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Guide to become College Selection Advisor for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Help high school students and parents make informed decisions about college.
• Keep current on college offerings, admission criteria, scholarships, and
financial aid.
The Need
Each year nearly 4 million American students head off to one of more than 4,000
accredited colleges and universities. Of course, before they pack their bags they
have to get past a significant headache: choosing the school that offers the best
combination of academic excellence, college life, and affordability . . . and
where the student stands a good chance of being accepted.
In theory, this is the job of a high school guidance counselor, and many do a
fine job in advising students. However, in many systems, the guidance counselor
is stretched way too thin, overseeing the academic decisions and job choices of
hundreds or even thousands of students each year.
The College Selection Advisor works as a personal guidance counselor, augmenting
or substituting for counselors within the school system.
If you think of college as an investment of as much as $125,000 for a fouryear
program at a private university, the idea of spending a few hundred dollars
for some professional shopping advice makes a great deal of sense.
This is a good job for a retired guidance counselor, teacher, or college administrator.
The process begins by meeting with the student and parents, gathering
information about academic standing, extracurricular activities, and college aspirations.
If the parents request it, you may also gather general information about
family income and investments to help advise about financial aid.
Based on what you learn in the interview, you will make recommendations
on colleges, taking into consideration location, city or rural setting, size of student
body, and courses of study. The list will include an assessment of the student’s
chances of acceptance, based on academic record, SAT scores, and other
criteria.
Challenges
The biggest challenge accepted by the college selection advisor is to help students
and parents make realistic decisions. Almost any serious student might list
Harvard as a preferred school, but only 1,500 or so freshmen are admitted each
fall. And competition for many larger colleges is just as intense.
Another challenge involves the ability to make a dispassionate recommendation
about the type or size of school based on your appraisal of the student. A shy,
sheltered child who has spent her entire life in a small rural community might not
fare well in a huge, big-city college; a brash city kid might be a fish out of water
at a small school in the Midwest. Advisors need to help the parent and students
examine this element of the college decision.
Though they may have been preparing to send their children to college for
more than a decade, few parents have a real understanding of the exact costs of
college: tuition, room, board, fees, books, and travel. The advisor can offer information
on lesser-known schools that offer a good education at a relatively low
price.
In many cases, it is also very important for students to apply to more than one
college in case they are not accepted by their first choice. The advisor assists in
categorizing schools as best choices, acceptable backups, and “safety” schools,
where the student is all but certain to be accepted.
In general, the job of the college selection advisor ends once the list of appropriate
schools has been drawn up; later in this chapter you can read about a related
job, the college application consultant, who assists students and parents in
filling out applications and other forms.
Know the Territory
Spend the time to keep current on colleges and universities. Nearly every school
has a detailed web site with information about academic offerings and requirements.
You can also visit public and high school libraries to examine brochures
on file there.
Find out from area high schools which colleges have enrolled recent graduates
and request application materials for your own collection. Several guidebooks
to colleges are published annually, including offerings from U.S. News &
World Report, Princeton Review, and Peterson’s (e.g., Four-Year Colleges).
Learn how to categorize schools based on information about acceptance levels
in recent years. What is the average range of scores on the SAT or ACT?
Where did the typical student place in high school class standing?
To appraise the school itself, look for information about the size of the student
body, the cost of tuition, room, and board, and the average size of financial
aid grants.
How to Get Started
Meet with area high school guidance counselors and ask whether they would be
willing to work with you and recommend your services. Some counselors may
welcome your involvement; others may feel you are intruding on their turf. Be
diplomatic in all of your dealings.
Place ads and flyers in community centers and stores. Advertise in local
newspapers, shopping guides, and the high school newspaper. Ask friends and
relatives to spread the word, and ask satisfied clients to refer friends to you.
Up-front Expenses
Minimal expenses include advertising and promotion and purchase of college
guidebooks.
How Much to Charge
Charge by the hour, or charge a flat fee for a standard assessment covering five
to six hours of work. A typical schedule might include an initial consultation of
one to two hours, office research of two hours, and a presentation to the student
and family of one hour.
If you are called back for additional advice, charge an hourly rate.

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