Do I need a college consultant?
A college consultant isn’t right for everyone, but is it right for you?
By NOELLE COMPTON
The college consultation industry has emerged throughout the past decade as a product of an increasingly competitive climate for college applications. But just as every student is not the ideal candidate for college, not every college-bound student requires the help of a consultant.
We have compiled criteria that we believe describes who could most benefit from a college consultant. If you find yourself reading through this list while thinking, “hey, that sounds like me,” then the answer could be yes! You might need a college consultant.
“College consulting is not only for the Ivy League-bound.”
Your high schooler wants to apply to Top-30 colleges.
College consulting is not only for the Ivy League-bound. The Top-30 list is home to a number of public universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and University of Virginia, all of which have steadily declining acceptance rates. Similarly, schools such as Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Johns Hopkins have become top choices among the best students, as they outrank some of the Ivies.
In 2019, acceptance rates dropped to 4.5% at top schools for the first time ever, a trend that reflects today’s competition. Consider the University of Chicago, which accepted 2,137 of its 34,648 applicants (that’s slightly over 6%) for the class of 2023. Among its admitted students, the average SAT score was in the 98th percentile, and the average GPA was 4.0. In other words, a student wanting to attend the University of Chicago must have nearly perfect scores and a nearly perfect GPA just to be considered.
But think about a lesser known school, like Washington University in St. Louis. While it accepts up to 15% of its students, about 25% of their admitted students reported perfect ACT scores in one or more sections. The average GPA was 3.92. Currently, Washington University is ranked #19 by US News.
If your student is academically competitive with sights toward the Top-30 schools, then exceptional scores and grades are only the starting point. On top of these things, your student will need a compelling extracurricular profile, corroborating documents and recommendations, and perfectly unique and sophisticated essays to match. A college consultant is an expert in all of these items and can be just the person to help your high-achiever reach their dreams.
You haven’t recently gone through the admissions process.
The college application process is difficult and confusing all on its own. There are several types of applications, like early-decision, early-action, and regular admissions. There are deadlines, essays, recommendations, and transcripts for each of the multiple schools your student is applying to, even if they are relatively accessible, high-acceptance-rate schools. This is enough to make someone’s head spin, but there’s more.
The college application strategy is one that is evolving constantly, even from year to year. Moreover, it is evolving from college to college, as well. While one school may appreciate a well-rounded approach, other schools prefer students with razor-sharp focus. Some schools appreciate quirky kids, while for others, the pretentious approach actually works better. Some schools may have departments that are saturated, resulting in a lower acceptance rate, but by applying to a similar-yet-different major, your student can significantly increase their odds of admissions.
If you happen to have a student who underwent college admissions last year, then you might be in a good position to handle admissions with your current knowledge. But if you are relying on the experience that you, as a parent, had while applying to colleges, don’t be surprised to learn that admissions are a whole different beast now. For a college consultant, this knowledge is critical to maintain and puts us in the best position to help your student.
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Meet with Alex one-on-one via video chat to talk about your son/daughter’s admissions plan. Afterwards, receive a no-obligation Customized College Roadmap (CCR) with advice on courses, extracurricular activities, standardized tests, and Admissions Angle strategy.
You don’t have the time to ensure quality control.
For a college consultant, your student’s application is a full time job. Most students who come to The Admissions Angle are planning to apply to anywhere from 10-20+ colleges and for each of these applications, the school will want to see several essays. And while there are patterns among these essays, they are not one-size-fits-all. For the “why do you want to go to our school” essays, each one will need to be wholly unique.
It is the job of a college consultant, among other things, to help brainstorm each of these essays to be maximally competitive, read them and offer guidance, and provide critical edits at the end. A startling percentage of students would have sent essays to Columbia in which they forgot to edit out the part that says Brown from a sloppy copy and paste error, if it weren’t for us. Trust us when we say that there are very few students applying to schools who can handle this task on their own.
The vast majority of American households are dual income, with two working parents. If this describes your household, then a college consultant can help give your students’ applications the attention they need to ensure the best chance of success.
You are the parent of a headstrong high schooler.
In any household, there are bound to be disagreements. But throughout the stress of college applications, we have observed countless conflicts among parents and their students regarding both decisions and workload.
First, students and parents often have disagreements about which schools to apply to. Sometimes, parents have unrealistic expectations for where their student can be accepted. Other times, the student has their heart set on a liberal arts education, while their parents always envisioned them at a large state school. And still other times, the student wants to try out different strategies while their parents prefer a streamlined approach. A college consultant can help mitigate these conflicts by acting as a voice of authority and experience, thus eliminating conflicts based on differences of opinion.
Second, the college admissions process happens to occur alongside the intense academic workload of senior year. Every student, no matter how dedicated, will procrastinate at some point. Almost every student will have at least one mild meltdown, where it all feels like too much. While the consultant cannot always be there to motivate the student to action, they can act as an extra voice to support, uplift and, when necessary, offer the necessary push. In our experience, this can save parents a ton of grief.
Is a college consultant right for my student?
A college consultant is not necessary for every student, but we believe that every family can benefit from an initial consultation, where we can discuss your expectations and see if we’re a good fit. Whether you meet the above criteria or not, we’d love to hear from you.