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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?

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35300 replies399 threads Senior Member
    "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."

    Are you saying you thought his stats made him a shoo in? Not so, at elite holistic colleges. And holistic is more than race/ethnicity.
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  • AnnMarie74AnnMarie74 26 replies1 threads New Member
    I thought that strong stats from a private school that sends 25 kids annually to top colleges made him a shoo in. But I discovered that a private school doesn't necessarily give one an edge. I know and agree that strong academics are not sufficient to get into a top school. But I saw examples when they were also not necessary.
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  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 409 replies14 threads Member
    edited April 2017
    Sometimes people seem to forget that the high school experience is so much more than "getting in" to a top college.
    Academically, they need to be prepared...well prepared for the rigor of the curriculum and the brilliance of their fellow students. Some kids are accepted from "average" public schools who are going to be overwhelmed --I was one.
    My kids go to a private Catholic high school where they have all chosen challenging coursework and work hard. It's certainly not the highest "ranked " school in the area.
    They also LOVE their teachers and their school.
    I hope they will love their colleges, whatever their ranking or perceived prestige worldwide.
    edited April 2017
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  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam 2064 replies1 threads Senior Member
    @lookingforward I'm not sure what you are trying to say by "...but seem uncertain how this or that is viewed..."

    I don't think any counselor, anywhere, would claim to ever know exactly how something is viewed. College admissions is mostly subjective, especially at these top tiers where so many of the applicants have the stats and then it comes down to things like essays and other variables. Admissions counselors within the same school probably look for different things...all you can do is send your best work and hope they decide to admit you.

    I think on one of the Harvard threads someone said they knew a Harvard admissions person who said one year they just needed a few more Physics majors....

    @dragonmom3 I agree that students need to be prepared for these top schools, especially students that were admitted with a "hook".

    However, when I was getting my certificate in College Counseling, I remember learning that there had been some studies done comparing the college successes of Public school students vs. Private School students. The studies reflected that the public school students often started off a little behind because they weren't used to the academic rigor, however, by the end of the four years they had either caught up or passed their "better prepared" peers because they hadn't really been pushed or challenged as much in the past, and hadn't yet reached their academic potential. This stood out in my mind because I have always been a public school advocate (still am). I do think there are MANY benefits to attending a private school, and many of them are non-academic. And I also agree that overall, like @AnnMarie74 said, that going to the private school doesn't necessarily give you better odds, and like @dragonmom3 says, "...the high school experience is so much more than "getting in"".

    There are so many different paths to success, and no right or wrong answers for these many talented students applying to these top schools....some will get in to their "top choices", some will not...but none of them need to be defined by where they are accepted.

    So back to the main point of this thread...I do think a reasonably priced private counselor can help a student and their parents (especially if it's their first time going through it) ensure that the student has the right list (realistically balanced) and can help them formulate an application strategy based on the current trends (which seem to change every year). And those of you that are in the top private schools....I don't think you need anyone but your school's counselors because you are probably best served by working with them on your strategy because they have relationships with a lot of the top colleges, and working with a private counselor may work against that. Just my OPINION. And of course, have some back ups because not everyone gets their top choice.
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  • BobShawBobShaw 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    The studies reflected that the public school students often started off a little behind because they weren't used to the academic rigor, however, by the end of the four years they had either caught up or passed their "better prepared" peers because they hadn't really been pushed or challenged as much in the past, and hadn't yet reached their academic potential. This stood out in my mind because I have always been a public school advocate (still am). I do think there are MANY benefits to attending a private school, and many of them are non-academic.

    Depends on the public school and the private school in question. In our neck of the woods, the people who send their kids to the private schools do so for four reasons:
    (1) Fear of the public high school, because the competition and academic standards are higher than in any of the privates in the area (my wife once researched this for job interviews as a math teacher). The stress factor at the public high schools is severe. But these public school kids later tell us that freshman year in college was a joke.

    (2) More opportunity for breadth, because the privates seem to offer a more balanced, well-rounded approach to education, allowing students time to pursue extracurricular activities more intensively. The public high schools bury the kids in homework, much of it pointless busy-work.

