right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
COMING SOON "Ask The Expert" live event w/ the CC Dean, Sally Rubenstone, on Feb. 22 at 12:00 pm ET. This event is exclusively for registered members. CREATE YOUR CC ACCOUNT NOW to receive event updates!

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

1568101114

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

  • FinalForFinalFor 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Yes, you both are correct regarding my meaning of merit. Need based at the ivy brings it inline with a "merit" award at the state school so the total out of pocket isn't that different +\- $6K. That's barring any additional awards from state school as I know we won't get any additional at an ivy.
    · Reply · Share
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo 4896 replies388 threads Senior Member
    @FinalFor, both my older boys got fantastic need-based financial aid packages from places like Princeton, Penn, Caltech and Vanderbilt because of our moderate income. They were able to stack outside scholarships on top of that, so we paid very little for them to attend their respective schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • FinalForFinalFor 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @sbjdorlo, That is encouraging news. He is interested in Vanderbilt so that'll be a visit later this year.
    · Reply · Share
  • GnocchiBGnocchiB 2078 replies230 threads Senior Member
    @FinalFor our Princeton tour guide said that Princeton cost less for his family than his state flagship (Rutgers).
    · Reply · Share
  • FinalForFinalFor 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @GnocchiB I don't doubt that all. Princeton aid is generous and the campus is lovely. We visited 2 weeks ago. Our state gigantic school is only slightly cheaper than Princeton all in without additional scholarships. He liked Princeton, Cornell, Swarthmore and a couple other LACs we visited including the state school and a border state's giant school but was hoping he'd get excited about one of them. We'll visit Vandy and some other schools. One of them will get him excited.
    · Reply · Share
  • jessapenjessapen 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    @eiholi we had the same problem as there seemed to be a lack in local BS/MD specific help in our area. We did find a couple but we had reservations after speaking with them for the amount of money it costs. This area is not regulated, so there is nothing stopping someone from taking your money and providing non helpful services. we were very cautious. All of the BS/MD recommendations we received were for companies either in the west or east coast. That seems to be where there's the most activity in this area (i suppose due to incomes?)

    We were open to video conferencing and doing all of our work online so we relied partially on the company's Alexa ranking. I recommend all parents do the same if they are considering a long distance based option like we did. We found most of these companies who claimed to have a majority of their clients throughout the country, had rankings in the millions which is pretty mediocre.

    It would be nice if we lived in a world where our kids did not have to compete for such limited spots at these programs but unfortunately this is reality.

    edited April 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • jessapenjessapen 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @AS2017 We felt the same way when we were vetting these companies. Most had no problem taking our money except for one. That's why I think it's so important to ask around and not just rely on what is listed on their website. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but for us, if we had to do it again, we would have saved up a bit more and started the process earlier b/c even though our DS was very successful, the process placed A TON of stress on him compared to other students in the same company that were coasting along because they had started receiving help since grade 9!!!!
    · Reply · Share
  • jessapenjessapen 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    @sushiritto I disagree that a consultant is like having insurance or paying for AAA. Those are services as you state, you may not need, but it's nice to know they're there IF you need it.

    For us, we could not have gone through the process and supported our DS the way they DID, without them. At least for BS/MD programs, I disagree that everything can be done by the average typical student and parent, especially if you have no medical background. This may be true for a very small select group of applicants and their families with generations fo physicians.

    If you look at the stats for BS/MD programs, you will see that most (applicants + parents) who try to get into these programs without help are rejected.
    edited April 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • sushirittosushiritto 4739 replies17 threads Senior Member
    @jessapen A private admissions consultant will sell you their services ala carte or in a complete package.

    My D and I are neither lazy nor unorganized, but we hired someone who had a successful track record who has more expertise in the area of admissions than I. I call it insurance and hiring a professional in field where I'm not.

