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Hiring a College Counselor?

nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
Hi everyone,

I'm a rising senior, and my parents want to hire a college counselor to help me with college apps because they want me to go to an Ivy League school. I really don't have a problem with that, I'll take all the help I can get, but my only issue is that this counselor costs more than a year of instate tuition at UCLA.

My parents philosophy is that if they can afford it, then it's investing in my education and I should use the resources I have to create the best application I can. This is great and all, but I just think it's way too much money. I know that this counselor would help me a lot, I just can't personally justify the price even though my parents already have.

What should I do? I have until June 30th to either convince my parents that I don't need a counselor and save a LOT of money, or accept the fact that my parents are using their money to help advance my education.
edited June 11
22 replies
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Replies to: Hiring a College Counselor?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 29391 replies170 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 29,561 Senior Member
    No one can guarantee your admission to an Ivy League institution. Do your parents know that? Are they happy to shell out this amount of money and have you end up with no admissions except at a CSU or CCC? Because yes, that does indeed happen sometimes.

    What, exactly, do you know about the track record for this specific counselor? Does the person have a lot of experience working with students from your high school who have an academic record like yours? If so, where were those students admitted in the past two or three years?

    What would you want help with when applying? Making your list? Fine-tuning your essays?
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  • aizel123aizel123 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    college life is very important part of our life. This life is enjoying the every person. such a amazing life .....
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    @happymomof1 yes my parents are aware that there are really no gaurantees, but they chose this person because 90% of the students who he counseled went to an ivy league. And they say that even if I get I'm nowhere, at least I'll have tied my best and are perfectly ok with me going to a community college for two years and hen transferring to a uc.

    And I love that they're so supportive, I just cant wrap my head around the fact that they're willing to drop so much money on something that I really could do on my own.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32713 replies350 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,063 Senior Member
    edited June 11
    It's a little late in the game to hire a counselor to do more than help you answer the application questions. At this point, they can't influence course choices, ECs or your role in them, and more.

    If they promise (or write misleading ads that imply) they can get you into a tippy top, run in the opposite direction.

    Otoh, a good one will understand which colleges are the better targets. Maybe it's not Columbia.

    If you believe you can be doing this on your own, you should be doing this, right now. Not waiting. You need to understand the flavor of a college (all your targets,) what matters to them and what not, the traits they want to see in you, how to convey that, etc.

    A counselor getting 90% into Ivies is likely hogwash, unless those kids were superior, with outstanding/perfect full holistic records through hs, to begin with. Or, are in one of the exclusive prep schools that groom thier kids from day one of 9th. (Or sooner.)

    Even so, I can't imagine 90%. Was it "Ivy" or "one of their top choices?" That latter is often misleading. It doesn't even mean a top college, it's a reworking of directions.

    If you get a counselor, it should be the right one for you.

    And not all charge exhorbitant fees, for just the application support.
    edited June 11
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  • MWolfMWolf 1226 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    I would be very leery of anybody who makes claims that "90% of the students I counseled went to an Ivy League college!". Here is the fact - the only category of kid for which there is consistently a higher than 50% chance of being accepted to a college with low rates of acceptance are kids of very rich donors and recruited athletes. Neither need or use counselors to any real extent. So, either these counselors are ONLY advising kids who are the candidates for Ivies with the highest chances, i.e., kids who are legacies AND minorities AND athletes AND at the top 1% in their class, OR they are lying/playing fast and loose with facts.

    So, I can pretty much assure you that, if this counselor is claiming that 90% of the kids they counseled went to an Ivy, AND they agree to work with you, they are scamming your parents out of $13,000. Based on your stats and profile, you are a pretty competitive applicant. However, there is absolutely no legal way anybody can make sure that 90% of all candidates like you will be accepted to an Ivy, or anything even remotely close to that percentage. For $13,000, there is no illegal way either.

    If the counselor tells you that 90% of their clients are happy with the colleges which they ended up attending, that is something else.

    In any case, with your profile, you do not need a counselor, unless you want some help in, as @happymomof1 wrote, fine-tuning essays, etc.
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    @lookingforward and @MWolf my parents also understand that I might not get into an ivy league college even with counseling and they are still fine with paying the money. I agree that at this point, there's really nothing I can do besides write essays. I just don't know how to convince my parents that I don't need help, cause they're pretty set on hiring this person.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1226 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    edited June 11
    @nomood The worry is that, if your parents believe that the consultant is a magician and indeed has a 90% Ivy acceptance rate, they may blame you if, as most likely will happen, you are not accepted at an Ivy.

    What you need to convince your parents is not that you don't need help, but that this consultant does not have a 90% chance of getting you an Ivy acceptance, and that they're wasting their money, if that's what they believe. It may be that they are misunderstanding the consultant (the consultant could have said something like "90% success rate in getting students in top colleges, including Ivies"), or that the consultant is scamming them.

