We figured we’d share a deleted scene from the 1980’s cult classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with our readers as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a scene that is in the television version of the movie but didn’t make the cut for theatrical release (those are so often the best scenes!) and it’s a scene between a high school guidance counselor and a high school senior that we thoroughly enjoyed. While the scene is quite dramatic, it does quite accurately reflect the relationship between many high school counselors across America and their students.
This is not to disparage high school counselors. The Founder of Ivy Coach, Bev Taylor, worked for many years as a high school counselor on Long Island. But, nonetheless, high school counselors often have unmanageable caseloads — so much so that often they don’t even know the names of all of their students (as was the case with this fictitious high school counselor with this particular student). It’s impossible to truly help students when there are just too many of them to help. And many (though not all) high school counselors simply aren’t experts at highly selective college admissions, even at some of the finest high schools in America with supposedly the ‘best’ college counseling departments.
Another point we’d like to emphasize from this scene is that this particular student — if he had strong grades and test scores and presented his story the right way (and ignoring what we know about him from the rest of the movie) — sounds like he’s just the kind of student highly selective colleges are looking for. Very few students hold down jobs all through high school — much less both before and after school. That’s mighty impressive. Highly selective colleges, including the Ivy League colleges, indeed do covet such students. So if this student happened to have his stuff together (e.g., his applications, grades, test scores, etc.), he could really prove his counselor wrong. Although, in many ways, he already did.