Best Kept College Secrets

Colleges for Real People

“I said we’d never hire a college advisor… and then we did”


Megan Rubiner Zinn is a free-lance writer who posted an article on her family’s decision to use a college consultant on the New York Times Education Section.  As a college counselor and consultant, I feared that she would be yet another voice extolling the strategic benefit of finding a “hired gun” to wedge an otherwise unremarkable student into a highly selective college.  I was delighted to find that the article identified the aspect of college counseling that I have always found most rewarding.  Her son entered the process with the conviction that he wanted a school of engineering, but in conversation with a consultant came to realize that he had many interests outside the disciplines of math and science.  Engineering had seemed the only course of study that allowed him to make use of his ability as a scientist and mathematician; it’s a conviction many students share.

This consultant began where all good college conversation should begin – with open discussion about the ways in which a student learns, about the moments in school that have been exciting and sustaining, about the ways in which the student’s mind and heart work.  A good discussion doesn’t start with advice; it starts with finding the doors the student wants to open.

My own work has a college consultant has introduced me to students and families across the nation, each of which presented a very particular set of circumstances and aspirations.  It has been a privilege to help families negotiate the college search from start to finish.

My consulting web site is:

The original article is to found at:

1 comment for ““I said we’d never hire a college advisor… and then we did”

  1. Kathy
    January 24, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I hired a college consultant for just one session (all we could afford), to get a list of colleges for my daughter during her junior year. Her biggest must-have: in a city, preferably Manhattan, and not small. After listening to my daughter, the counselor gave us a list that had several city schools, but also included Muhlenberg. That was a surprise, and I had to bribe my daughter to go see it, but she fell in love with the place and applied ED.
    I think a good counselor is able to really listen to kids and figure out where they’d be most happy even when they don’t realize it themselves.
    I was happy to see Muhlenberg included in Best Kept Secrets this year – I pored through last year’s edition and found it very eye-opening.

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