Why do I need an independent counselor? Can’t I just work with my high school counselor?
Yes, you certainly should work with your high school counselor. I view my role as complementary to that of your school counselor. School guidance counselors play a crucial role in the process. However, unfortunately, counseling resources in schools have not been supported to the extent they should be. The American School Counseling Association recommends a student-to-counselor ration of not more than 250 to 1, but the national average in public schools is 471 to 1.
Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Education, on average, public high school students receive only 38 minutes of college counseling per year. Independent counselors can supplement the work of guidance counselors by providing students and families with additional attention. And, I am available at the family and student’s convenience – not just during school hours during the school year. This becomes valuable when you need a quick response or guidance.
What is the most important advice you can give me about the college admissions process?
First and foremost, I think a student needs to find “good-fit” colleges for his or her list. This begins with the student really understanding who they are and what they value. Once, they have that self-awareness, then they can evaluate opportunities.
How much do your services cost?
My fees vary for services provided and the particulars are best discussed in person. I offer various packages of services, and this academic year the costs start from $325 for an individual hour session. My initial 30-minute consultation is always free.
How important should college rankings be in my college search?
Many of us like lists. Lists can be interesting, entertaining and engaging. And college rankings lists can provide some interesting data points and maybe even create awareness for a school that you didn’t know existed. However, rankings are not an indicator of quality or fit for a particular student. Each ranking uses different criteria. Just because a list states that a particular college is number one, ten or fifty doesn’t mean that it would be a good fit for you. Use your time and resources to find the right fit for you regardless of the rankings and lists.
Given we have limited funds for college, I’ve been told we shouldn’t even consider private schools for my child. Is this indeed true?
I wouldn’t rule out both private and public schools in the college search. There are many private colleges that offer extremely generous financial aid packages, often making private school tuition less expensive than many public institutions.