40 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #19
With some packages costing as
much as US$25,000, it is clear
the tailored counselling services
are not available to every student
who wishes to study at a US
higher education institution.
Initially Heller Adler believed her client base would be
mostly public schoolers with little access to counselling.
But the reality today, she tells The PIE, is seven ICC offices
where her teams work with students from all over the
world – 80 per cent of whom attend private institutions.
“With higher education costing so much in the States,
those who can afford to pay US$200,000 or more on tui-tion
can usually afford private help with the goal of helping
them get into the right school,’ she says. “And that’s usually
the families of private school kids.”
Offering support through everything from essay
advising to test preparation and even refining extra-curricular
interests, using services such as those offered
at ICC seems like a no brainer – if the family can afford it
– when preparing to take the next steps towards post-secondary
But with basic packages ranging from US$6,000 to
US$25,000, not every student looking for guidance on how
to navigate post-secondary education in the US and bey-ond
is able to afford a tailored counselling experience.
The right fit
In its 2017 state of college admissions summary, the Natio-nal
Association for College Admissions Counselling found
that 49 per cent of US private schools reported employing
at least one counsellor whose exclusive responsibility was
to provide college counselling. This figure dropped to just
28 per cent in public schools where resources are limited
at best, and staff members are often required to juggle a
variety of different tasks.
And while the number of college counsellors working
in schools around the globe varies greatly, across China,
India, and the Middle East where a US education is held in
high esteem, school-based college counsellors employed
solely to help students achieve academic success are beco-ming
So much so says Kunal Parekh, managing director of
Mumbai-based tour operator Kunal Parekh High School
Tours, that his business partners with more than 75
schools across India, most of which have a college coun-sellor
Twice per year, Parekh’s company takes a group of US
universities to visit high schools across 10 Indian cities to
meet with prospective students, their parents and college
If a counsellor believes one of the universities could be
a “right fit” for one or more of their students, Parekh says
they are invited to visit the campus in the US to gain a
deeper understanding of the culture, the city, the programs
on offer and to develop a good relationship with the admis-sions
staff at the institution.
“Most of these counsellors have extensive experience
in international education. What they don’t have is that
direct face-time with universities around the world,” he
tells The PIE.
Unlike many parts of the West, Parekh explains, in
India the college counsellor plays an important part in
the child’s transition to higher education because they are
highly regarded as an expert in the field.
“Many high schools in India have a college counsel-lor
and most that don’t are now moving into that space,
because they know the counsellor will bring a level of
expertise and ‘handholding’, which is very important in
Indian culture,” he says, adding that he now plans to create
a similar business model in the Middle East.
know the counsellor
will bring a level of
PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL ACAC