A Coffee with Jack Murphy



“Jack Murphy works as a college counselling consultant ...”

Jack Murphy works as a college counselling consultant involved with helping students and working with international schools from Boston to Korea and most places in between.  He has previously been interviewed by i-studentglobal and has also contributed an article on recruitment agents.

Hello Jack do you still like your coffee strong with a little milk?

Yes, but my work and various projects have resulted into consuming too much coffee. Juggling lots of different things, which is fascinating and fun, but also fatiguing.

I see that your role has changed since our last interview.  What are the main challenges in your new role?

My new “roles”, as I mentioned, are plentiful. It is a challenge to move from advising student-athletes at an independent school, to developing a college counseling program for Chinese and foreign students attending associated high schools throughout the US, to training and consulting with international schools abroad as of the VOCA program with Search Associates. VOCA stands for Visiting Overseas College Advising.

You were last interviewed in 2012 and at that time you were concerned about the ethics in college counselling.  Is that still the case?

I think “ethics” will always be an issue that I take very seriously. College and University Admission is, for the most part, an honourable field populated by wonderful professionals who care about the future of young people. However, like many competitive endeavours and industries, there is some greed creep, corruption, manipulation and dishonesty.  Fortunately, most dishonest practices are evident and steps are being taken to correct unethical activity in the process of foreign student recruitment and higher education admission.

Ethics are obviously a strong issue for you with your background in teaching and football coaching.  Where do you think students learn their ethics, is it a cultural or family issue?

The simple debate might centre around a nature vs nurture argument but I am likely to blame another source.  The student, ironically, is usually not the source of an ethical problem. It is more about a bad partnership or marriage between ambitious families and greedy independent counselors and agents.  I feel strongly that wealthy international families and want-to-be wealthy agents have far too much influence in college and university admission.