College Advice: Why High School Counselors Can't Always Help

For many families, college will be the second biggest expense they will ever face — right behind buying a house.

Choosing colleges and figuring out how to pay for them is complicated, which is why students and parents often seek college advice from high school counselors. It’s typically difficult, however, for families who want meaningful college information to get much face time with counselors. Any family with high school juniors or seniors already knows that reality.

A new report illustrates just how difficult it can be to spend quality time with a counselor, who can provide college planning advice.  During this school year, public high schools have increased the average workload of counselors by more than 53 students.

When you look at the student caseload at some schools, the numbers are startling. In California, for instance, the typical high school counselor is expected to advice 986 students! The state with teh next nighest counselor loads is Minnesota with 799 students and Utah with 720 students.

Let me state the obvious here: Families can’t rely just on school counselors to provide the answers they need. Families are going ot have to do a lot of the research on their own.

Below you’ll find some links of stories I wrote about researching schools that will help you get a great start:

Further reading:

The Best Colleges You’ve Never Heard Of

The Best Places to Find College Cash

Finding College Cash in Obscure Documents

Hunting for Great College

The Real “Best Colleges”

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

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