By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fifty-five percent of private school counselors’ time is spent on college counseling contrasted with 23% of the hours public school counselors spend helping kids applying to college.

The average student to counselor ratio is 459:1.

Eric Felix knew little about college growing up, but was lucky enough to get help. Now an admissions counselor at the University of San Diego, he and two colleagues started Open Access, a website that provides one-to-one college counseling at no charge through Skype.

Students sign up for three half-hour sessions about six weeks apart, focusing on testing and deadlines; basics of financial aid; writing a personal statement; thoughts on commuting or leaving home, and creating lists of schools to consider.

While there are other websites about applying and paying for college, most viewers remain passive. Talking with your counselor, and seeing her/him on the screen seems to be just what low-income kids really need to decide to move ahead.

Read more in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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