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A new benefit at top companies: College admissions counseling

A new benefit at top companies: College admissions counseling


Jon Marcus
October 23, 2023
In a suburban office park outside Boston, Shannon Vasconcelos logs on to a laptop computer and connects with families across the U.S. to help them get their children into college.
How can my daughter get into the Ivy League? How will we pay for all this? What points should my son emphasize in his essay? What scholarships are available? Vasconcelos walks them through these and many more questions.
It’s advice that Vasconcelos is well equipped to give, as a former assistant director of financial aid at Tufts University. She’s now senior director for college finance at College Coach, a division of the child care operator Bright Horizons, which provides private counseling for college admissions. And her services are free to families that receive it as a job perk offered by their employers.
A growing number of companies are providing access to admissions counselors such as Vasconcelos as a benefit to their employees. These include JPMorgan Chase, American Express, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, EY, Paramount Pictures, Mastercard, Goodwin, Johnson & Johnson, VMware and some venture capital and private equity firms.
Most did not respond to requests for comment or wouldn’t discuss the perk. Those that did said offering private coaching for college admissions — which typically costs around $140 an hour, according to the Independent Educational Consultants Association — is a way to recruit and keep workers in a tight labor market with record-low job satisfaction. And, they said, it’s a way to prevent the demands of the admissions process from cutting into productivity.
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