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Monday, August 5, 2013
Is Getting into College the Hardest Part
A friend of mine is the mother of a 17-year-old high school senior. He's a talented musician. He's already taking college courses at the local community college. What's more, he's polite, driven, and focused on his future. So is she.
She is a single parent of an only child, which carries with it its own dynamic. She's managed to raise a strong, smart, ambitious child without much help from his father. Finances are tight, which is part of the reason she sees academic success as a road out for him. Right now, she's spending a fortune on a college consultant; she insists it's worth every penny.
According to her consultant--getting into college is harder than college itself.
Do some light reading on the college consulting industry and you'll find a million different perspectives. The most vociferous critics call it things like the New Snake Oil Industry. The middle ground says, if it gives you peace of mind, it's worth the money. Others, like my friend, say that advisers are the lifeblood of the process. Without them, you're just not getting in. I always like to think the truth is somewhere in the middle. You can do almost anything in life without a broker, so long as you do the research yourself. That doesn't mean that buying a house isn't easier if you use a real estate agent.
Is getting in the hardest part for the student or the parent? Is it intellectually challenging, or just a cruel battering of your nerves? Is it a non-issue if you can't afford it? I'm not sure there's a single answer for anyone. If it works for you, great. The fact is, admissions has become more challenging. There are people with varying degrees of knowledge of the process. If you chose your help wisely, the "getting in" part shouldn't be nearly as hard as being a college student.
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