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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?

  • ChrchillChrchill 1004 replies25 threads Senior Member
    @hebegebe I agree and will go further. Based what has been going on in tippy tops in the last two three years, I am increasingly of the view that you are not only not helped by going there, but (unless you are from a super rich extensive donor family) you are better off coming from a great publiic for admissions. The fact is that the elite colleges want every conceivable kind of diversity. Askid from a tippy top is presumed to be non diverse economically and otherwise, and will be competing with a narrow demographic for fewer and fewer seats at the elite.
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  • keiekeikeiekei 132 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @collegemomjam
    Really? So do you really think that going to a school like Exeter (vs. a run of the mill average public school?) makes it no easier for a student to get in to an Ivy and that it's a "myth" that MANY (I never said all) parents are expecting a better shot at an Ivy?
    You are asking two questions there. Let me start with the second one, which is easier: actually, we are in agreement that many parents are expecting a better shot at the Ivy. The thing that is, IMO, a myth, is that this better shot exists (sorry I didn't make clearer which assertion I believe is a myth).

    As to the first question: I would restrict the scope of the "easier to get in" claim to kids who are unhooked (it may in fact be easier to get in as a legacy, I don't know). I'm sure there are cases where this or that unhooked kid (UK) gets into a top school (let's say HYP) coming out of an elite boarding school (EBS), and that same UK probably wouldn't have gotten in coming out of a public HS or regional private school. And if you graduate top of your class at Exeter or Andover, but just have "standard strong" ECs, I'm sure you stand a much better chance of admission at HYP than an unhooked valedictorian at 99% of American HSs.

    But I would say there is an equal or greater number of UKs who did great at an EBS, but find themselves crowded out of HYP by the sheer number of hooked applicants and those with insanely great recognition (IMO gold, TASP, etc.) from said EBS. So when you look at the school profile for an EBS and see they send double digits to each of HYP on a yearly basis, this is not any guarantee that it would be easier for your UK to get into HYP with an EBS transcript.

    In fact it might be easier to get into HYP applying from a quality regional school that hasn't had an admittee in half a decade or more. Clearly, these days highly selective colleges are interested in appearing less blue-blood, if not less elite. Looking at Andover's latest school profile, I see that the class of 2016 (296 students) had a total of 43 matriculants to HYPS, or 14.5% of the class. The figures for 2015 (322 students) were 47 matriculants, again 14.5% of the class. If you back out the hooks and those with insanely great recognition, how many got in? I would say that group is quite small, and fitting into that group is probably at least as difficult (on average) as getting in from some no-name suburban HS.
    Maybe these are the "suckers" you are talking about, but I know of some parents that are still devastated and distraught by the fact that last year their kids (with Ivy stats, but so many kids have Ivy stats...) had to settle for schools like U Chicago, Georgetown, and Northwestern and how unfair it was that their kids didn't get in to Wharton, Princeton, and the like.
    Those are exactly the people who get played by the myth that going to an EBS will improve their odds.
    Yes, they were unhooked. But there were unhooked kids from their schools that "got the spots"...for whatever reason.
    Therein lies the rub: whatever could mean a lot of things. There could be hooks other people don't know about, or insanely great accomplishments others don't know about.
    But these parents all had special meeting with their GC's the day after the ED/SCEA results were released....they marched right in to guidance and demanded answers. In these cases, they were expecting different results, for sure.
    The GCs can probably set their watches by these meetings every April. They should have a section of their website devoted to prospective students: Don't be one of these parents in April of your child's senior year. But if they did that, maybe it would cut applications to EBSs in half, and then they couldn't claim single-digit admit rates themselves.
    I truly think the GC's in these top private schools make it their main goal to help these kids get in to top choices with nothing but good intentions. However, I do think that they only have so many "spots" that they can reasonably expect to get so if your child happens to not be one of the kids that doesn't get one, you might end up at a non-Ivy.
    In terms of academics, I think there could be a lot of great reasons for going to an EBS. You probably have opportunities you wouldn't have anywhere else, and you get to work and live with some truly amazing kids and faculty. If a family frames it like that, then going to one could be the right choice. But looking at the school profile and going bug-eyed at all the HYPS admits every year is not the way to frame it.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35227 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    There are many reasons kids get into a top prep or BS, not all about a tippy top college. Some stereotypes are starting to fly.

