But the woman who gave her home phone number to students to let her know of their admissions decisions when they were released on weekends deserves more. The woman who found the perfect college fit for her students deserves more. One of our former students, who was also one of Ms. McElroy’s Wheatley students, commented, “I never would have found the perfect fit in a college if not for Ms. McElroy.” So, today, we wanted to share our sadness with her family and let them know that Kathi McElroy was a wonderful human being who cared deeply about her students during her many years as a dedicated high school counselor. She was the model of what every high school counselor should be. During her tenure at Wheatley, she had a profound impact on hundreds of young people that she likely didn’t even realize. She will be deeply missed.
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