Katie of Syosset, NY writes:

I've seen a few ads for intensive, not to mention, expensive, college application events, promising, among other things, a completed Common Application and a fully prepared "suite of essays" in just 4 days. One such "boot camp," held up in Boston, charges $14,000, not including room and board. Is it worth the big bucks?

The College Whisperer responds:

Well, let's see. The earth was created in 6 days, so we suppose that creating a winning admissions strategy, no less that perfect college essay and a completed Common Application, in 4 days, is entirely possible. Then again, for the hefty sum of $14,000, I'd expect not only a "suite of essays," but also a suite in the pricey Taj Boston -- breakfast included, of course!

We first addressed this very issue on our blog several years ago, when a reader spied an ad in The New York Times for a college application boot camp. READ, College Admission Boot Camp?

Seemed like a rather extreme idea at the time -- sort of a costly way to name that tune in 4 notes. Since then, such boot camps, academies, and other such intensive (and similarly pricey) short-order programs, have proliferated, much like the spread of algae over a murky, stagnant pond. [Cue the mosquitoes for the latter. The vultures for the former? ;-)]

The good news: That outfit charging $14,000 for the 4-day boot camp (boots sold separately) back in 2010, has held the line on the cost for 2013. Guess they figured out just how much that fear-filled, stress-induced market will bear!

Look. There are intensive, short-term programs, courses and workshops (College Connection offers College Planning Workshops for FREE) for virtually everything. Cooking. Automobile Repair. Novel Writing. Learning How To Fly. Hmmm.

Take it from whence it comes and what they're worth -- to you. Will you benefit to the fullest? Get the most bang for your (parents') buck? Will your essay truly demonstrate who you are and what you would bring to campus (let alone be responsive to the new Common App essay prompts)? Will your application really be complete, accurate and thorough, ready to submit? And will all of this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants in 4 (count 'em, four) short days, actually give you an edge in getting in to the college of your choice? Ummm. Who are we to say? Only one guarantee: An intensive college application boot camp, together with two dollars and fifty cents, will get you onto the subway in NYC*. [Prices may vary on the Boston T. :-)]

What we will say is pretty much what we said back in 2010: Fast and furious is best left for the big screen. In the college application and admissions game, slow and steady wins the race!

*According to the NYC MTA, the fare for a subway ride is $2.50. The cost of a SingleRide ticket is $2.75. If you can figure that one out, you should have no trouble applying to college!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail! 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of
The College Whisperer

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process?
The College Whisperer knows. . . 
* * * 
Comments? Questions for The College Whisperer?

Write us at info@TheCollegeWhisperer.com

The College Whisperer™ and Official Sponsor of College Admission Success are Trademarks of
COLLEGE CONNECTION.  The road to college begins at COLLEGE CONNECTION! Whether you are planning for college, applying to college, paying for college or simply thinking about college, COLLEGE CONNECTION can help! Call TODAY for a FREE telephone consultation. 516-345-8766 

For up-to-the-minute news, apps, info and insights on college applications, admissions, scholarships and just about everything college, follow The College Whisperer™ on Twitter at