    A good prep GC isn't there to send "B" kids to a TT, but to find the right matches, same as we all should be. It's not a about control. Dig deeper.
    edited April 2017
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  • ChrchillChrchill 1004 replies25 threads Senior Member
    The question was about college admissions. There are numerous reasons to go to tippy tops privates and prep schools. That was not the issues.. Read better.
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5800 replies53 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @Chrchill. There was a fascinating article in the WSJ a few years back, but it reviewed which colleges accepted the various members of one senior class at Groton and what seemed pretty clear was that a lot of what got them into tippy-tops was also what got them into Groton (being Sid Bass's daughter, a fencer, ...). It appeared that going to Groton helped URMs because it validated to schools like Yale that the kid could manage the work at Groton and hence at Yale. But, the question for this thread was whether it helped to hire a private counselor (or test prep).

    I didn't have a positive experience with a private counselor. For test prep, we used the Xiggi method -- take as many actual tests as possible. If there was an area with problems, hire someone to help. For my dyslexic kid, we hired someone who explained what they were looking for in the grammar section of writing (now discontinued, I think), which helped him a lot. When he took GREs, he just did the Xiggi method. A number of other classmates were also taking the test and he commented to me that he didn't understand why they weren't working as hard as he was. Well, he worked hard and did extremely well.
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  • mom2andmom2and 3008 replies20 threads Senior Member
    28 kids matriculated into Harvard, 21 Princeton, and 33 into Yale from 2014-2016 at Exeter (according to their own stats).

    And the Harvard Crimson said this:
    In total, one out of every 20 Harvard freshmen attended one of the seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017—Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School.

    Certainly, going to one of those schools is not a guarantee of admission to Harvard or any other super elite school. However, it certainly appears that going to a top high school with competitive admissions makes a student much more likely to get into HYP or similar, especially if you are one of the best students. Exeter students also ended up at schools that are not that difficult to get into.
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  • ChrchillChrchill 1004 replies25 threads Senior Member
    These numbers used to be much higher 10-5 years ago. Note also that these schools are now also making a huge push into diversity.
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 4038 replies57 threads Senior Member
    @mom2and That's 82 out of over 1000. Many, many of the bottom 75% of Exeter's class may have had the stats to get into HYP if they were coming from another high school. But HYP are not going to admit a larger proportion from Exeter because they don't want them all coming from the same schools (like they used to). This is the problem. And I agree, lots of boarding school parents think a top BS is a ticket to HYP, but its not. They probably think their kid will be in the top 8-10% of Exeter's class - but that is MUCH MORE difficult than at a public school or a lower ranked private.

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  • keiekeikeiekei 132 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @mom2and
    it certainly appears that going to a top high school with competitive admissions makes a student much more likely to get into HYP or similar, especially if you are one of the best students.
    One must take care not to confuse correlation with causation. Yes, these top HSs get a large number of applicants into HYP every year. But that is because they are not normal HSs, in terms of academic talent and percentage of hooked applicants. Also, the notion of best students is really different at these places. Last year Exeter had two or three IMO gold medal winners. This is like one in several million (at least) level of talent.
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 4038 replies57 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Out of the 82 students from Exeter mentioned above, I can almost guarantee that half had a hook like being a recruited athlete, famous person, URM etc.. The admit rate to top 5-10 universities for Exeter for the unhooked student is probably just as low as any other school.

