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Have you used a private admission consultant, if so what is your experience?

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Replies to: Have you used a private admission consultant, if so what is your experience?

  • pdwm56pdwm56 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    We used a very private consultant for our elder daughter and it was a very helpful. This lovely woman works as a college counselor for a catholic girls high school during the school year and in the summer does consulting. She is very affordable (she charged us $100 for a two hour consult plus follow up emails). She was able to direct our daughter to the schools that would offer merit aid and how much aid would be offered ($100K from each of the 5 schools she applied to). I've heard from other parents in our area that most consultants are quite expensive ($1250 or more). Our daughter chose an out of state school that offered her a generous scholarship but after a year she transferred to the UW where she is not only much happier, academically challenged, has a highly sought after internship and is writing for two news outlets.
  • windypoplarswindypoplars Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    edited April 18
    "DIY can achieve a lot and there seems to be consensus on CC that DIY is preferred over hiring private consultants, but how do you actually get honest assessment and good advice without consultants?"

    We went the DIY route. I asked some older moms who had great kids that landed good scholarships at good schools for guidance. They told me they read the book "Admission Matters." For someone who was clueless about the current college landscape when the time drew close for our kid to apply, "Admission Matters" was a helpful crash course. It helped demystify the process. I didn't rely entirely on it, of course, but it did cover a lot from how to select colleges to how to apply to how to navigate financial aid. I made sure to get the latest edition because things change from year to year. We ended up with good results for our kids.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 51,673 Senior Member
    edited April 18
    @collegemomjam - there was a blatant ad in the post above my comment in #234 that is now gone. You apparently missed it and therefore misinterpreted my comment, responding with your retort. @lookingforward saw the blatant ad (complete with email address/link to their website) and her response indicates so. Advertising is not allowed on cc. Given the blatant tr0lling for clients that the advertiser was doing, my post was extremely polite! And it wasnt to you. I was returning to topic and responding to your neuroscience comment.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,009 Senior Member
    @jym626 thanks, yes I apparently missed the post that was deleted! Now it all makes sense!!! Thanks for clarifying.
  • AS2017AS2017 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    @dragonmom3 What did your kids think about UCB and Vanderbilt? Mine needs to chose between the two.
  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    @AS2017 Money aside, Vandy wins hands down.
    Campus, surrounding city, class size, career services, balance of work and fun......
    Our experience is that UCB for undergrad is vastly over-rated.
    Many people disagree, but a good number of those have never even set foot on the campus....
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,009 Senior Member
    @AS2017 I don't know much about either school, but isn't one pretty liberal and the other pretty conservative? They both have fabulous reputations and so much to offer, but it might come down to "fit". Academically, I don't think you could go wrong with either one.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 882 Member
    edited April 20
    I'm not a Cal alumnus, but many of my friends and relatives are. All loved it. One of them is currently a sophomore and loves it as well. He plays a D1 sport and we're on the campus all the time during his season. And we have dinner out after his games. World class restaurants. I also have another relative who graduated Columbia and lived in NY for many years, but bought a home and moved his family to Berkeley. His wife, a native NY'er, love Berkeley. A wonderful campus built in to the hills, but not without its faults.

    I have not been to Vandy, but hear it's wonderful too. Being from CA, the whole Southern feel might be a turnoff for some as I understand it.
  • lalalander111lalalander111 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    Vanderbilt may be "less liberal" but is certainly not conservative.
    Maybe a little more civilized, though.
    Milo spoke on campus, for example, to and there was no blood or tear gas-just a few chanting protesters.
    My niece claims there were plenty of tears on election night, and conservatives in general lay low.
  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    edited April 20
    For my kids, the change in perspective they gained from the out of region experience was well worth any initial discomfort-weather as well as culture related.
    Most kids and families tend to stick with the familiar.
    It really depends on the individual.
  • hs2015momhs2015mom Registered User Posts: 668 Member
    We hired someone to work with my D on her common app essay, and paid about $1000. When we finally saw the essay – parents weren’t allowed to until the student and consultant thought it was done – it was clear that the help had been worth it. The essay passed the backpack test (if someone found a backpack on the street with this essay in it and no name attached, would they know who wrote it) in spades; I don’t think another kid on the planet could have written it, it was so specific to her. Some magic was worked in helping my D to summon those thoughts and connections and get them on paper.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,009 Senior Member
    @hs2015 that sounds great. I think some essay people are fabulous, for exactly the reasons you mention. But some are not...I know of one girl that hired an essay person that cost about $300 per hour and the parents were NOT happy because the essay didn't sound like her at the end. And, not sure if this is a coincidence or not, but she changed her essay mid-application cycle and did better with the old essay than the new (as best as we could compare apples to apples). So definitely do your research and ask around. Save the name of your essay person because he/she sounds wonderful.

    Just to give more details, the essay was on why she wanted to be a biomedical engineering major. The new essay was just very dry and had too much "science" in it. So it was probably well thought out and logical, but it just wasn't interesting. The first essay was much more personal and less technical, for what it's worth.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,755 Senior Member
    Ha-ha, I worked with a PhD candidate this year whose essays were "too dry", and I tried to get him to loosen up a bit. His revision had a bit more personality it in, but was definitely still his voice. :-)
  • bma1212bma1212 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    We did not use a counselor because S was at a private school that worked with him on his common app essay, which was frankly really good. However, in retrospect, I think he would have done better if he had had more feedback on his school specific essays and on how to make them sound appealing to each school.

    He got into those schools that only used the common app as well as U Chicago which had a quirky essay he enjoyed but was rejected at HYP and a couple of less prestigious schools that had very specific "why do you want to come here" essays.

    For D, I plan to hire someone specifically to help with this.
  • HarvardinaHarvardina Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Does anyone know where's a good place to look for *reputable* private admissions consultants? My daughter is a rising senior this summer, and we're starting the application process (she's very focused on going to an Ivy League school).

    Not sure if we'll go the private admissions coach route, but I wouldn't mind talking to a few people just to see, but I hate the idea of just randomly googling for someone!
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