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August 18, 2004

College Counseling For Student Non-Athletes

FROM A NEED UNFULFILLED HAS BLOSSOMED a mini industry for anxious and non-savvy parents of college-bound students. The mini industry is private college counseling, which encompasses finances, selection, preparing applications and so on.

College selection factors for aspiring student-athletes center around coach chemistry, conference schedule, anticipated playing time, scholarship amounts and possible pro grooming factors.

However, for the other 95% or so of each year’s incoming freshman class (the student non-athletes), the college selection factors are quite different. These students usually are interested in academic fit / rigor, college reputation, geography, cost (including grants, loans and work study) and the fun factor. There are no considerations of scholarships or special attention for these prospective students.

Many families experience the college selection process for the first time. If parents have college experience, that has usually been from the 70’s or 80’s, and that’s like the Stone Ages. Things are much different now.

Because not a lot of high schools are able to provide comprehensive college guidance services, there has occurred a groundswell of interest in private coaching companies.

Once restricted to the privileged, private college counseling has become so commonplace that it now is increasingly being offered as a corporate benefit. Participating employers realize that the college application process can be distracting, so it is to the employees’ benefit—and the company’s as well—to help in this important, stressful and time-consuming decision.

Said one grateful father about the coaching service funded by his employer, "I'm the type of guy that subscribes to Consumer Reports. I saw this service as the Consumer Reports on the subject of college. You want to know which features are important, what you want to pay for and what you don't, and all of that came through in the presentation and the counseling sessions."

So that’s how some of the non-athlete student families get it done.

(this 311 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was distilled from a 725 word article from the New York Times of 8-18-04)