As G5052 points out -- often students are badly misadvised by community colleges. Sadly, we see them come in all the time, they want to be "a math teacher", and they have taken nothing but college algebra because the CC advisor kept telling them to just get their gen eds done and the 4-year would take care of the rest. It is frustrating.
I suppose it at least makes me feel better knowing it's not just pre-med advisers who give our incredibly wrong info - all in a "misery loves company" sort of way I guess.
In reality, I wish we could trust counselors, esp paid counselors, to do their job correctly!
I would venture a guess that most counselors in our state are good at knowing what is required to get into our state's flagship. Probably aware of what is necessary at some of the regional state schools as well for those who can't get into the flagship. That is where most students will attend if they attend at all - in-state public universities. Our particular area is unique with its affluence situated in an otherwise pretty poor state, so the local schools probably do okay with their knowledge beyond our borders and into the private school realm. However, even where the knowledge is solid, there is nowhere NEAR the breadth of information that is on here or on CC. That's the benefit of the Hive - of any hive. Lots of people with lots of experiences from lots of different places. It would be impossible for a single individual to have the collective knowledge one could get here - especially about particular schools in places very far removed geographically. No one is going to have inside knowledge/experience about so many different schools, no matter how good of a GC they are. BUT, a public school counselor should know the basics beyond funneling kids into the closest university. They should be willing and able to do the legwork to research other options when students want to look at those. Understand the Common App, the CSS profile, the need for Subject Teats, etc. Even if the need of that knowledge isn't applicable to all students.
I agree, and this is what seems to be lacking right now in my school. It's why I'm quite tempted to volunteer my time next year, but I also have to figure out if I can considering family health issues and our travel.
I think, at this point, if I wanted any sort of full time job, this might actually be it (over teaching - though I'd still tutor some on the side). It bothers me considerably that so many are being let down.
With kids vs parents and researching... I agree in a way that they should be able to come up with more than they do - esp those in privileged settings. Too many of those just plain assume they know enough without looking or have some sort of false belief in what they think will happen because they are "special."
However, akin to The Glass Castle or Hillbilly Elegy (both autobiographical books), way too many first gen college students (and their parents) don't realize they can step up into this world. They know it's out there and theoretically possible, but in a way are more or less too afraid to google or just plain assume it's complicated and not for them (or their kids). They honestly need handholding and reassuring that they are, indeed, as capable as the next student (often more). They need reminding to get things done, to get essays reviewed, to not wait until the last minute and for them, it's not pure procrastination. It's a segment of fear and not wanting to be disappointed if they dare have some hope. It seems pretty surreal to them - totally the opposite of the special snowflake lack of knowledge or procrastinating type.
Considering my county only has less than 25% of adults with a college degree - and most of them aren't in my school district (as they're associated with Gettysburg College and or hospitals, or commuters to MD to work, etc, and aren't as common in my district) - I see quite a few of the first gens and not so many of the special snowflakes.