If you are reading this, you are probably wondering whether you should hire an independent college counselor to help guide you and your child through the college application process. While relying on a combination of your high school counselor and do-it-yourself is a decent option, hiring a professional may be a better one. Let’s walk through the reasons.
Your high school counselor doesn’t have enough time
The average caseload for a high school counselor in the in U.S. is 250 – 500 students. Let’s say the average is 375. If the average high school counselor spends 8 full hours per day counseling (they don’t), that comes out to 3.8 hours per student per year. Your child probably needs more time and attention than that.
You and your child have big college goals
If your child wants to attend a school that may be a stretch for her, you are going to need a perfect application and some behind the scenes help. A professional counselor can give valuable advice and maximize your child’s chances of getting full consideration.
The cost is low
In most areas you can get a good college counseling package deal for $2,000 – 3,000. That may seem like a lot of money, but compared to the $200,000 or so that it costs for a 4-year education at a private school, it is really quite reasonable. The cost of making a mistake can be much higher.
Your high school counselor doesn’t have enough experience
Not every high school counselor has a lot of experience. If your child is assigned to a newer counselor, he might need extra help or a mentor with deeper experience
Your high school counselor doesn’t have the right contacts
If your child really wants to get into a particular school, you might need someone with deep contacts at that university, or a lot of experience with that school’s admission process, to seal the deal. Experienced counselors generally have numerous contacts at many schools around the country.
Your high school counselor doesn’t understand or appreciate your child’s extracurricular activities
Musical abilities, athletics, and other extra curricular activities carry different weight at different schools. Going the private counseling route, you can choose a counselor who knows how to market your child’s unique ability.
You didn’t go to college
Many parents who didn’t attend college themselves can be very intimidated by the application/admission process. Knowing that you hired an expert to help guide you can make up for most of the knowledge that you lack.
The college application process is stressful for parents and students. Having an experienced partner who can create an action plan for your family can lower the stress level immensely.
You have choices
You probably can’t change the high school counselor assigned to your child. Your choice of independent counselor is almost limitless. You can choose one with the personality, experience and contacts that best suit you and your child.
Independent counselors do not grow their business if they are not successful
This may be the most important one thing to keep in mind. Independent counselors are very dependent on positive word of mouth and referrals. They will get neither if they do not produce results for parents and students.
Counselor test drives are free
Ask your friends and neighbors if they know any counselors, or do a Google search. Contact a few and see for yourself whether they make you feel more confident about your child’s chances in the admission process.
Making an investment now to have an expert on your team can pay dividends for the rest of your child’s life.
At JD College Consulting, we offer time, experience and knowledge that go beyond that of the high school counselor. At the same time we work together with high school counselors to support the student from early high school to college application to admission.
While our program does not guarantee admission to the college of your choice, it can help maximize your chances.