Education: College Bound, Without a Map

Students and parents say good advice is hard to find

To hear Marti Brewer tell it, the fact that she made it into the college she wanted is a small miracle. Although a good student, she decided she needed a special summer course to improve her chances. But the counseling office at her high school in Fayetteville, Ark., bungled the course application by reporting the wrong SAT scores. Fortunately she caught the mistake in time. Looking back on her experience from the safety of Rice University, the freshman-in-spite- of- it-all sighs, "Counselors are overwhelmed with duties. They don't know how to help."

Marti's lament is a common one among seniors now...