College consultant

One of our friends suggested going to a college consultant but the cost ranges from 5,000 to 20,000. Princeton college consultants charge $17,000 one time payment.

Is it really worth that money? Do college consultants really give so much information?

Please advice .

Depends on your need. If your kid’s school isn’t helpful at all (i.e. giving you absolutely nothing) then sure it might be worth it. But overall, it probably won’t be. A consultant will likely have just as much information as a high school counselor and the internet is free.

We used a consultant as neither parent schooled in the US and we were unfamiliar with the system (and kid at one of those large schools with one counselor per 300-400 kids). Our quoted charges were around $3.5k for a “normal” package and around $5-6k for the “Ivy” package. I have heard of the kind of costs you are talking about through the varsity blues scandal, but no one I know (Sf Bay Area) has paid much more than the “Ivy” package we were quoted. Just FYI.

No. Surely if you need consultant help, you can find someone far less expensive. If you have some time to put into learning about the admission process, you can find most of what you need to know right here.

There are also consultants who offer a la carte services, such as essay review, for a relatively modest fee.

With DS09 I was lost but managed to find my way through the college Process and he did really well so I believe it is possible to figure things out for yourself as someone else said with the interenet. DD 20 is is a prep school and the college counselor is amazing. I had very little to do other than make visits. She was very knowlegeable, identified schools with her major, identified schools which offered merit aid, the size etc and with taking her advice DD has been accepted into all of the schools that she identified that DD should apply EA in with scholarships. We are still awaiting RD decisions but I am quite happy. So there is value to using someone who is an expert however I would not pay that kind of money for the service.

We used one for D20. Our high school lists the schools where students were accepted in the late spring and we had been underwhelmed by the names for the past several years(almost all state schools) so we were looking for something a bit better. The cost was around $3600 for the package that covered from spring sophomore year through financial aid award analysis and final school choice. I couldn’t be happier. They offered several workshops, webinars, and face to face meetings for standardized testing strategies, course selection, college lists, essays, applications, and financial aid. The biggest help was being the “task masters” so I didn’t have to do it. As a result, she had her final list, all interviews, and essays done over the summer and all applications including supplements submitted in mid-October.

I’m a big fan of private college counselors IF they charge hourly (no lump sum $), come highly recommended by other family you know well, the sessions are one-on-one (not group), and they have the credentials to give college admissions advice.

After interviewing several, we went with a local, reputable cc who knew my D’s high school and her targeted colleges very well. She was very knowledgeable (former ivy adcom) and who was positive and realistic about D’s colleges.

The two things that the counselor did was a) she had insight into D’s top college choice (information not readily available to the public); and b) she “packaged” D starting end of Sophomore year to make sure she had a “story” that was consistent with her application and HS resume.

We used her hourly as needed and she was wonderful. I firmly believe she was the difference maker in getting D into her top 10 college ED. All in, we probably paid her $2,500-$3,000 over two years but was money well spent.

Sometimes you need a third-party specialist who your kids respect and will listen to their advice. CC is great but there is no substitute for one on one advice from someone who does college counseling 24/7 for a living.

@socaldad2002 , is it possible for you to pm me ur consultant name? I can’t pm.
Thank you so much.

@socaldad2002 FYI our counselor had the option of hourly or package, but the package made sense for us. Hourly might have worked better if we had a better idea of the system or had found CC before!! All sessions were one-on-one, including one (before we had signed so free) where the counselor spent an hour and a half thoroughly explaining both how the system worked to us, and what she would be doing with D19. I am not convinced we would have felt it worth paying the same for webinars etc.

Now that we know the system and have found CC, I doubt we will use a counselor for D26, unless she feels she wants to shoot for a number of top schools, and then it would be more targeted on tailoring the applications for those.

All my daughters friends had private college counselors. I’ve spent a great deal of time researching schools, admissions, majors, study abroad, finances, etc… It was an investment of my time and love for her. If you don’t have the time to do the research and have the money for an hourly consultant, spend the money. My daughter has been admitted to 5 great schools (7 more to yet to hear back from) and she already has 140K in merit money. You can do it without a counselor!!

Personally I think it’s a waste of money but I and my wife had the time to learn. That is how I ended up here… Lol…

We also had a friend that did this work professionally. She met with both our kids once and then looked at their college essay for the common app once . That’s it. We and our kids did the rest.

There are so many great Podcasts etc on how to “brand” your kid etc. The reality is your kid has to have the goods also. Starting as a senior to do this to me is almost to late.

Each of our kids took a different approach to the apps and the essays.

Yes, it’s nice to have the kids listen to someone that is not called “Mom or Dad”. I would pay for a few sessions for guidance and to get some questions answered to be honest.

@socaldad2002 , HI, we are from Uzbekistan and we don’t really much know about the process, is it ok if you pm me your consultant details? I can’t pm you.
Thank you

You can also go to the IECA website and find a list of consultants including consultants that have experience with international applicants. (Independent Educational Consultants Assoc). Look for long term experience and you can set up initial (usually free) conversation. There is another professional association - but I can’t recall the name.

@socaldad2002 Could you please PM me your consultant’s name. I am not able to PM. Thanks.

Having had a college consultant myself, I think it’s a waste of money. If you need essay help, get help specifically for that. If you need help choosing colleges, get help specifically for that.

Of course, I may have just had a bad college consultant, so who knows.

Any recommendations for college consultant in central NJ area. Needed to help develop college list and essay mainly