Anne Tergesen

I recently wrote an article for BusinessWeek about consultants who charge astronomical sums--in some cases, as much as the cost of a full year’s tuition, room and board-—for advising on the college admissions process. There are many reasons for the growing popularity of these counselors, who were retained by an estimated 22% of this year's crop of freshmen at private, four-year colleges, according to the Independent Educational Consultants Association. One reason is simply that as the number of high school graduates has grown, from 2.46 million in 1994 to 3.15 million today, it's become that much harder to stand out in a crowd.

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