    Everyone can make their own value decision. YMMV.
    · Reply · Share
  • jessapenjessapen 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @sushiritto I wasn't implying that anyone is lazy or lacks organization. As you said so yourself, you hired someone because they have more expertise so hopefully you were able to make use of their knowledge.
    · Reply · Share
  • JanwelJanwel 113 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    We used one that gave feedback on son's essays, recommended courses for senior year, an activity for the summer. It kept him on schedule, was low-key, and was focused on the student, not schools. The consultant worked hard to provide a range of schools that matched his interests and provided a framework for him to evaluate schools he visited.

    It was about $7,000 total. We thought it was well worth it because it eliminated the parent/child friction, it wasn't a huge financial sacrifice, and it taught our son how to talk to adults about his interests and activities in a way that helped him improve his essays.

    Oh yeah they also helped with standardized testing, finding good tutors, a host of stuff. He started junior year which some might say is late but worked fine for him.

    And he got into his first choice ED so something clicked!
    edited April 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • sushirittosushiritto 4739 replies17 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @jessapen Sorry, but my comment was directed at others who used terms such as "lazy" and unorganized."

    Locally, private consultants are actually used by parents who would never be considered "lazy" and "unorganized." Some private consultants may even have a "formula" for success gained from their professional expertise thru the years.

    You can do your taxes by yourself, you can fix your car by yourself, you can represent yourself at trial (said tongue-in-cheek) and your child can do the college application process by yourselves. Again, YMMV.
    edited April 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 3416 replies30 threads Senior Member
    We went to a counselor (supposedly highly regarded) in south Florida at some point in my son's junior year for an initial meeting. I was so unimpressed with what she had to offer, and how much it cost, that we never went back.

    She started to lose me when she tried to gloss her way through homeschooling legal requirements, and it was clear she didn't have a good grasp of the topic (something I had been dealing with for years by that point). Then some other things she had to say didn't seem credible either. She blustered her way through 2 hours and charged us for the whole meeting. To this day I do not know why we sat there.

    My niece had a great experience with an ACT prep tutor who also coached the kids on the side. She was very helpful. I think it really depends on the person.

    · Reply · Share
  • CourtneyThurstonCourtneyThurston 1376 replies14 threads Senior Member
    "We used one that gave feedback on son's essays, recommended courses for senior year, an activity for the summer. It ...was about $7,000 total."

    And to think I charge kids $5 for these same services, to what I'd consider pretty good success...
    · Reply · Share
  • LisaNCStateLisaNCState 129 replies6 threads Junior Member
    We used one and to be honest we did not follow his advice. He asked not to apply to two name-brand schools (won't get into names) his quotes "you have 5% chance to get into these based on what you have .. don't waste your time" guess what? We applied to both . one got waitlisted and another got in ... so all depends
    · Reply · Share
  • FourStarsFourStars 510 replies4 threads Member
    My advice is definitely pay for Test Prep, whatever it takes to boost your score to your reasonably best number. And if you don't have creative writing ability in your family, you can pay for a small amount of essay writing and editing. I feel if you are decent at research, you should be able to do the school research yourself with your child. My son got into his first choice Early Decision this way. Not ivy! Good, smallish liberal arts school with a 27% acceptance rate.
    · Reply · Share
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam 1955 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I agree that paying for Test Prep, even if it's really difficult to do, is usually worth it. And they are not all created equally. You might have to pay what seems like a lot, but if you are trying to get Merit Aid or into an elite school, it will pay for itself. BUT YOU MUST HIRE SOMEONE WITH A GOOD TRACK RECORD. High school teachers are often NOT the right tutors. My daughters used an Ivy league grad who has mastered the tests and is just brilliant. Ask around, they are out there. I do some college counseling (I have a certification in the field and a strong record) and in spite of what you might hear the trend to be with many schools going "test optional", a strong score can OPEN DOORS. And if you are willing to go to a safer choice, a strong score WILL get you merit aid.