    (3) A couple of privates in the area are favorites of the Ivies and Stanford for recruiting; they seem to have a pipeline. Students who were not performing so well academically in the public middle school and switched to one of these private high schools ended up at more "prestigious" colleges than many of their academically superior peers at the public high school. Holistic admissions? Being a member of a privileged group whose parents can afford to send them to exotic locations abroad for their summers for enrichment programs? Easier to stand out in a smaller pool of candidates from the same school? Knowledge that they will be full-pay students and always apply ED or EA? More personalized counseling at the schools? Who knows. There must be a good reason.

    (4) Status, i.e., yes, I can afford the astronomical mortgage here, supported by the awesome public schools, AND STILL send my kid to private school - ha ha. Hey, I don't blame them. If I could afford it, I probably would have done the same to minimize my children's stress. I'm also a fan of school uniforms. Then again, my children would not have been exposed to the socio-economic diversity in their public school or the realities of life when nothing is handed to you on a silver platter.
    edited April 2017
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  • AnnMarie74AnnMarie74 26 replies1 threads New Member
    @BobShaw I wonder how much socio-economic diversity can be achieved at a public school surrounded by houses with astronomical mortgages.
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  • gr8pl8gr8pl8 105 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Don't use them...they are a waste of money. Your daughter will be much more satisfied by doing the research herself. It is not rocket science. Look hard enough and all the answers are available from the college web sites. They post their admitted student profile. You apply and write the essay to the best of your abilities and let the chips fall where they fall. We had a hard push by a consultant that she would be able to get my D into Stanford with her help. D did the application herself, without any help and was accepted.
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  • OrcinusOrcinus 11 replies1 threads New Member
    @AnnMarie74 - Quota of students from one of the poorest cities, which happens to be just across the county line and over the freeway. The two neighboring cities are a case study in the growing income gap in America. Our city is mostly white and Asian. Theirs is almost exclusively Latino, African American, and some Pacific Islander. Closing the "achievement gap" is a major theme in our school district.
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  • BobShawBobShaw 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @Orcinus - Aha, nice to see you finally taking my advice and joining the forum! I was spooked when I saw someone else answer @AnnMarie74 's question accurately. I was thinking, who the heck knows where I live? Then I saw the username. :-) How is the college selection going?

    @AnnMarie74 - Orcinus is a young lady in my D's former high school, so she knows what I'm talking about. Like she said, we live in a place where there are a lot of income disparities because thanks to a lawsuit a while back, an adjoining community can send kids into our school district. That's a good thing for both sides. As can be expected, as the kids grow older, they become more conscious of the disparities. Some form good friendships across the socio-economic divide, whereas others stick to what they know. At least kids make an attempt to bridge the gap.
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  • oldfortoldfort 23186 replies296 threads Senior Member
    @BobShaw - teachers usually teach to the lowest denominator. Top private schools tend to test their applicants for admission to ensure their students could keep up with their curriculum. At those private schools the teachers also give out more writing assignments (research papers) and those papers were returned (with comments) sooner because private school teachers had more time to read those papers.

    Where my kids grew up, top private schools' curriculum were more rigorous and their facilities could rival some top tier colleges.
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  • OrcinusOrcinus 11 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 2017
    @BobShaw - Sorry! Didn't mean to be a stalker. I jumped right in. Should have introduced myself first. Probably confused AnnMarie74. I've been clicking on the banners on the home page that take you to the featured discussions to check out what people are talking about. It's interesting. College selection is hard! Can't make up my mind between the two women's colleges. I'll be visiting both soon. Will I be seeing your daughter there? I think she said she's visiting Scripps. Wasn't sure if she's going to Philly too. Thank you so much for asking!
    edited April 2017
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  • BobShawBobShaw 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @Orcinus - I'll PM you. Don't want to hijack a thread for side conversations. ;-)
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  • BobShawBobShaw 157 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @oldfort - I agree that's true of many top private schools, but not all of them attract people for their academic rigor, and not all public schools are the same, especially when they have multiple tracks for the core subjects. Not sure where you live, but the East Coast private academies and prep schools probably fit your description. I had a lot of sharp, prepared classmates at my Ivy League school from Phillips Academies Andover, Exeter, etc. Another thing that's more prevalent on the East Coast than in California, I have found, are the selective magnet public high schools and specialized high schools (like the nine in NYC - Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, etc.). I know of relatively few examples of that in CA. I think they have a lot of those in Texas too, especially in the Dallas area.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35300 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Your top public may have gotten clobbered because another, less top hs, put forth amazing kids. It's not just quantitative. Ime, when academic choices and performance are close enough, it's so qualitative. That's where hairs are split. And it's brutal. No, I don't mean awards or the simple facts of your back story.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    @collegemomjam Your post is very informative, thank you.

