A line said to us over the years during free consultations with prospective clients that so often inspires our uproarious laughter goes something like this: “Our child attends an elite private high school with a superb college counseling office. So we never thought we needed to reach out to a private college consultant.” Some of these parents even go on to cite how several students earned admission to the likes of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford just last year. But we likely already know that. You see, we probably worked with some of these very students.
Our point is: you don’t know who had outside help and unlike the school’s college counseling office, we won’t claim credit for that help since we at Ivy Coach highly value the confidentiality of our clients. As importantly, you often can’t count on an elite high school’s college counseling office to go to bat for your child. Do you really think the college counselors at, say, an elite boarding school in New England will go to bat for your child — a student who is the first in your immediate family to attend the school — over a student whose parents and grandparents happened to go to that same school? If you think you’re in a fair fight at many of these elite private high schools, sadly you are mistaken.
The Drama at Sidwell Friends’ College Counseling Office Personifies That Unfair Fight
And, no, your child’s elite private school is not the exception to this rule. You can bet that students at elite private high schools — from Andover to Exeter to Harvard-Westlake to St. Mark’s to Sidwell Friends — are seeking out outside help from private college consultants to help them earn admission to the college(s) of their dreams. Which all leads us to discussing the drama coming out of the Sidwell Friends college counseling office, as reported by Fox News. That’s right…the drama at Sidwell Friends, the alma mater of Chelsea Clinton and Malia Obama, has become newsworthy. So what exactly is happening there?
As Vandana Rambaran reports in a piece for Fox News entitled “College counselors at prestigious DC-area school quit over parents’ ‘verbal assaults,'” Two college counselors from a prominent Washington D.C.-area private school…have quit due to ‘verbal assaults’ on faculty members by parents. Prior to the departures, which occurred last month, Sidwell Friends School officials sent out several strongly worded emails to parents warning them that their egregious behavior, which also included spreading damaging rumors about other students to gain an advantage for their child in the competitive college admissions process, would not be tolerated.”
Rambaran continues, “In December, Patrick Gallagher, Sidwell’s director of college counseling, sent an email to parents warning that the College Counseling Office ‘will not answer phone calls from blocked numbers,’ and ‘will not open any mail without a recognizable return address,’ validating long-rumored allegations of parents who would go to any length to get their children into Ivy league universities.”
Sidwell Friends Parents Would Be Smart to Turn to Outstanding Private College Counselors
It seems to us that these competitive parents at Sidwell Friends are stooping to egregious forms of attempted sabotage in the hope of hurting the cases for admission of children who don’t happen to be their own. This, of course, is outlandish and a terribly thought out strategy reeking of utter desperation. It seems more students from Sidwell Friends could benefit from securing not just any form of private college counseling — but outstanding private college counseling. Because if these students (and their parents) had outstanding private college counseling, they certainly wouldn’t need to make anonymous phone calls to the Sidwell Friends college counseling office to disparage rival students. Our clients at Ivy Coach over the years from Sidwell Friends would certainly never make such mistakes in judgment.
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