The Pouch: Are College Counselors Worth It?

Lexie Root, President of The Pouch

It’s that time of year again when seniors are sleep deprived, stressed, and scrambling to get in their college applications. On top of regular schoolwork, they are carrying the pressures of applying to scholarships, honors programs, and some of the most competitive schools. Some take this opportunity to hire an individual college counselor to aid them in the application process; however, many opt out of it due to how expensive it can get.

I interviewed two seniors about their application experience, one who had a college counselor and one who did not to find out if hiring a counselor is truly worth it. When asked how stressful the application process was on a scale of 1-10, the student without a counselor said 7 while the student with a counselor said 5.

The student without a college counselor noted that having the support of a college counselor would have been helpful specifically for time management, productivity and applying for financial aid. However, they felt it was too expensive, especially considering there was other free support through the College and Career Center here at Lake Washington.

The student with a college counselor stated they “got off on the wrong foot” with their counselor which in turn made it difficult to work with their counselor in the application process. Their counselor did, however, provide them with a helpful website to organize the colleges they were applying to along with important deadlines. The student generally asked questions about out of state scholarships, pricing on schools, and which deadlines to prioritize. In this student’s case, they don’t feel it was worth the money they spent on their college counselor. Nevertheless, they believe if a student is in frequent contact with their counselor and puts enough effort into a positive relationship with them, they will be able to get more out of the application process than they normally would on their own.

Overall, I found that the decision of hiring a college counselor comes down to a student’s individual preference. Personally, I found getting help at the College Career Center along with the guidance from my English teacher in writing my essays was all that I needed during the application process, though some may swear by the more individualized support from a college counselor.