We hear this question all the time, from high school students and their parents. Should we rely on our high school counselor to guide us through the college admission process or hire an independent counselor?
High school counselors are a wonderful resource that comes at no extra cost. They have lots of experience, often years, and have worked with large numbers of students, many or most of whom went on to college. They draw on their experience to offer the best advice at their disposal. By all means, take advantage of your high school counselor to the fullest exponent possible.
In our opinion, the reason that some may view the assistance afforded by high school counselors as insufficient is that their caseload is far too high to be able to deal with special circumstances for every student one on one.
If this is the case with you or your student, a great solution may be to enlist the aid of a qualified independent counselor in addition to using your high school counselor.
The key to make it work is to choose an independent counselor that prioritizes working in a complementary manner to what guidance has already been provided by the high school counselor. Avoid big egos and firms that employ a one process fits all students methodology. There is no need to ignore or undo what a high school counselor has already done, or is willing to do.