In a recent article published in Crain’s Chicago Business, “College Consulting Thrives Despite Scandals,” author Lynne Marek states that “Demand for college consultants has soared over the past decade as they pitched services that may help students get into the colleges they’ve dreamed of …” notwithstanding that there have been scandals “gaming the system.” It would seem that Ms. Marek is surprised that the college consulting industry as she reports is thriving “despite scandals.”
It is unfair to “shame” the value that college counselors bring to their clients because a fewhave “gamed the system.” The incredibly high and escalating cost of a college education deserves the guidance of an experienced and skilled consultant. The vast majority of those who work in this industry do not view their primary role as getting a student into a “top school.”
Most would tell you that it is their responsibility to guide a student and their family, to those schools that are most likely to be a “good fit” and result in a student being able to maximize the full benefit of this sizeable investment.
Most of our high schools used to provide reasonable college counseling support to their students. Unfortunately, however, the budgets for these services have all but dried up. Some parents feel that they don’t have the expertise to provide their child the guidance that is necessary in today’s competitive environment, and recognize the value and the necessity of the independent support of a college consultant. Naturally, due to an increased demand, the number of consultants has grown.
We take some issue with the author’s myopic focus on those few anomalies in an industry where the vast majority of consultants adhere to the high standards of ethics set by their associations and own morals.
Parents must be diligent in the selection of their consultant. There is no consultant that we know that can promise an acceptance at any school. They can, however, improve a student’s chances of getting into a college that is right for them by guiding and supporting the student through an application and admission process that, by anyone’s standards, is extremely complex and challenging.