For the last couple of weeks, we've been following a lively discussion in the wake of a blog post from Lynn O'Shaughnessy -- Elite Schools Dissing College Consultants. In her words, the blog post shares her take "on why I believe the Ivies and other elite schools routinely dump on independent college counselors. The use of high-priced consultants reminds these schools that the system is rigged and most students need to be rich to get into these institutions." Independent counselors, high school counselors and admission deans have weighed in via a discussion on LinkedIn and in the Comments section of her blog.
Like many issues in the application process, the decision to hire an independent counselor is complex. Students and their families must carefully consider the costs and benefits and the decision should be driven by the student. In our book -- coauthored by a former dean of Stanford, Swarthmore, and Sarah Lawrence -- we take a very balanced approach, outlining the situations where an independent counselor can be a beneficial addition, with the main focus on how to find and properly evaluate a counselor for those who will go that route.