In my work as an independent educational consultant I frequently make use of multiple resource guides, databases, education blogs and publications. This past weekend I added an entry to my list of favorite non-traditional books about college planning: Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College, by Andrew Ferguson.
Ferguson applies humor and plenty of ironic commentary to his tale of helping his son with the college planning process. One of my favorite chapters recounts the author’s attendance at a presentation led by the most expensive east coast college consultant, whose fees are in the neighborhood of $40K for comprehensive services, typically targeting the Ivy League and other elite east coast colleges. Ferguson skewers her readily, along with the parents who are gullible enough to fork over the funds for her tactics of intimidation and snobbery.
Ferguson also takes colleges to task for their arcane and obscure norms in vetting applications, as well as the obscene extent of inflation in costs of attendance.
His points are well taken; in fact, I am considering emailing him to share something I’m sure he already knows: that there are highly qualified, ethical college consultants who work hard (at reasonable rates) on behalf of students and families to demystify the process and expand options.
This is a fun and illuminating read, and will be savored by professionals and digested by parents. I recommend it highly.
Lisa Ransdell is an independent educational consultant in Denver, Colorado with an extensive background in college teaching and administration. She helps students and families nationwide with all aspects of college planning.