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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, February 19, 2018
When College Consulting Goes Wrong
The Ivy Coach is a Manhattan-based firm offering boutique education consulting service to the select few who can afford their fees. Ivy Coach recently found itself the plaintiff in a lawsuit against a client who defaulted on her payment plans to the firm. It doesn't sound particularly noteworthy until one looks at the numbers: the client paid just $750,000 of a $1.5 million contract.

College consulting is certainly a burgeoning industry, and it is not cheap. Many charge upwards of several hundreds of dollars per hour, or flat fees of up to $10,000. For this money, most firms promise to walk aspiring college students through the entire process from start to finish. This includes help researching schools, strategizing standardized tests, preparing for interviews, drafting admissions essays and more. It's no secret that the cost of these services prices out families of low to moderate means.

Still, the exorbitant fee being litigated in the Ivy Coach case offers an extreme example of a pendulum that has arguably swung too far in the wrong direction. It underscores the desperation of parents, and the mighty weight of economic privilege. At a deeper level, it challenges notions of what a college education is worth. For families in the top one percent, does an Ivy League pedigree make that much difference in their children's professional prospects?

Private consulting services are not illegal, even though they straddle ethical lines. They are simply the product of a capitalist system that encourages producers to seize upon a legitimate social demand. And while this case is an outlier, it serves as a stark reminder that in many respects, college admissions is not the pure merit-based system which universities would have us believe.


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