College applications can be stressful and confusing. Many families do not know where to begin. High school counselors may be overworked and unable to give each student maximum attention. They may have a narrow set of schools they recommend to all students. They often speak only to the student, leaving the parents wondering what is going on and unable to judge the quality of the advice.
There is no substitute for guidance from an expert who has been through the process many times before. Your counselor should provide exactly the assistance you want from a menu of options, including:
A private counselor can also provide a critical buffer between a young person and his or her parents. Teens may resist any suggestions that come from parents, but readily accept the same advice from a neutral third party.