Through running The Learning Consultants for now… 20 years!…. I’ve always had a sense of dismay regarding half the college counselors I’ve met in Connecticut. Most went into the field for the right reasons. Specifically, most wanted to help young people with all important life-changing college decisions.
But through the years, I came to the view that most lacked high level skills necessary for crafting strategy and effectively advising others.
Regarding strategy, many seemed stuck in a one size fits all paradigm (you should have two safety, two range, and two reach schools). This might be a starting point for discussion but rarely made sense ten years ago. Now such advice makes no sense, which I’ll elaborate upon.
Today, the problem is even worse because the largest problem for many college counselors is that they do not stay on top of current trends. For example, the craziness of suggesting that students apply to 6 or maybe 8 colleges stems from a completely outdated model of college counseling. That worked when admissions was more predictable, when merit aid was not such a significant part of how parents pay for college and pre-Covid when parents and students had dramatically more knowledge about colleges.
Why should students – generally – apply to more colleges than in the prior generation?
College admissions has become unpredictable, merit aid has always been unpredictable and students in the pandemic world lack knowledge about colleges.
(1) Defined interest in the school is an odd variable to calculate, test-optionality makes predictions less exact, and demographic factors have increased in importance.
(2) Merit aid (how much colleges can shave off the sticker price unrelated to financial aid, based on how much they want to attract the student) has become an important consideration for parents in paying for college and merit aid is really unpredictable, causing the need to apply to many colleges a
(3) The Learning Consultants are now in the strange place of providing detail on college life, campuses, types of people that college visits used to provide but that most students have been able to observe on their computers in their Connecticut households.
In terms of advising students, many counselors suggest what students do based primarily on their own world views. One counselor would suggest that students go far away from home because that was her philosophical outlook. Another focused almost exclusively on cost-effectiveness. Both views might make sense for many – but not all – clients.
We are confident that we provide the best college counseling in Connecticut.