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A money-back 'guarantee' of college admission?
Original post made
on Sep 2, 2011
Steven Ma says his business is "hated by most colleges." But the business -- helping Asian-American students, and students from China, get into U.S. colleges -- is thriving and expanding.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Friday, September 2, 2011, 8:42 AM
Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm
I strongly oppose these costly college counseling services. You really have to be around people using them for years to undersstand they are NOT about the authentic child. They bring short-term advantages, sometimes. They are bringing a very ugly mentality and unfair competition to this country.
Like anything, there is a spectrum of practices, and some are really over the top. I get the sense some people have brought over the cram school mentality.
It's NOT about learning and respect for education. It's about SCORES. It's about insisting that Ivy League + SM, perhaps top 3 LACs(US News & WR rankings) are somehow engraved in stone as the ONLY schools worth striving for and attending. It's about monies families putting out 20+ apps (and now, MORE have to choose to do that to keep up, since you compete with your peers from your high school owing to geographic distribution and the need to be competitive with current practices at your school - #APs taken, for example. Never mind that some kids have been prepped in advance of each AP and for each test, and that not all choose to do this deceptive hand-holding nor can afford it!
Umm..your future is NOT doomed if you do not attend Harvard. Check with Buffett.
The president of Reed College famously wrote in the past year about what nonsense these increasingly influential college rankings are...how they are doctored to some extent.
I suggest that "groupings" within the rankings DOES make some sense and can guide a student to make educated guesses about suitable schools, where students will be in the same stats range, and where to apply. But many schools are DIFFERENT and cannot be numerically ranked with utter certainty, as the vulgar college counseling services insist, using extreme fear to motivate their wealthy, uninformed clients.
The extreme college counseling services do perpetuate nonsense about being Ivy or...college is worth nothing. This is appalling ignorance.
According to these doofuses, Cal Tech, for example, is not a top school. Grinnell College is not worth considering. Recently, because of this nonsense, certain people are undervaluaing UC Berkeley and U Mich, for two very good examples. The problem is this nonsense gets into the general public "knowledge" and "opinion" and damages entirely valid schools.
Oh, don't forget the near-Ivies and the "lesser ivies" -- they are worth VERY little (never mind one near Ivy takes the most national merit finalists right after Harvard, again, for a selected example-)
Colleges and universities that have big PR/ad budgets are increasing advertising, outreach to wide array of students to increase applications (in order to then reduce acceptance rates); some take a LOT off waitlists - so, the point is, why not RESEARCH schools, majors, careers, cities, etc. rather than follow blindly what some college counseling service insists is their "inside" advice, with their "inside" contacts.
How about being an honest person?!
Some college counselors are secretive. Some use tactics to clearly ensure a certain ethnic clientele. They certainly are not regulated, and the idea of making guarantees is just vulgar, IMO.
If a kid attends sports camps, THEY have to do the actual sports, though the guidance WILL help. From what I observed here in Silicon Valley, there is widespread cheating going on with ethnic-based college counseling services. Students can be so closely supervised year-round as to take away individuality, responsibility, accountability for "their" own work!
There are local informal ethnic networks whereby curriculum is carefully saved and
passed within a chain of persons; MOST of our kids do not enjoy
such secret privileges
I have believed students should learn as they go - in class.
Yes, a highly motivated student may be tutored to advance in a particular favorite subject; that is NOT what is being objected to here. I object to a practice which amounts to being prepped outside of school in advance of school ("earning" the grade). It boils down to competition; what others do around you does affect you as you submit your college apps. The standard advice I give to the non-cheaters is to proclaim loud and clear that you did your own work, wrote your own essays, made your own choices (about where to apply, etc.) and speak from your heart. More top colleges are noticing packaged students that are really very similar, and the packaging may be beginning to backfire...
The Tiger Mom deceptive practices should be discouraged as they are not authentic.
It is well known that SAT scores can be substantively raised with extreme (sophisticated) prepping. Some very average students are packaged to appear to be "stars."
Exeter is an excellent, historically famous private school -
yes, however there are quite a few excellent public schools around this country. For example, meet college students (when your kids attend college) and find out about these schools - I have - they are all over.
I knew several kids from Los Altos High School who seemed to have high-grade counseling (appeared superior to PAUSD practices at the time, anyway-); my note would be things are often in flux in PAUSD HS, so I am not sure of the quality of their college counseling currently. The administration of the HS we knew here has changed remarkably over the past decade, for example.
Really, don't decide the quality of a high school by noting the #of AP tests forced by parents on their kids; instead READ the DESCRIPTIONS of interesting schools that are occasionally published as part of these semi-silly HS rankings. The other point is that in the U.S., THINGS CHANGE, especially in education! - thereby to some extent negating what is the cool place to be.