Former Dean of Admissions Lee Stetson, whose 29-year tenure at Penn ended with an abrupt resignation last semester, is starting his own college consulting company, to the surprise of the admissions community.
The company - called Stetson College Advisory - will work with "colleges and universities in evaluating their admissions programs, advising selected high-school students regarding the college search process and conducting searches for secondary schools," according to the description posted on the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions's Web site, which lists Stetson as a faculty member.
While the status of the company remains vague, the domain name for its Web site - stetsoncollegeadvisory.com - was reserved Dec. 9, 2007, and is under construction.
Although moving into consulting is a normal career move for retired admissions deans - and something Stetson had expressed interest in - admissions experts reacted with shock when told of Stetson's new venture.
Consultants said that Stetson's curiously hasty departure from Penn at the beginning of a school year may concern potential clients.
"If I were a parent hiring him, I'd want to know" why he left, admissions consultant Michele Hernandez said.
Stetson resigned in late August, and both he and the University have repeatedly refused to provide an explanation as to why he left. Penn President Amy Gutmann has only said that his departure was in the "best interests" of both Stetson and the University.
Admissions consultant Steve Goodman said that Stetson would need to come clean about his reasons for leaving Penn before being embraced in the consulting community.
Other admissions experts called into question Stetson's move to consulting, citing possible ethical concerns.
Goodman said Stetson should clarify the way in which he plans to run his firm, saying that consulting for both universities and college applicants could present a conflict of interests.
"The best admissions officers tend to focus on either one or the other side of the table," Goodman said.
Hernandez also warned that under the ethical guidelines of college admissions, Stetson must not take advantage of the connections he had built up with admissions offices during his tenure at Penn in helping his students.
University spokeswoman Lori Doyle wrote in an e-mail that it was unlikely that Penn would hire Stetson as a consultant now that Eric Furda is taking over as the new admissions dean.
Stetson also appears slated to teach in June at the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions, a collaboration between the College Board and Harvard University that organizes a meeting of industry officials to talk about trends in college admissions.
Stetson was on campus Tuesday night for a meeting of the Friars Senior Society; he was named an honorary member of the group in 1999.Comments powered by Disqus
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