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College Talk Blog

Education Consumerism

What's College Admission Counseling?

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.

Let the Student Beware

As presidents and department of education leaders change, sometimes there are big changes for students. One such change currently underway is that the protections provided to famililes who choose private proprietary schools/colleges. Specifically, the current administration has a more business oriented view. They see it as the responsibility of the buyer/student to protect themselves from unscrupulous education products. Families need to be very careful when signing on the dotted line for a degree or certificate program at a colleges or school that is not accredited by the same regional accrediting agency that accredits state universities in their state.

Hire a college advisor-really?

Sometimes when a dad calls me, he says "Seriously, why does my wife want to hire a college advisor? What do you people do? Why do we need you?" I explain to dads that they don't NEED me to apply to a college. I am a nice-to-have in the process with the goal of helping them get their teen into the college that fits them best at the best price.

What these dads remember is that they applied to a college or two and got in when they were teens twenty years ago. They wonder why their own kids ask for help completing what they remember to be a simple process.

Paying money to join honor societies

The families I work with are emailing and calling this week asking one question: Should they sign up for membership in a national high school organization that promises to help promote them scholastically? They are asking because the association has deadlines and they are worried that they will miss out on a critical opportunity for college admission success. They say they are feeling pressure to make a payment and join soon.

My answer to the families is that the only honor societies that have been recognized by colleges to which my clients apply have been the National Honor Society at high schools and the subject honor societies at their high schools (science, social studies, Spanish, French, Latin etc).

Advantages of Additional One-to One Support

Last week a parent told me that a counselor at a private school discouraged him from hiring a college consultant. The counselor, he said, reminded him that the private school had a college counseling director and a college seminar. The parent appreciated the counselor's advice but had been through the college process with another child and decided to add the support of a private college advisor for himself and his rising high school senior. 

In this case, the well-intentioned school counselor was trying to save the parent money by encouraging him to use only the resources of the school.