I have lost count of the number of dad's who have asked: "what is college admission counseling and why does my kid need it?" Although both mom's and dad's bring their teens to me to help them get in to college, it is often dad's who are more skeptical of the need for what I do.
I totally understand why a parent-aged person would wonder why college advising is helpful or even necessary. When that parent applied to college, it was easier, cheaper and more straight-forward than it is for their kids to do the same thing. There was no such thing as media presence or even applying online. Today, all that has changed. Whether you like it or not, we all have a presence online and colleges expect a full bio beyond gpa and test scores to even consider a person for admission.
My job is to help the student choose colleges for which they are a great fit and competitive, help them choose a major and walk them through the process of college admission and scholarship applications. Beyond that I help with college decisions after the acceptances roll in and help them enroll in the college of their choice.
Colleges want to know the story about anyone considering joining their community. So today's teen, has to know their story and how to tell it. The competition for college admission is also more keen today than 20 years ago. Today the percentage of high school seniors who apply to college has more than doubled and the percentage of students with a high gpa and an amazing resume is also larger.
About that resume...it is no longer good enough to have stellar grades and test scores. You have to demonstrate your interests and skills through your activity level and type. This is your school and community extracurricular footprint. Not all students have one. This puts them at a disadvantage.
So the need for a college admission counselor or college admission advisor is driven by the complexity of the admission process and competition for seats in the freshman class at colleges. High school counselors have limited time to provide support beyond information and students don't always listen to that information at the time it is provided. They pay attention later when college admission season opens...but because they did not hear the message earlier, they may have missed some deadlines and failed to prepare for the competition they will face.
The most frequent comments I receive from parents include that they are glad their teen has a guide and that college admission counseling is the best money they ever spent because it saved them money, decreased disagreements with their teen and resulted in the best college admission outcomes.