    Anyway, we are off topic. Exeter and other prep schools have 'free' college counselors. I wonder how many parents that have kids in attendance there also pay for outside counseling.
    edited April 2017
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35227 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Suzy, I'd bet a lot. As shown in this thread, many pay for the help in pulling the app together, figuring their angle, even beginning early, despite the GC strength.
    edited April 2017
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  • keiekeikeiekei 132 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @lookingforward Yes, it is definitely the case that many will hire outside counselors, in part to have greater, more in-depth access from a younger age (starting in middle school if you like); blunter, cut-to-the-chase advice; and a recognition that the school's GCs have to juggle the concerns of not just you, but dozens of other students each year, which may cause some to fear the up-thread horse-trading and so on. So it could be nice to have an outside consigliere. I would bet that usage of outside counselors at elite private schools is much higher than anywhere else, despite the fact that such schools employ highly experienced GCs who have often been on the other side of the desk, and who are responsible for a much smaller number of students each year than their colleagues in public schools.
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  • BobShawBobShaw 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    My 2 cents: Private admissions consultants: not worth the $$$ for most people. Had an hour (@$300) with someone recommended by all the parents in our area who use these people. Waste of time and money. Since the high school didn't help our D while she was applying during her gap year (except to supply the transcript), we (mom and dad) acted as college planners/counselors and guided her through the entire process. However, in hindsight, one thing I would recommend is for the applicant to show the college essay(s) to people other than the parents for feedback. An English teacher with experience reading college application essays is helpful in this regard. That's something worth paying for, if you can afford it. I don't know how much we helped or hurt our D's chances with our biased feedback on her essays. She ignored half of what we suggested anyway. Good to get an objective, third-party critique. Problem is, the students who need it the most (because they don't have parents who went to college and can guide them) are the ones who can't afford such services.
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  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam 1969 replies1 threads Senior Member
    @BobShaw I agree with a lot of what you said, but keep in mind being first generation today IS a hook. So I actually think the ones that really suffer are the ones whose parents went to college but still don't have the time, will or skill to help and these kids are truly relying often on hs guidance counselors, many of whom do not have the knowledge themselves and are spread very thin. English teacher looking at the essay is a great idea, or any teacher or adult role-model that knows the student and can write.

    I do think the admissions offices would critique a middle class run-of-the-mill public school student's essay differently than a student applying from a top private or even public school where they suspect the student got some "help". I actually wonder if there might be some admissions counselors who prefer former, less worked essays. I'm sure there are. The essays just need to be genuine, grammatically correct and need to show a side that the resume/application cannot. And showing a genuine connection to the schools in their respective supplements is also a great idea when applicable.
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 4038 replies57 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    "What we saw is that of the 25 or so kids who were admitted to top 10 colleges, maybe 3 were like my son - strong stats, but no hooks. Everybody else was an URM, a recruited athlete or a legacy." [I would add to this list - first generation and low socio-economic class].

    This sounds about right. I bet that rate (12.5% of unhooked smart white kids get into top 10 colleges) is accurate no matter what high school you come from.
    edited April 2017
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  • Southern5062Southern5062 203 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @notveryzen, may I ask which test prep program you used? I am not sure if you used a program online, a class, a consultant etc - but we are in search of SAT prep. When I search Google I get 100 different answers. We are not in a large city so it would have to be all online. My son got a great PSAT score but not doing as well as he needs to on the SAT. Thank you!
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  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam 1969 replies1 threads Senior Member
    @AnnMarie74 except that your son DID get in to one of his reaches??? Isn't that what we had been speculating before, that the private schools try to get the kids in to ONE of their reaches? And therefore, your son's experience was a success? Do you think he would have gotten in from the public high school without the GC possibly advocating for him???
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  • AnnMarie74AnnMarie74 26 replies1 threads New Member
    @collegemomjam you are right, I'm not sure. Maybe that was the deciding factor for him. It's just that when I was looking at their matriculation statistics, I thought that he only had to be in the top 10% grade wise to be admitted, but it turned out that most of the kids who were admitted actually had worse grades/test scores than he did. And there is a girl, who in my son's opinion was the strongest girl in the entire school and she was WLed at all her reaches. My point is that it may be just as much of a lottery at private schools for kids with no hooks as everywhere else.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35227 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Collegemomjam, you said you do a little counselling, but seem uncertain how this or that is viewed. ?

    An irrelevant essay ia an irrelevant essay, whether from a prep kid or not. There's no epecial bye, at a TT, for kids who can't shiw what those adcoms need to see
    edited April 2017
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