As October keeps flowing toward November and the first major rounds of application deadlines, let's all give a shout-out to the school-based counselors who are supporting their students in myriad ways, while also writing the rec letters that tell student stories (mostly after school hours), reading over essays and supplements, managing conveniently-timed (not!) PSAT administrations, and a ton of other tasks to make sure everything is in place and ready to send on time.
Even if (especially if!) your counselor doesn't have a smaller caseload that allows them to do some of those college-oriented tasks, they are definitely working very hard on your behalf, for more hours than they're paid for, to make sure everything is in place to support you-- and they probably don't hear thanks enough.
As is true for a lot of counselors, among my most meaningful possessions are the folders where I keep every handwritten thank-you note from 20 years of working with students. Every now and then I pull one of these out and flip through it-- there's not much that can lift my outlook and spirits in the same way.
This is a reminder to remind the student in your life to take the time to say thanks to the adults at school who support them, after the application dust has settled. Along with their advocate in the school counselor, those teachers who write recommendations for them also deserve a heartfelt thanks!
A physical note is a simple gesture that goes farther than a student can imagine, and it's also a good skill and habit to develop. Oh and guess what? Practicing gratitude has measurable health and psychological benefits. Read more on that topic from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley - Why Gratitude is Good.