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Do you think I should seriously consider investing into a college admissions counseling company?

threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
For reference, I am currently a rising sophomore, within a Pre-IB curriculum, mixed with some APs, about to go into IBDP. I have been looking into college admissions counseling companies such as Opus College Prep, Empowerly, Bullseye Admissions, Collegewise, Ivywise, Ivycoach, Solomon Admissions Consulting, Kaplan, The Princeton Review, etc. to increase my chances of being admitted into top colleges/universities. Do you believe it is worth the time and/or money to seriously consider pursuing such a service? If you do think I should seriously consider it, which company(ies)/organization(s) do you think I should seek out? Please share your insight.
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Replies to: Do you think I should seriously consider investing into a college admissions counseling company?

  • PublisherPublisher 11892 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited August 12
    @threesapphires23:

    What do you think that an admissions counseling company can do for you ?

    Once you answer that question, then others may be able to offer you reasonable responses to your question.
    edited August 12
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  • threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @Publisher, perhaps they could help me increase my chances of admission at a top college/university, directly related to a major of biology or pre-med.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2810 replies48 threads Senior Member
    That’s a result you are looking for.

    What do you think they can actually do for you that you can’t?
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  • threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @RichInPitt, I was thinking maybe they could give me advice/guidance on something I never thought of or could not be accessible by a simple Google/Youtube search.
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  • me29034me29034 2256 replies116 threads Senior Member
    These services can be very expensive sometimes running several thousand dollars. Are your parents willing to hire one of these companies for you? It’s a lot of money and it sounds like you aren’t even sure exactly what they will do for you.
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  • threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @me29034, if my parents think it's the right avenue for me to get into my first-choice college/university, then I definitely think they would have no qualms about the decision, regardless of the associated cost. In terms of what they could do for me, I would think that they would be able to significantly increase my chances of being admitted to a top college/university by giving me wise words of advice and guidance.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11300 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    edited August 12
    I hired a private consultant for a few sessions with my eldest, who just graduated from college. She went to an LAC in Maine. She was hired for an extremely well paid job. Her fellow new hires attended two of the three, HYP. I found the consultant through word of mouth, locally. It was useful in some ways, but I didn't use a consultant with my youngest. I'm not sure it was worth what I paid, which was probably far less than a quarter of what you will pay with one of those companies. I personally think word of mouth is best.

    Hiring a college admissions company might help you get into a top school, but ultimately, what you do after college depends on who you are. Having been here for a long time now, I think it's very clear that no one needs one of those companies to get into a top school. They will happily take your money, but you can probably get into a great school without their help if you are already a strong applicant. If you aren't a strong applicant, using them won't help you.
    edited August 12
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  • threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @Lindagaf, you have made me reconsider my stance on college admissions counseling companies. It's just that I get "sucked in" whenever I see on one of those websites that their clients got into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. However, if I just have a strong academic record, excellent ECs, good LORs, well-written essays, and an overall strong college application, then I think that's really all I can/need to do in order to get into a top college/university.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11300 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    Understand too that if you are pre-med, admission to med school is very dependent on grades and MCAT score. Do you want to go to a very rigorous school where it might be tough to get top grades? That's worth considering. Also worth considering is that many students who think they are premed now change their minds about that path.

    Of course the ads are going to lure you. That's the plan. I know at least one of those companies, I think Ivy Coach, says they guarantee you will get into one of your top three choices. I don't think they tell you that they probably insist you apply to a safety school. So that's one of your choices, right? The advertising isn't so great if they say our client, singular, got into Harvard, but all of them got into State U.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6816 replies10 threads Senior Member
    What a really good counselor can do is help you craft a list of schools that would be a great fit. It sounds like you aren't interested in that part of the service.

    The other thing a good counselor can do is review your app in the context of the applicant pool for that school. Most have worked in admissions and can help you present yourself well. Most applicants think they have done an excellent job yet consultants often take a different view. Few folks have read thousands of apps and have that perspective.

