Why Hire a College Admissions Consultant? Can't I do this myself?
College admissions coaches have expertise in the college admissions/applications process. Just as one hires an interior designer, landscape architect, or personal trainer to provide expert assistance, one may hire an independent educational consultant to assist with this monumental and long-term process.
While one can certainly undertake college admissions independently, a qualified expert offers guided, structured planning and execution. It's a specialty service available for those who view it as beneficial.
Do College Admissions Consultants Use Connections/Insider Information to "Guarantee" College Acceptances?
No! It's unethical to use "connections" on behalf of a particular student. It's also disingenuous to imply that there are secrets to acceptance, offer guarantees, or claim special, insider knowledge.
College admissions is straightforward and, while effective strategies absolutely exist, the most crucial element is superior planning and sustained, focused effort. To that end, an effective educational consultant assists with keeping students on track.
Are My Chances at Ivy-League Acceptance Increased by Hiring a College Admissions Coach?
College admissions coaching does not guarantee acceptance to a prestigious college/university. Effective college admissions consulting is about exploring life options, expanding possibilities, smoothly transitioning from home to a more independent existence, and gaining entry into one, of numerous, best-fit institutions!
Acceptance to particular institutions is based on a lifetime of learning which includes: overall GPA, strength of coursework, depth and breadth of extracurricular involvement, standardized test scores, college essays, interviews, etc.
While college admissions consultants present multiple options, most clients secure services during the end of junior year--after a substantial academic history has already been established.
Factors beyond students' control also exist. Colleges seek a diverse class.
Individuals from various ethnic/racial, socio-economic, regional, international, and talent/interest-based backgrounds are sought to form a multi-faceted, diverse entering cohort. In addition, a certain percentage of spots are reserved for legacy, transfer, and mature students (over 25 years of age).
With limited available spots at ivy-league and other competitive institutions, even the best, most talented students will sometimes face rejection through demographics alone.
There are only so many available spaces, and not all outstanding students will attend Harvard, Yale, or Princeton!
The question of true relevance is: What value will a degree have personally and professionally upon graduation to a particular student?
What Justifies the Cost of a Coach?
College admissions consultants are indeed a diverse group. The field is still a highly unregulated with some, unfortunately, possessing minimal educational/professional qualifications.
Look for affiliation with the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a Master's Degree (or above) in Counseling, Education, or closely related field, the Certified Educational Planner credential (there are currently only 200+ in the U.S.), and a significant number of years of experience in higher educational settings.
Do not fall for savvy marketing techniques, false promises, ridiculously exorbitant rates based on scare tactics, promises of imparting "college secrets", dubious guarantees, or advertised success rates.
College admissions coaches are generally not current college students, tutors, or former business/marketing executives, attorneys, or journalists. They are seasoned counseling/educational professionals, with years of relevant experience, and educational credentials as well as a documented, sustained commitment to providing exemplary student services.
A $5,000 package for 1-2 years of multiple, in-person sessions, including unlimited access to email/phone/web follow-up for prescribed periods, are bargains when one considers the cost of just one college course at a private institution.
(An hourly rate of $300/hour is consistent with what counselors/coaches/psychologists in the tri-state area charge.
Excellent consultants :
Impart valuable information, set goals/deadlines, interpret interest/personality inventories, counsel, motivate, and inspire.
Assist with essay development, proofread, and ensure essays are well-written and highlight the student's unique essence.
Clearly outline their services in the form of a written contract and address issues of confidentiality.
Are reliable, professional, and readily available to students and their families.
College admissions consultants have assisted families with securing scholarships based on thoughtful, well-written essays and the savvy selection of best-fit colleges, netting families thousands of dollars in real savings.
For many students, the benefit of personalized, one-on-one counseling cannot be overstated.