Counterpoint: Should students partake in college counseling?


Elizabeth Muratore, Staff Writer

These days, it seems as if every high school senior has at least one person outside of school helping them survive the college process.  Even so, at around $70 each, college applications are a bargain compared to college counselors, who commonly charge in the range of $150-$200 an hour. These counselors are often very helpful with editing college essays, providing advice regarding where and when to apply, and suggesting topics for school-specific supplements.  But what exactly is the point of spending so much money?
$150 per hour is a lot of money to pay someone to help edit an essay. For those who have that kind of money to spare, this may be an ideal move.  For those who do not, it is not even an option.  And what it ultimately boils down to is an issue that has come up time and time again: wealthier families have an advantage in the college process.  Not only can they pay for their child to attend college, but they can also afford to hire an “entourage” to make sure that their child is admitted to the right college.
Many families cannot afford college.  Those families, naturally, cannot afford the costs of applying to college.  It is purely an issue of money and privilege, as are SAT and ACT tutors. 
All students have teachers and guidance counselors who will gladly help them revise their essays and applications, for no charge.
“With the guidance department ready to help all students with each step of the college process, it seems to be an unnecessary expense to invest in a college adviser, especially after the daunting amount of funds being put towards application fees and score reports,” said senior Iliana Ioannides.
Some students may have a good relationship with their college counselors, but for many, college counseling undermines the value of the student’s personal decision where to go to college.  Too many outside opinions on where and when to apply to college will almost certainly confuse the student and make it difficult for them to choose where they genuinely feel they belong.
“I personally don’t see much of an advantage in college counseling,” said senior Wyn Stopford.  “A student should choose their college based on their interests and needs, with as little influence as possible from the opinions of others.  If the student isn’t able to meet the requirements of the school by themselves, then they should realize that it may not be the best fit for them.”
Another danger of using college counselors is that students run the risk of their all-important voice becoming lost in their writing.  This is particularly worrisome for students who fear that the influence of too many older writers will overpower their own writing style.
“I feel that when you have an outside source that does this professionally, they sometimes tend to lose your voice in editing papers to fit the mold that admissions counselors look for,” said senior Emanuel Beys.  “I found the help of my sister, a senior in college, more in line with where I wanted my essay to go.  I think that her younger age helped her see my essay in that teenage voice that I felt was essential to what I was trying to accomplish.”
Hiring a college counselor is understandable for students who may not have trusted adults at home with the time or ability to revise their college materials.  But it makes much more financial and logical sense for students to skip hiring a college counselor if they instead consult their parents or older siblings. 
Close relatives, unlike college counselors, interact with the student on a daily basis.  If the student is struggling with how to phrase a certain sentence, parents and relatives can anticipate what the student is trying to say because they know his or her personality and how he or she normally speaks.
Even if a student’s home environment is not ideal for assistance with college applications, the school provides teachers and guidance counselors who may be considerably more helpful with honing the student’s writing voice.  And hundreds of dollars cheaper.