    Ask your parents what they think that a college counselor will do that will help you get into an Ivy league college. If there were a college counselor in California who legitimately had a 90% success rate at placing students in Ivy League colleges for $13,000, do they really think that rich entitled Southern California parents would be paying $300,000, and committing fraud, to get into USC?

    If they really want to help you, then you should find somebody who will help you with writing. While a B+ in AP Lang Comp isn't a bad grade at all, it mans that a bit more work or writing will be a useful thing, not only for your college essay, but for your college life in general. I don't think that you actually NEED it, but, if they are insisting on paying money of something that will help your college, you may as well go with something like that.
    edited June 11
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    edited June 11
    @MWolf my parents have said that they won't blame me and are completely fine with me going to a uc though. And I checked out their website and they do look really legit, and I even emailed one of their past students and they were really happy with it. I don't think it's a scam, I just think that I can get into a uc on my own, and sure with their help I might get into an ivy but honestly I'd rather go to a uc. I just need to convince my parents

    And I actually got an a- this semester in AP Lang!!!! Really proud of myself :).
    edited June 11
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    @socaldad2002 thanks for all the advice!! :)
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5017 replies64 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,081 Senior Member
    edited June 11
    The absolute top ranked counselor in our area, offices right next to Brown University and 3 prestigious day schools -where she is a must hire - is only $4900 total. That’s for the full package starting as early as freshman year!

    She recommends to start as freshman or sophomore summer before junior year as the latest for the full pay.

    It includes one on one coaching, an essay writing seminar with all her candidates and very close monitoring of applications, dates and requirements.

    For rising senior candidates, she only offers the senior “cram” package.

    It is only $2500 and offers all of the things below except the planning, class selection and narrowing choices etc.

    In our case as an FYI for rising junior d at the time, basically told my val 1530 level rock star the reality of H’s and other too non ivy admissions and D left in tears.

    It wasn’t to dissuade her or not help craft the h and other applications but the expectations were laid out accordingly.

    There’s no ivy assurances for anyone outside of athlete recruits and z lister types.

    This advisor mandates school visits in a wide swath of types and selectivity before discussing any schools.

    The advisor has an incredible history of delivering well prepared applications and results. She does not deliver Ivy League.

    To say otherwise is a lie.

    What you are paying for is ridiculously expensive and sounds like they are taking advantage of your parent's generosity, naïveté, and love for you.

    Ask around school. Do some google searching locally.

    Only select a local advisor in your community that has a reputation to protect and verified experiences with people you know. Ask for some references.
    edited June 11
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Thanks for all the help everyone, I'll talk to my parents and see what I can do.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5017 replies64 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,081 Senior Member
    edited June 11
    If you want I can dm you the website for this person - not to hire (wrong coast for you) but to see the pricing and the list and depth of the services and acceptances etc.


    It might help you with your parents to compare.

    The prices and packages are right there to compare against what you’ve been shown.

    Many of these services are t even the person who sells you the package.

    The one we used, you don’t get an assistant or student with this person. It’s her and her alone. She does have a writing professor on staff to help lead the essay conversations and seminar.

    I just think 13k for you at this time is outrageous.
    edited June 11
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  • OneMoreKidOneMoreKid 45 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    If one has the qualifications to be considered for an Ivy League institution then they should be able to gain entrance on their own without a counselor. There's also the perceived-prestige vs. best-fit factor.
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Hey everyone, looks like talking to my parents was a no-go. Guess I'll be using this college counselor for my applications. :(
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    @eyemgh that's what I'm trying to explain to my parents, but they aren't listening. And it turned out to be all for nothing anyway, because as soon as I brough it up again, they said that they already paid.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5524 replies120 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,644 Senior Member
    They are just looking out for you, but some parents are invested in the vicarious achievement of being able to say their kid went to brand X. You could ask them what they hope to achieve. If it's long term financial success, you can go through the analysis of having a degree from say UCB and the difference invested. If they want you to be financially successful, they will find the numbers staggering. If they gave you the difference and you invested it at average stack market returns you'd have a Berkeley degree AND $2,000,000. So the question is, would it be wise to go even if you did got in?
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  • nomoodnomood 101 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    @eyemgh Im really not sure, but I guess for now I'll just let it be.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1145 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,167 Senior Member
    " If they want you to be financially successful, they will find the numbers staggering. If they gave you the difference and you invested it at average stack market returns you'd have a Berkeley degree AND $2,000,000."

    Not a big fan of this type of analysis. IMO, college is MUCH more than a monetary return on investment (ROI). If you really wanted to save money you could go to a community college, as a junior you transfer to your cheapest local university/college, live at home, never study abroad, never eat out, or join a club or sorority/fraternity, etc. and save and invest all of that money. As a ROI, probably a "good idea". As an enjoyable full college experience, a very bad idea. Remember you can lose money investing in the stock market (hello 2001, 2008) and your "$2,000,000" return will take 30+ years to accumulate, will be taxed (in most states both by the feds and state) and won't have the same purchasing power (inflation) as if you had that money in today's dollars. A degree and the education you get from a top college can never be taken away.
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