    Overall, you will do better with someone who comes highly recommended than with a company and if you have clarity around your expectations for the process. Most consultants are quite expensive and will work with you over an extended period to ensure they know you well enough to give you good advice. You may be able to pay less for just a few services or sessions. Ultimately, this is a really personal decision. None of them, btw, can package you to be something you are not.
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  • mom2boys1999mom2boys1999 247 replies14 threads Junior Member
    edited August 12
    So we hired someone to help with our youngest. Based on the programs he is applying to and the sheer number of essays he is going to write/has starting writing, an editor and mentor is very helpful and greatly appreciated.

    Now I am probably pretty well qualified to help as I am a school counselor (in fact I calm actually his school counselor), but the struggle in the role blending is that difficulty in hearing from your mom the criticism of an edit. It just works better for us.

    I will also say that person has been tutoring him for his ACT. His composite went from 32 to 35. So I feel that was money well spent
    edited August 12
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  • threesapphires23threesapphires23 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @gardenstategal, thank you for your words of advice!!
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  • PublisherPublisher 11892 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited August 12
    @threesapphires23:

    If you are determined to attend college as a pre-med biology major, then I think that you may not need to hire a college consultant since you do not need the prestige of an elite college or university in order to apply to medical school.

    If your career goal was to be a management consultant with a top firm or to work on Wall Street as an investment banker, then a college consultant could be of more value to you.

    If you & your family are wealthy & you want someone knowledgeable to talk to before and during the college application process, then it is a personal decision.

    P.S. International students, however, can benefit greatly from hiring a college consultant.
    edited August 12
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  • dcats101dcats101 1 replies0 threads New Member
    @threesapphires23 I seriously consider hire a private counselor as well. I believe I have a pretty good profile but to get to top-rank school, I need someone else to help strategize my essays and applications. My parents feel the same way that spending a few thousand dollars to increase a chance to get to my dream school is worth it. The chance may be small but we do whaever we could to increase the that chance. We didn't take a summer vacation this year due to COVID, so we get to use our vacation money for this investment.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7921 replies39 threads Senior Member
    To answer your question. No!

    The companies will try to "brand" who you are and how your essays are laid out. Start looking online and you can do this yourself. Get good grades and do things you enjoy. With covid you need to be more creative for your application.

    A friend of ours does it professionally and a college counselor advisor for high school. She read our kids essays. Made a few suggestions. Gave us a list of schools that we already had. That's it.

    So.. Maybe a consult or two to give you a plan. But no one can get you into any college but you.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30948 replies199 threads Senior Member
    Back in the Stone Age, I worked for a college placement company that specialized in getting people into MBA programs. Yes, that company made good on its promise that every applicant would be admitted to at least one of the three institutions that it helped with applications for. What the company didn't tell anyone up front, was that they reserved the right to hand-pick that third institution, and they had an absolute safety for every level of applicant they worked with. Yes, the star applicants did get into top MBA programs, but every single one of those star applicants would have been able to do that on their own with the profile that they had. What those applicants got for their money was hand-holding and essay and LOR tweaking. To my mind, the mid-range and definitely-not-star applicants got a better deal as they received good counseling on the formation of their application list, and the comfort of knowing that they would be admitted to a decent if not marvelous MBA program thanks to the company's relationships with places that were auto-admit or nearly auto-admit for their stats.

    If you don't have the profile for your dream institution, no tweaking on the part of a placement business will get you admitted. If you do have the profile, and you can find a local person with good references and familiarity with your high school, then maybe it could benefit you. If your parents really don't want to have to think about this at all and would rather put the process into someone else's hands, that's also can be a good reason to find a counselor with strong local references. But truly, if you put the time into it yourself, there is expertise here you can access for free.

    Sit down with your parents and run the Net Price Calculators at the websites of your dream institution, your home-state public U, and a few other places that fall between those two. Get a notion of how much your undergraduate degree is likely to cost, and work on the ways your family can cover that cost. And go spend some time in the Pre-Med Forum here to find out about the pre-med and med school process. You need to be sure that every institution on your list, including your absolute safety, can get you where you want to go.
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