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

jzducoljzducol 795 replies15 threads Member
I know this topic was probably covered from time to time. But it seems the landscape of admission changes every year and so do the fees. My D is a junior and we are debating about getting her a consultant. I would like to know for applying to top ten schools have you retained a private admission consultant and how much do they cost nowadays?
My thinking is that for public schools seniors counselors do not really offer much of advise or assistance. For parents and kids there is probably no way to figure out how their application stacks up with others who are also super competitive for top colleges. And I don't think it would be wise to post a whole application for certain school on CC to get feedback and input. DIY can achieve a lot and there seems to be consensus on CC that DIY is preferred over hiring private consultants, but how do you actually get honest assessment and good advice without consultants?
If you hired consultants did they make a difference and how much did you spend?
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Replies to: Have you used a private admission consultant, if so what is your experience?

  • boudersbouders 2559 replies177 threads Senior Member
    I'm interested in seeing what others have to say. After D16's disappointing experience last year, due to zero support from her out of country public school, we hired an admissions consultant for S14's law school applications.
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1749 replies12 threads Senior Member
    OP, What part of the country do you live in?
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  • jzducoljzducol 795 replies15 threads Member
    We live in Ca. I know that CC can give brutally honesty opinion on any profile. But the thing is everyone applying to top ten would have perfect stats. The intangibles like essays can not be posted on CC anyway, and they are probably what distinguishes a successful applicant from others.
    So, I am very interested to know if there are CC parents out there who feel they kids would not have been successful in admission process had it not been the private counselor's help.
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  • Jliu32472Jliu32472 71 replies0 threads Junior Member
    We didn't get a private counselor for my daughter. The prices (over 10k) were just plain silly for the services they provide. We did get her a tutor for her essays.
    I had the time so I helped my daughter instead.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10174 replies565 threads Senior Member
    Google one of the companies I suggested and ask for a customer reference.

    And yes, mostly everyone at a top ten school will have stellar stats, which is why it isn't just about stellar stats. It's about the person and what they have achieved.
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  • jzducoljzducol 795 replies15 threads Member
    I imagine if a kid needs parents nagging to apply to colleges, he or she would not have accomplished a profile good enough for top ten colleges.
    It seems there is a lack of stories here among CC parents who have spent $10k or more for this specific purpose---to help them separate their kids from the rest in the application pool. I speculate that for top ten schools, its much like competing sports at elite level, every little edge counts. Are there good or bad outcomes to share here?
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  • thumper1thumper1 77227 replies3435 threads Senior Member
    I do know folks who used private consultants to help kids with college search, selection and application to top schools.

    BUT they didn't start at the end of 11th grade. To be honest. That's sort of late. What do you want this oersonnto do for you? It's a little late to help you with things like course selection, ECs, and the like. It's alsmoat too late to make suggestions for schools to visit. And it's certainly too late to change course selections to meet requirements for some colleges.

    You may find that some of these college consultants already have a full load of kids who will be seniors next year...

    But if you want someone, I'm sure you can find someone.

    Fact is,mhowever, your consultant will advise you on choices based on what your kid has to offer on their application. If anyone promises you they can get your kid into a top ten school...I would not work be suspicious of that claim.

    And you knew someone would ask...is your kid ONLY applying to top ten schools?
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  • eiholieiholi 296 replies16 threads Member
    edited March 2017
    I know some students who went to top ten schools without using private counselors. I feel if they used one they could be at a top three school. It must be helpful to let someone look at your application if that person is a former top school AO who saw thousands of applications and made decisions who to admit. If my son turns out to be a candidate for a top school and there is a former top school AO around I'd pay her/him to take a look at son's application. But I'd rather see that kind of helping eliminated soon.

    The significance of essays may be exaggerated. Lots of things are likely in play and for many years before junior year to make a top school contender, if the kid is the right material at all. So, it'd be nice to have a private counselor or put the kid in expensive private schools early. But I'd rather keep the kid close and be involved.
    edited March 2017
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  • Tperry1982Tperry1982 Forum Champion Yale 1568 replies6 threads Forum Champion
    @jzducol - while students do not post their essays on CC, they do sometimes ask folk to read them and send them via PM if they agree. I have read them on occasion since that is something that I do on the side (full disclosure - not a plug for your business). It is a way to get a free review. I am always amused when I see fellow applicants offering to read essays.
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  • oldfortoldfort 23204 replies297 threads Senior Member
    D1 had a very bad college application process, so I hired a private counselor for D2. It was a consulting team, not just one consultant. The advising started end of sophomore year. They looked over her profile, and based on her interest and aspiration, came up with their first list of colleges beginning of junior year. As more stats came in, like GPA, test scores, ECs and such, they revised the list. They gave her guidance on summer activities and ECs, as well as on what courses to take in school. They had very good sense on what many of those top schools looked for in applicants because they hired ex-admission people from those schools. Those ex-admission people only reviewed students profiles, they didn't work with students directly. In senior year, they helped with essays and applications. They were very helpful in making sure D2 was on schedule with all her tests, essays and applications. I thought D2's final application looked a lot better than D1's. To be clear, they didn't write D2's essays. They helped with topics and editing, but they were all D2's words.

    I found D2's process was a lot painless for me and we were happy with the result. By the time D2 was going through the process I was already on CC for over 5 yrs, but I still learned a lot from this consulting firm. They got many students into their reach and high reach schools, especially during ED/EA.

    I recently refer a friend to the same consultant. My friend said the price tag was 25K for 2 yrs package now. It was less for me 5 years ago.
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