I know this has come up many times but all the threads on this topic appear to be closed so I'm starting a new discussion. I'm not looking for opinions on the merits of a college consultant as I have just waded through literally hundreds of people voicing their opinions that it's not worth the money despite seeming to have not had any experience utilizing the services of a consultant. A small minority advocated for the services but people who have had success using consultants seem reluctant to speak about it perhaps for fear of being perceived as utilizing some unfair or privileged advantage. And there are certainly justifications for that reluctance based on comments I read here. I am more interested in how one searches for the right person or firm. I have gone to the professional associations which provide lists of names and links to websites, but no way to assess their merits. I have had conversations with a few consultants who seemed capable. I must say the quotes for their "all in" comprehensive packages diverge wildly. The last three estimates I got where for $4,000, $9600 and $55,000. That is patently insane. I had one offer to fly to where we live in Japan at my expense and spend three days with my DD for $19,000. It's a sweet business, I guess, if you get the clients. I think an element of what they sell is guilt: "are you doing all you can for your kid?" The other unspoken sales pitch of the higher priced consultants is access. While a professional wouldn't promise to contact an admissions officer on your behalf they seem to subtly imply they could "I was just talking to the director of admissions at college x the other day." Obviously, we all want our kids to do this on their own and we also want to provide them with whatever help/advantage is ethically within our means. So, to cut to the chase, does anyone have a name they can recommend?