    As for essays....I haven't read all of the posts but tend to agree with those who have cautioned not to overwork your essays. I have seen overworked/edited essays backfire for some students. I think the more genuine the essay sounds, the better. The less "SAT word" filled the essay is, the better. I think creative is good, as long as it's not over the top and makes the reader question the essay's authenticity. The essay may be very important at some schools (but may not be, too, depending on the situation), but it has to sound authentic.

    As for hiring a counselor....everyone has their own opinion on this. I'm not sure paying 25K for a group that has former Ivy admissions reps on their team is necessarily going to pay off. The subjective components of an application are exactly that....subjective. There are no hard and fast rules. What one reader at Harvard thinks might be completely different than what another reader at Harvard or Stanford thinks. I know some other counselors and they have gone to "training" sessions and often will say they completely disagree with the speakers.

    So unless you really have that kind of money, if you need a counselor, I would not pay that kind of money. (If you have 25K or more to spend on a counselor and want to be able to tell yourself that you did everything possible to help your child get in to a top choice, then go for it...).

    I would hire someone that can accurately help your student come up with a well rounded list of options. If you are aiming high, then you need to be top heavy just because the odds are against you. But you need to have some solid safeties and matches that you would be happy going to. A good counselor (but not necessarily an expensive one) will be able to look beyond acceptance rates and test scores and help you dig a little deeper to not only properly assess your chances or admission, but also if a school actually has what you are looking for. A good counselor will know that even though X university may not be a top twenty school, their "xyz" program is very strong.

    Then there are the counselors that are more administrative...they keep your kid organized, help them set deadlines, send scores, ensure applications are complete, etc....that also might be worth paying for. As the above poster suggested, you might be able to do a lot of the research yourself, but you just need someone else to be the one nagging your kid...

    · Reply · Share
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam 1955 replies1 threads Senior Member
    One more thing....if you are hiring a counselor, make sure that you are hiring someone that can help you strategize...the whole EA/ED I/ED II/SCEA/RD game has exploded and changes every year. But as of now it cannot be ignored and if you are aiming high, your only shot might be to apply ED somewhere.
    · Reply · Share
  • CountingDownCountingDown 13561 replies112 threads Senior Member
    Back in the dark ages, there were a couple folks affiliated with CC who did college advising. Now that I've read the rest of the thread, I recalled that we paid some nominal amount (maybe $75?) to have them look over the guys' lists of colleges based on scores and a brief resume. It was helpful to get a reality check. Were their predictions accurate? Not for specific schools, but for the distribution of acceptances/rejections at reaches/targets/likelies, yes. They both got into reaches they didn't expect, and both were waitlisted/rejected at others where they thought the odds were better.

    I learned TONS about the whole process here -- especially about EA/ED/RD, etc., developing activity resumes (someone here said to track all those activities and awards -- OMG, it saved a lot of aggravation!), FA, etc. Others I know who hired counselors said that having someone outside the family working with the student on essays and apps helped to reduce tensions at home.

    We had a good time with the college app process. We rehashed a lot of fun old stories and experiences, both put in a LOT of time and effort on essays, and had lists that made a lot of sense. The app process was actually a pretty happy time for us as a family. YMMV.

    LIke sbjdorlo, I had a kid who was taking post-AP STEM classes throughout HS. I ran into one of S1's *middle school* comp sci teachers at a Destination Imagination tournament for S2 during S1's sophomore year of HS. He suggested S1 look at Harvey Mudd. Independently, a teacher at S1's HS also mentioned Mudd to him. Another friend who knew S1 mentioned Mudd to me as well. Three recommendations for a tiny school on the opposite coast got our attention. Mudd wound up being the model of what he wanted, and he built his list from there. He didn't attend, but it was a finalist at the end of April.

    S2 used a similar approach -- he had a preferred school, then worked on developing the rest of his list based on those things he liked about that particular school. Let your kid find one school he/she likes and then try to find others that share those characteristics, across a range of selectivity, FA/merit considerations, geography, etc.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity