A recent article in The Hechinger Report by Erin Einhorn paints an excellent picture of the haves and have-nots of college admission counseling through two very different schools. On one end of the spectrum is the private Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with a $30,200 annual tuition, where a team of five with a combined 169 years of experience serves 200 seniors and 600 underclassmen. Nineteen miles to the south in Detroit is Osborn Collegiate Academy of Math, Science and Technology, where, according to the article, one counselor, Andrea Jackson, serves 400 students with decisions far greater than which college to attend:
“I need to start job-searching. I need help really bad,” sighed a 17-year-old senior who turned up one recent morning in Jackson’s office in the school’s poorly heated library. The girl hopes to enroll in a nursing program at a local community college next year but needs money now to make it through the end of high school. Jackson promised to call a colleague with connections at a nearby Burger King, then advised the girl to reach out to family members who could help her next year if she needs cash.
Acknowledging that comparing such polar opposites “provides an extreme example of the disparities in college counseling based on socioeconomic status,” the article provides an eye-opening look into the daily challenges facing students—and counselors—in many of nation’s most disadvantaged schools:
At a time when the high-tech economy has made a college degree an essential ticket to a good job, and when unraveling the college-application process is more complicated than ever, students in poor urban and rural school districts—many of them low-income, racial minorities, and the first in their families to go to college, meaning they need the most help—can expect little or no college advising, while wealthier kids in suburban and private schools have small armies of counselors.
The Hechinger Report article is available at http://hechingerreport.org/rich-school-poor-school/.