Thursday, September 27, 2012

7%...or, a little college essay inspiration?

So Erik Qualman tweeted out this link last week and it is just chock full of good advice. It's a column from the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, written by a 92 year-old. The list is 45 life lessons long, and you can read the whole thing here, but these are my favorites:

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Good stuff, isn't it? If you haven't started on the essay yet, it's really time to get down to it. What's inspired you lately?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why hire a college consultant? I'll tell you

I've seen a few articles lately that question whether it's worth it for families to hire an independent educational consultant. To me, it's simple: if you need help and you're not getting it, hire a college consultant. 

I know the value of objective help when it comes to figuring out college plans. I was fortunate to attend a school that had dedicated college counselors, but I know this is not typical. In most schools the person responsible for guiding the process is the school counselor, who is also responsible for one hundred different things-- administrative tasks, conflict resolution, and whatever else is needed. They’re a valuable, necessary resource and the demands placed on them are increasing.

On average, a single school counselor is responsible for over 300 students. I earned my master’s degree in secondary school counseling, so I’ve seen what these wonderful professionals are expected to achieve with increasingly limited resources. College planning falls down the list because there are simply more important things that need immediate attention. In 2003, a National Center for Educational Statistics study found that “43 percent of all public high schools reported that more than 20 percent of their counselors’ time is spent on college advising, which meant that 57 percent of school counselors spend 0-19 percent of their time on college advising. Using NCES’s ratio of 315 students per counselor in public high schools and the estimate of hours the average counselor spends on college counseling, ”counselors are spending 38 minutes per year per student for college advising" (p 9, NACAC Fundamentals of College Advising).