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College Consultants


Replies to: College Consultants

  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    @sybylla I appreciate your insights but I'm a little confused about what we're talking about. When you say "you need to define what you will pay" do you mean for my own personal financial accounting or in some official way to qualify for merit aid? And are you talking about her stats in relation to getting an acceptance or getting merit aid? And I'm not sure what you mean by sweeteners and COA. When her brother applied last year, I didn't even know much about merit aid and was pleasantly surprised when the acceptances came with merit offers. While the offers impacted his choice of where to attend, merit aid did not play a role until that step in the process. As far as I can tell, these schools she's looking at (Oberlin, Swarthmore, Boston C, Bryn Mawr, Sarah Lawrence, Smith, NYU, etc.) all cost about the same so that doesn't seem to be much of a filter unless some are significantly more likely to offer merit aid.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    So merit money is just a bonus, not a requirement? If so you don't need to muddy the waters with that aspect. The point for merit (real $$) seekers is that it won't come from desirable schools.
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    edited July 2018
    Got it. That makes sense. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have but we won't absolutely exclude schools that don't offer it. Right now I'm more worried about getting her in somewhere that's a good fit.
  • HMom16HMom16 Registered User Posts: 631 Member
    One of the benefits of a consultant, even now, is to provide unemotional assistance with application essays and presenting the student in the best light. The consultant can also help identify colleges that are a good fit, balancing the student's interests, likelihood of admission and financial considerations.

    While we did not use a consultant, a good friend found hers invaluable. Kids can be very sensitive to parental suggestions ("criticism"?) and many teens just don't trust their parent's advice as much as a third party (even when they're saying the same thing.) In my friend's case, the consultant helped diffuse emotions on both sides so that the student stayed on track and presented herself in her best light.

    I agree with the posters above - references are key to identifying a good consultant.
  • bookwormbookworm Registered User Posts: 8,633 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    There are at least counselors here on CC: Hanna, Jym626, soozievt.

    Right now, it seems your list is good for reach schools. You do know Swathmore has a 9% admit rate, as one example.
    Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    You think all those schools are reach? I know Swarthmore certainly is but I don’t think Sarah Lawrence or Bryn Mawr necessarily are.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,825 Senior Member
    Bryn Mawr is AS competitive as Swat. Sarah Lawrence should not be viewed as a sure thing either.

    BMC doesn’t give much, if any, merit aid. Any they do give would be HIGHLY competitive.
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    I guess that’s why I need a college consultant. What about Bard or Macalester?
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,601 Senior Member
    I engaged this counselor when we moved overseas with D2. I wanted someone who was familiar with the US college process who would be available to D2 with any questions - kind of like a comprehensive wedding planner. The counselor assisted D2 with course selections at her international school, ECs she should be involved in (based on her interest), summer programs, testing, essays, application...the whole process. He had a group of ex-adcoms in the info bank who continuous evaluated D2's stats to see if she was on track for the level of schools she was interested in. This counselor never told us he had any pulls with adcoms, but I knew he met with them often enough to know what those schools were looking for, and that helped with crafting of D1's application and essays.

    This counselor had an info bank, which was made up of ex-adcoms from top tier schools. As part of the service, they evaluated student's profile from time to time and let the student know if he/she was on track for schools of interest or he/she needs to make some adjustments. For us, this was something other consulting didn't offer and was very valuable to us.

    D1 had such a bad college application process that I wanted to make sure D2 didn't repeat the experience. I was very happy with the decision to hire a counselor and felt it was the money well spent. We met with the counselor when we visited the States during one of our home visits, but other than that we did everything via Skype. D2 also did all of her SAT tutoring via Skype. The cost was some where in between of the estimates OP received.

    D1 recently got married and I also hired a wedding planner as soon as she got engaged instead of waiting until the month of (very happy with the planner and the outcome). No different than when hiring a private college counselor, if you are considering a private counselor it is better to do it earlier rather than later. There are different levels of counseling (just like wedding planner) and the cost is also commensurate with level of services.

    Just a side note - I shadowed this counselor for few months after D2 was admitted to her first choice. I was doing it out of curiosity and was interested in going into business with him. I sat in on few consulting meetings and also saw some results. There were a lot of behind the scene stuff that's not discussed on CC.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,936 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    @ReelLife : Bryn Mawr is not as competitive as Swarthmore with respect to admissions.

    Ask your daughter to consider Vassar College & Skidmore College. Both are in New York state.

    Macalester is very liberal & accepting. Well regarded, but consider the journey. Bard has a lot of smokers according to recent visitors. Retention rate is not as high as at the others on your list--save for Sarah Lawrence.

    Vassar College
    Skidmore College
    Grinnell College
    Bryn Mawr
    Smith College
    Swarthmore is a reach, but I do not know enough about your daughter to offer a reasonable assessment.
    Macalester--long journey though.
    NYU--but will be expensive.
    Barnard College should be considered (can take classes at adjoining Columbia University).
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    Great list. How about Wesleyan? Oberlin? Boston College? I don’t get the long journey comment—we’re coming from freakin Japan. Everything’s a long journey!
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    edited July 2018
    @oldfort Thanks for sharing that info; very relevant. Care to share name/contact info for the consultant?
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,936 Senior Member
    Boston College is an interesting choice compared to your daughter's other listed schools. BC is not as liberal as the others.

    Oberlin's financial state should be examined. Some think that political correctness has gone too far on this campus. The music conservatory is well regarded, however.
  • ReelLifeReelLife Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    I am trying to encourage Boston since her brother will be there and we’re so far away. We’ve thought about Brandeis and Wellesley but she had mentioned USC (which I think is all wrong for her) but she thinks there are more Japanese speakers on the West coast and it has a great ballet program. So I thought well if you think you’d like SC, why not BC?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,737 Senior Member
    I would put Bryn Mawr as a match because of the IB. If she likes women's colleges, she could look at Agnes Scott, Spellman, Mills, Scripps, etc. as safer matches. Reachier women's college, but not impossible with her IB scores would be Mt Holyoke and Wellesley. I don't have. Good sense of where Smith and Barnard fall these days.

    Since you don't mind being full pay, there are scads of places out there for her. What about your own alma mater or former home state public as a back-up?
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