Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gaming The College Admissions Process

Some well-to-do parents are now hiring private "admissions consultants" in lieu of using traditional high school guidance counselors in order to help give their kids an additional edge when applying for admission to top-drawer colleges and universities:
Their parents paid hundreds - sometimes thousands of dollars to private consultants who help the students draft admissions essays, rehearse for interviews, prepare for tests and even pick after-school activities in the hopes of bettering their chance of admission.

Andrea DuBrow, 54, of New York City, wanted to give her daughter every edge when she applied to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. So instead of relying on the advice of the guidance counselors at her daughter's private boarding school, she hired a consultant.

"There's just so much pressure now and so many good applicants," said DuBrow, a vice president for a women's accessory company. "We felt our daughter could benefit from some extra help."

The consultants charge for work traditionally provided free by high school counselors, but with rates averaging $120 an hour to $2,900 for two years of consultation, it is a luxury. One exclusive two-year consulting program rings up at nearly $40,000.

"Certainly it skews things for people who can afford it, but the whole system is skewed that way, unfortunately," DuBrow said.
Consider reading the whole thing.

One of my pet peeves is the notion of the "legacy admission," which is the giving of extra consideration to an applicant simply because a parent or sibling had attended the school.
See this week's Carnival Of Education right here and our latest education-related posts over there.