Chegg, known primarily for textbook rentals, has announced a live, online platform that will allow for college counseling services to be available to all students.
Chegg will use its InstaEDU service to connect students to a number of counselors, including alumni from the College Advising Corps, as well as college admissions officers from around the country and professionals who have experience at a number of universities as college counselors.
A study from the American School Counselor Association discovered that in the average high school there is one college counselor for every 471 students. In California, that ratio jumps to one counselor for every 945 students, according to the California Department of Education. And the Independent Educational Consultants Association reports that most private college counselors offer comprehensive packages that begin around $4,000 per child. This all means that many children, especially those from low-income backgrounds, do not get the help they need finding the right college.
The new service will offer students access to experienced college counselors at a rate of $24 per hour. As part of its launch, Chegg is offering two hours of free college counseling to the first 10,000 first-generation, low-income students who sign up through ImFirst.org. Those students who are not currently members are able to sign up for free to take advantage of the offer.
"The college admission process is competitive, confusing, and cumbersome. Public high school counselors often lack the time necessary to counsel students, creating an ongoing public demand for easy access to these important services," said Bob Patterson, former Director of Admission at Stanford and current Vice President of College Outreach at Chegg. "Our new counseling service opens the opportunity to all high school students and families nationwide, regardless of location or income, helping to level the playing field."
ImFirst.Org is an online community run by the nonprofit Center for Student Opportunity, offering support to first-generation, low-income students in their college search.
"We're excited to partner with Chegg to make college counseling more accessible to aspiring first-generation college students," said Matt Rubinoff, CSO's founder and Executive Director. "Through the partnership, we want students who lack a family history of higher education to know that college is possible; by using Chegg's counseling platform to its full potential, the admissions process becomes less intimidating and increases support for all students."
The service uses audio, video and text to allow students to converse with the counselors about a range of topics, including the admissions process and researching schools, and even allows students to upload their essays and applications for counselors to review.
Currently the service runs by appointment, but the company hopes to make counselors available on-demand in the future.