Site aims to ‘close the information gap’ in college counseling

Students who are soon to graduate from high school now can get free college advice on

High school students won’t need the best college counseling money can buy when all their questions are answered for free online. At least, that’s the hope of officials at

CampusSplash, a website best known for ranking the top-20 most Googled colleges and universities, unveiled Aug. 10 a counseling service that lets prospective college students search for their desired schools, submit questions to counselors, alums, current students, and campus admissions officers, and peruse through the thousands of questions already asked—and the subsequent answers.

Allen Gannet, cofounder of Washington, D.C.-based Splash Networks, which operates CampusSplash, said that “basically every college in the country” would be included in the new counseling database.

Gannet said the counseling site—answering questions ranging from campus housing to the strength of certain academic programs—would help “close the information gap” between low- and middle-income students and their wealthy counterparts.

A public school student who gets her college application advice from a school counselor who also helps dozens of other students will always be at a disadvantage relative to students who receive guidance from private counselors, who have a fraction of the workload and are paid thousands of dollars annually for every student they help, Gannet said.

The country’s priciest college counselors charge more than $30,000 a year, according to industry reports.

“Too many students are using an overwhelmed guidance counselor for their help,” Gannet said. “It’s not just an inequality issue, it’s also a very solvable issue using technology. … This is something, we hope, that could make private college counselors irrelevant.”