Help is Needed

The New York Times recently ran a sobering piece on the lack of good counseling available to high school students in many of today’s public schools:

Applying to college is a very rough process and without the right kind of help, students really have an uphill battle pulling together their applications. That’s exactly why I got into working on college admissions essays. My two sons graduated from a high school in a small town in upstate New York. The school certainly had its fair share of talented and dedicated students and teachers, but when it came time to apply to college, I got the sense that the counseling folks and the English teachers really didn’t know much about how to write a college admissions essay. Neither did I at the beginning, but, being a writer, I figured it out and ultimately began working with more kids in the community, with the children of friends and friends of friends, and then with an ever-growing roster of clients, all around the world. I gathered my theories in my book, Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps, and people have valued its simplicity and clear thinking about a complicated topic.

Now, whenever I work with students and their parents, I hear a lot about how difficult it is to grab the attention of their guidance counselors. Naturally, these counselors are overworked and underpaid. The big secret, however, is that I hear the same thing when I work with students from some of the most exclusive preparatory schools in the country where the tuition is 40K and up. There too it’s a struggle to grab the counselors’ attention. That’s why people come to me, because they know that I will give them my total attention and my expertise, and I like to level the playing field just a bit by taking on some pro bono clients every year.

Well, here on January 6, 2015, the season is already starting up again for me with transfer students and early birds. Every year’s crop holds excitement and promise, however, so away we go…