In his four-decade career, Gwyeth Smith (“Smitty”) has advised students through the college application process using a holistic approach built on self-discovery. Drawing on his vast experience and uncanny knowledge about hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, Smitty partners with families so they may find the right fit for the college-bound student.
Smitty’s passion for empowering young adults has been recognized nationally. He was the recipient of an E.P.D.A. Fellowship in urban school counseling and has directed college counseling for several Long Island and Westchester school districts, including Commack, Westhampton Beach, Rye Neck, Baldwin, Harborfields, and Oyster Bay.
In 1992, The Princeton Review invited Smitty to Hong Kong where he gave a televised speech on international students seeking admission to U.S. colleges and universities. Founder of the Princeton Review, John Katzman concludes: “Gwyeth Smith is one of the last great college counselors. The way he helps a student understand his or her potential is unique and powerful.”
Smitty’s reputation caught the eye of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, David L. Marcus, who gave Smitty the moniker, “The Guidance Guru,” in his series of articles for Long Island’s Newsday paper. Most recently, Marcus has chronicled Smitty’s magic at work–both in Oyster Bay High School, where he was Director of Guidance, and on the road when visiting colleges and attending college admissons conferences–in Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges – And Find Themselves (Penguin Press, 2009). Smitty retired from Oyster Bay in 2008.
My Guiding Philosophy
College admissions is not a game to be won. It is not a competition about test scores. And it does not ride solely on the candidate’s GPA. Rather, the process of applying to college provides an opportunity for both students and parents to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
My practice focuses on finding the right fit for families. This begins with the college essay. I encourage the student to take risks when writing so as to find a narrative that is honest, meaningful, and compelling. After all, everybody has a story to tell.
As I learn more about a student’s passion and his or her hopes for the future, I am able to suggest a variety of schools for application. Some of them may be surprising. I remind students that it is not where one goes, but what one does, that determines success.
While most of my time is spent with the student, I advise parents on finding hidden bargains and applying for financial aid. My goal is for the family to find an affordable school where the student will thrive. I stress that choosing a college is both an educational and business decision.
How I Can Help
- I suggest appropriate and challenging courses so that the student’s transcript becomes compelling to college admissions officers.
- I help the student think creatively with the goal of enabling admissions officers to close their eyes and imagine the applicant after having read the personal statement.
- If you believe that your circumstances demand alternative arrangements (e.g. Learning Differences or International Students), please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caveat: As an Independent Counselor, I stay in touch with admissions officers, but I make no promises about contacting colleges on a student’s behalf. I visit over forty colleges annually so that I can understand the campus environment and get a feel for the pulse of the school. This, in turn, allows me to provide better service to my clients.
See www.DaveMarcus.com for info about Dave Marcus, author of ACCEPTANCE