Navigators for the college bound

What may be largest high school senior class ever in the United States is applying to college this fall. And thousands of students will look beyond their high school guidance counselors to help them get into the schools of their choice.

Private educational consultants take up where overburdened high school guidance counselors leave off. Charging by the hour or offering a package of services, these consultants usually meet multiple times with a student to talk about goals for college and beyond. They synthesize information from parents, transcripts and other sources to help create a list of colleges that might be a good match. Then they guide students through the application process, reviewing essays, preparing them for interviews and keeping them organized to meet deadlines.

There are 4,000 to 5,000 private educational consultants in the United States focused on college admissions, according to Mark Sklarow, executive director of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, based in Fairfax, Va. The number has doubled in the last five years, Mr. Sklarow said, and is expected to double again in the next three to five years. Consultants are most heavily concentrated on the East and West Coasts, and in larger cities and affluent suburbs across the rest of the country. Read full story. (New York Times)

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