The College Whisperer has gotten quite a few comments -- almost all along positive lines -- on his recent blogpost, Could a college planning counselor really give you a competitive edge.

Here's a sampling for your perusal:

I think a college planning counselor can give a student a competitive edge by helping them to choose the right schools and providing the college assistance that will allow them to make the best college decisions. This should include advice on SAT and ACT tests, application and essay tips, interview suggestions and college visit preparation. College planning counselors do not write a student's applications or essays, nor should they. But they do provide the support, expertise and individual attention that encourages students to give their best. It is students who give themselves the competitive edge.

-- Susie Watts

We don't get kids into college, they get themselves in.

We guide families through the process so that they're more confident in their decisions, better informed in their choices and better situated to make the most of their situation.

I consider an edge to be held by students who come from high schools where the counselors have long-term relationships and influence with admissions staff at selective colleges.

Valerie Broughton

I posted the same question on the Georgia Charter School page. I do agree that there is a need for a college counselor in all public and private schools. Does it give students an edge? Yes, especially for those students who come from low performing school. As an Independent College Counselor and a 10 year vet at a college admissions office. We need to help our young adults gain college access. This is the only way to create a college going culture (this includes trade schools). Whatever the students goals may happen to be.

-- Cherise Ogle

College planning counselors give students an edge by providing information seeking skills and related college application skills that help them move forward in a direction that will be productive for them. Without a school or private expert to help, students often delay important tasks because they are not sure how to approach them. They can also waste time and family resources on colleges that are inappropriate for their needs. College planning counselors help students move efficiently and effectively in the right direction saving money and time in the process. Additionally, college planning counselors keep students from getting discouraged and giving up and they give parents piece of mind that their child will go in a direction appropriate to his talents and skills.

Pamela Rambo

YES, absolutely. To start off, parents are just as nervous as the students are, and a consultant is a buffer to that stress. Reducing the stress makes the students more open. College Planners can help guide students through the process by learning about the student and based on his academic background, social and economic situation, his likes and dislikes, interest, etc. they can blend it all together and quickly assess where a student would do well at, and find school that will help that student grow and blossom instead of drown and feel defeat.

College Planners are also able to map out programs starting with 9th graders so that parents will save time and money down the road, and with schools going up 6%-7% per year, 2-3 times what an average salary goes up, and schools ranging from $68,000 to $200,000 for a college education, you better hope you can get your student through their education in 4 years.

With schools facing cut backs, and counselors being cut, where does a student turn to? Students need this resource, just as they need an SAT/ACT prep before taking the test.

Patty Finer

An additional point is the focus on fit and match that independent educational consultants provide. As a golfer, I use the caddie analogy; if ever I get to play the Royal and Ancient Club, St. Andrew's in Scotland, which will certainly be a once in a lifetime event, I can certainly carry my own bag, but I would choose to take a caddie who can help me read the greens, spot my ball in the fescue (as it is often want to hide in that dreaded high grass) and share a wily story along the "good walk spoiled" as Mark Twain once called the sport. A veteran voice of reason who has expertise in colleges as well as in teenagers can artfully bring the two together, narrowing the over 3000 four-year undergraduate colleges to a dozen best fit decisions. I'd call that an edge!

-- Erin Croddick Avery
So there you have it, folks, out of the mouths of the experts themselves!

Of course, we'd like to hear from college-bound students, as well as their parents, with their experiences -- both good and bad -- with college planning counselors.

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