The average postsecondary U.S. public school has a student-counselor ratio of 460 to 1, according to 2008 statistics from the American School Counselor Association.
The association recommends a ratio of 250 to 1.
A proliferation of web-based advising sites like iAdmissions.com and Go4College.com has coincided with a national jump in college applications, according to the 2009 State of College Admissions report, released by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling in October.
The report, which used statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, showed that the average acceptance rate at four-year universities and colleges dropped from 71.3 percent in 2001 to 66.8 percent in 2007. This was partly owing to the 24-percent rise in applicants during that six-year span, according to the report.
Veteran public school counselors who have dozens of high school seniors on their caseload often become so comfortable with the application process at a handful of colleges that they don’t help applicants explore campuses they’re unfamiliar with, Gannet said.
“You don’t get all the information you need, and it’s not their fault, it’s a budget issue,” he said. “There’s just not enough time in the day.”
If a student is interested in applying to the University of Maryland, College Park, for example, a quick search on CampusSplash will turn up a list of questions that have already been asked and answered.
A question about the best majors at UMD’s main campus will turn up a host of answers, as will a query about the school’s Greek life, application deadlines, and availability of off-campus housing.