    Most public schools have state mandates on accepting in state students if they receive
    even a small amount of aid from their state legislature. Even in Colorado, where we largely fund our public schools with donations, OOS tuition dollars from international students and California students, and federal dollars, we have rules about how many Colorado students must be served. It may become a fight in Colorado, as our best public schools think about privatizing, to try to force our state to pony up more and more funding.

    I know Georgia Tech does mandate how many Georgia students it must serve in the undergraduate population. This may apply to Chapel Hill, you can look that up to understand what North Carolina laws say about in state percentages that must be served there.

    U of Michigan, its not been a "Michigan" school for years. Its a school populated now with northeastern students and Chicago students, California students and Texas students, who may feel its better than their in state flagship. And maybe it is, probably depends on which state we are comparing it to and for which major. Clearly for musical theatre, Michigan may really be better. For many other majors its just an expensive "away" experience.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    @collegemomjam It makes no sense to me to study math, though if one is interested in marketing, supply chain, or sales, or entrepreneurship. Math is a hard major at most colleges, and leads to a very discouraging four years. I am not certain Villanova would be that way though. Maybe direct more students to Case Western Reserve University instead of Villanova, where they can study what they want. Georgia Tech also would allow students to study math or business, up front. So would MIT. The schools that tell you business is HARDER than mathematics, are wrong , so its really too bad that so many schools, such as U of Colorado Boulder and apparently Villanova tell students this lie.
    The fact that Arts and Sciences is a "catch all" for students who have lower stats, is a huge problem in the USA. It does not take more brains to study business than most science and math majors in arts and sciences. I think it may be the reason that so many students are misguided and lost after four years at a university. They are told "just get into Arts and Sciences" and they flunder.
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5828 replies53 threads Senior Member
    I'm not sure how the last bit of conversation goes to the private counselors' conversation, but I have a PhD in an applied math field, began my career teaching at one of the tippy-top business schools and still teach a week or two a year in executive education course at a couple of top schools. Plus, I have a son who was a triple major (math/econ/behavioral econ) and is now getting degrees in computational and mathematical engineering and in business at a tippy-top school. Based upon this experience, it would be very hard to justify the assertion that business courses are harder than a mathematics courses. So, @Coloradomama, I completely agree with your first point. I think studying math contributes meaningfully to people's capacity to structure arguments leading to premises to conclusions and being careful about assumptions, but most sales careers do not require an undergraduate degree in math. There are some people in marketing and especially in supply chain optimization for whom an undergraduate background in math could help.

    My concern about undergraduate business courses is that they don't teach people to think very well. I have a very bright nephew who was an econ major (I think) at McGill who took a couple of business courses and called them econ appreciation -- in the same way as you don't learn how to make art or think like an artist in an art appreciation class, you don't learn to do econ or think like an economist in an econ appreciation class. Because you don't understand the underpinnings of the economic models, you don't necessarily know how to use that way of thinking properly as you move to novel situations.

    I fear that many things that do not involve complex thinking or serious relationship-building will be automated over the next decade. I wonder if undergraduate business majors will be more vulnerable or vulnerable sooner. I don't think private counselors would necessarily have a lot of leverage with respect to those judgments, but I wonder if they push back on people trying to be undergrad business majors. And, other than Wharton, Stern or Ross, would parents hire a private counselor to help their kids get into a business or accounting major in Indiana or West Virginia?
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  • gr8pl8gr8pl8 105 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @BobShaw Total agreement. Son was lazy at high performance and high ranking public HS but took hard classes because of the better half. Son's HS is ranked significantly higher then the nationally recognized private K-12 school in our part of SoCal, very unusual situation where the private school kid's parents send them to the public HS when they reach 9th grade. Son is getting a higher gpa now as a college student then when he was at HS.
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  • HannaHanna 14866 replies42 threads Senior Member
    "And, other than Wharton, Stern or Ross, would parents hire a private counselor to help their kids get into a business or accounting major in Indiana or West Virginia?"

    Yes, they do. Whether they SHOULD is open to debate, but they do.
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