Thinking about hiring a private college counselor? There’s an editorial up on the “Motherlode” blog of “The New York Times” by Megan Rubiner Zinn on the topic of hiring a private college counselor that we figured we’d share with our readers. In the piece, Ms. Zinn writes of how she and her husband pride themselves on not being helicopter parents, on giving their son, Charlie, space so he can learn and grow. Makes good sense to us! She writes of how she never figured she’d be one of ‘those’ parents who hire a private college counselor, but then she did hire a private college counselor because she realized how there was much about the college admissions process that had changed since the time when she applied to college years ago.
Ms. Zinn hasn’t seen the results of hiring a private college counselor just yet. And we’re not sure which private college counseling firm she hired. It wasn’t us! But Ms. Zinn articulates quite well the situation that many parents find themselves in as their children go through junior and senior years. As she writes, “In spite of our bravura, we had been in denial. We didn’t know what we were doing in the admissions process. I had applied to exactly one college. I knew I would get in, I did, and I went there. There were no college visits (I had been visiting my siblings at the school for years), no application essay and no interview. My husband did the whole shebang: long college road trips, selective private colleges, essays and interviews. He ended up at an excellent college, but it was never really a good fit — too conventional for an eccentric, nerdy artist. So we have jumped into this advising process to have someone hold our hands and keep us from second, third and fourth guessing ourselves.”
That is indeed an important part of the role of a private college counselor. The only thing is — it’s very important to hire the right private college counseling firm. While Ms. Zinn may have ignored the advice of her private college counselor (for all we know), we would never, ever recommend that a parent write an editorial for a widely read newspaper (“The New York Times”!) about how her son is using a private college counselor. Private college counselors — good ones at least! — work completely behind the scenes. Admissions officers will root against students who they know work with admissions officers. So when a parent acknowledges using a private college counselor in “The New York Times,” it’s not going to help Charlie’s case for admission. It’s likely not going to help his relationship with his school counselor, who will be writing a letter of recommendation on Charlie’s behalf.
While you’re here, check out some data on why parents should hire good — and we repeat the word good! — private college counselors.