College Admissions Consultant Recommendations Please

Hello- We are considering hiring a private college admissions consultant and would very much appreciate any recommendations (and/or warnings). We live in California but our twins plan on applying to schools primarily on the east coast and a few in the midwest. Please send me a message if you are comfortable sharing. Thanks

Depending on what your needs are - is it just school selection or essay writing.

In general, I wouldn’t.

Ask questions here - and let the collective experience of so many help guide you.

For essays, etc. use family, teachers, mentors and others.

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A good first step would be to ask around and see what your local parents recommend.

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As mentioned above - ask for local referrals. Also you could check out IECA - professional association of college consultants and they have a directory on their website. Jeff Levy in Santa Monica has a great reputation and quite versed on the financial and merit side too. We did not use a counselor, as our independent school had 2 strong counselors - but I know families that have found them of value plus you can get good info on CC to check/supplement. Good to know what you want - list bldg, essay review, financial understanding, student time management and find someone that will only charge you for what you need.


You can learn a tremendous amount on college confidential and other websites. I’d poke around a lot on here first, before you hire someone.

I also suggest to use someone local with referrals. They are likely to be more familiar with the local high schools and have a better feel for what would work. We have hired someone just for essay help. Used CC and other websites for other aspects of the search, but it requires time to invest.

There are some companies that hire current college students or recent graduates as “counselors”. I dont think those would be a good choice.


There are no barriers to entry in college consulting. Anybody can say that they are a college counselor. So, if you are looking to hire someone, you might want to look at the AICEP website—American Institute of Certified Educational Planners— which is the board certification for college counselors and also requires counselors to keep up-to-date by visiting colleges, connecting with admission officers, attending conferences, and basically being active in their field. (Only 2% of consultants have passed this board-certifying exam.) You can also search for a college consultant through one of the. main organizations (IECA, HECA) which at least has membership criteria that makes sure they have been active in the field. (IECA has stricter requirements than HECA). I’d never recommend hiring anyone who isn’t active and keeping up with the changing college admission landscape, so investigating their credentials is important.


I agree with checking credentials and asking for local referrals. Look for independent college counselors who are also members of NACAC (separately, or in addition to AICEP and/or IECA as noted above).


@nwctmom, while I don’t think you need to go crazy and spend thousands on a consultant. With twins you might want to consider someone that can PM the process. Develop a timeline, manage the deadlines, make recommendations on schools…


Sent you a PM.

I would use, and have used, Empowerly.

Thank you all very much for taking the time to respond! We appreciate the advice, opinions and recommendations. It is such a complicated decision and there is still so much for me to learn.