I am a lawyer by training. I left full time practice in 2000 to pursue my calling as an educator-counselor and started The Learning Consultants in an effort to help parents with their college counseling, test prep, and tutoring needs. I was suddenly an entrepreneur and was faced with doing my now more complicated taxes. I had never needed a tax advisor /accountant before. But I realized several key points: (1) regardless of my confidence in handling myself, this was just too important to worry about not getting it right. The consequences of getting it wrong would be a real problem (2) even though doing taxes simply means reading the relevant tax law and applying it to my situation – something a lawyer should be able to do – there were gray areas that would require significant research and time. It would not be efficient for me to do my taxes, even if I did get it right (3) the subtleties and nuances related to how tax law is practiced, both in changing trends and in understanding the small differences in let’s say how to account for depreciation of an asset would be lost on me even with such research (4) the worry that I would get it wrong, even if I put in enormous energy was a cost and (5) the wise people who I knew – including a lawyer who practiced tax law but still used an accountant for his taxes! – advised me that it was an easy call: don’t do your taxes yourself if you own a business, get a top accountant.
I realized the same holds true for college counseling. I used to be much more self-conscious in suggesting that our college counseling services were needed. Way back when, my first offices were in Guilford, Connecticut. I rented from The Women & Family Life Center. Those on the board of this great organization were highly sophisticated women from Guilford (and Madison, Branford and other Shoreline areas). This was 21 years ago so perhaps it was wise of me not to presume that I would know more about college counseling than many of the parents who I met with for SAT Prep. But then it became clear: I did. Why? Well, I was in the position of the tax accountant. And, even if the smart doctors, bankers, and engineers in Guilford were better suited than most other parents to be the de facto college counselors for their children, they still were not experts in college counseling. Even back then, twenty one years ago, – given that I had read/studied/thought through every issue related to college admissions I could find – I was better situated to provide college counseling than just about every parent.
So, I’ll simply say that the college transition is too important not to get college counseling.