WLAA Author Spotlight: Longtime Ann Arbor school counselor is enjoying his second career as college coordinator, author

John B. Boshoven isn’t a dream-maker – he would probably cringe at the suggestion – but he does help create a path for young people in Ann Arbor who are either following a dream or searching for the best, self-fulfilling and practical avenue to adulthood.

Boshoven currently serves as co-chair of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Counseling Department where he helps plan and deliver professional development to 35 plus  middle and high school counselors. He also is the College Coordinator, where he plans and delivers parent, student and family programs such as the College Fair for Students Who Learn Differently, GAP Year Fair, the annual College and Career Fair and outreach programs for families.

And if that isn’t enough, Boshoven serves as an independent college counselor, counseling hundreds of families about college and university possibilities. And he’s an author – we will get to that.  

Boshoven retired from Community High in Ann Arbor in June 2018 where he was a counselor and worked in College Counseling and individual and group counseling.

And while he “retired” from Community High, Boshoven has been keeping busy in his new role. “For college counseling, I help students and families consider areas of study, costs of college and how to search and research for the best college fit. I make suggestions for college that meet the students/family criteria, such as style, location, size, feel and admissability. I also help with GAP year planning, college essay preparation, and scholarships.”

Boshoven, who was born and raised in Grand Rapids, attended the University of Michigan and earned three degrees – a Bachelors in Political Science and History and credentials from the School of Education for secondary teaching; Masters in Education Guidance and Counseling; and a Masters in Social Work.

His impressive resume includes stops with a Christian youth organization, the National Institute for Burn Medicine, The University of Michigan Medical Center, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and the Ann Arbor Public Schools – where he was a counselor at Clague and Slauson middle schools and Community High School for 21 years.

Considering a college is a huge decision in a young person’s life. There are many variables that go into finding that right fit at the right time for the right person. And students and parents making the rounds to various campuses need to consider a long list of factors.

“Does the college have the programs the student may be looking for,” says Boshoven. “How often might he or she want to come home? What difference does the size of college make? Often private colleges can be less expensive than state schools, would they consider checking those out as well?”

And cost is a huge component. Paying for that elite education often comes with a huge price tag – and years (decades?) of being in debt.

“I am not a financial advisor, but the cost of college is an important consideration, and it is a part of our meetings consistently,” says Boshoven. “Also, does the student know of the parents’ ability/willingness to pay for college? It can be an ‘unspoken’ topic that needs to be talked about.”

Boshoven, who is the past director of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and past president of the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling, recently wrote a book to help students and their parents deal with choosing the right college.      

“Solving the College Admissions Puzzle,” is a guide for students and families about college selection, essay writing and high-stake testing. Now in its third edition, the book earned a Gold Global Ebook Award. It was written by Boshoven along with Debbie E. Merion and Geraldine Markel.

“Dr. Markel is my writing inspiration,” Boshoven says. “She told me years ago, ‘people want to remember what you told them, so giving them a book is helpful for their recall.’ As a seasoned author, she nudged me into participating in this fun project.”

Boshoven says, “books don’t make money, but serve as a more permanent record of our message.”

And he likes the way his “message” turned out.

“I really like the practical nature of our book,” he says. “It’s not a serious tone of deep thought, but rather a hands-on guide to making better sense of the many steps in successfully applying to college. The worksheets, the ‘workbook’ style and soft cover makes it a book families can take along and treat as a companion.

“Hopefully, our book gives people a sense that the college application process can be handled with confidence. It’s not a life or death matter, but rather an important next step in the life of a student and family.”

The book is available on Amazon

Authors Debbie E. Merion, Geraldine Markel and John Boshoven.