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College advisory business is booming

homework-help-2At a time when the economy is in a tailspin and a record number of jobs are being lost, one small niche of the employment market is booming — the college advisory business. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, more parents than ever are hiring educational consultants to help their children successfully navigate the college admissions process, which includes everything from test prep for the SAT, to help with finding the right colleges to apply to, extensive scholarship searches, financial aid information, and advice on positioning one’s application.

Driving the demand is a very competitive application season with a record number of high school seniors vying for limited spots at top-tier private and public colleges. One college advisor from New Jersey said he charges between $150 to $285 an hour for private tutoring, and business was up 30% in 2008. As for the parents who pay these fees, one private counselor from New York remarked: “[t]hese are parents who are used to outsourcing a lot of stuff.”

According to the article, families hope that by spending thousands of dollars up front, they’ll save even more later when Junior lands a hefty scholarship or gets accepted at a prestigious college. And lest you think it’s only wealthy families who are driving the college advisory business, a 2007 survey of independent educational consultants found that the average client had a family income between $75,000 and $100,000.

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