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

I’m not sure how the last bit of conversation goes to the private counselors’ conversation, but I have a PhD in an applied math field, began my career teaching at one of the tippy-top business schools and still teach a week or two a year in executive education course at a couple of top schools. Plus, I have a son who was a triple major (math/econ/behavioral econ) and is now getting degrees in computational and mathematical engineering and in business at a tippy-top school. Based upon this experience, it would be very hard to justify the assertion that business courses are harder than a mathematics courses. So, @Coloradomama, I completely agree with your first point. I think studying math contributes meaningfully to people’s capacity to structure arguments leading to premises to conclusions and being careful about assumptions, but most sales careers do not require an undergraduate degree in math. There are some people in marketing and especially in supply chain optimization for whom an undergraduate background in math could help.

My concern about undergraduate business courses is that they don’t teach people to think very well. I have a very bright nephew who was an econ major (I think) at McGill who took a couple of business courses and called them econ appreciation – in the same way as you don’t learn how to make art or think like an artist in an art appreciation class, you don’t learn to do econ or think like an economist in an econ appreciation class. Because you don’t understand the underpinnings of the economic models, you don’t necessarily know how to use that way of thinking properly as you move to novel situations.

I fear that many things that do not involve complex thinking or serious relationship-building will be automated over the next decade. I wonder if undergraduate business majors will be more vulnerable or vulnerable sooner. I don’t think private counselors would necessarily have a lot of leverage with respect to those judgments, but I wonder if they push back on people trying to be undergrad business majors. And, other than Wharton, Stern or Ross, would parents hire a private counselor to help their kids get into a business or accounting major in Indiana or West Virginia?

@BobShaw Total agreement. Son was lazy at high performance and high ranking public HS but took hard classes because of the better half. Son’s HS is ranked significantly higher then the nationally recognized private K-12 school in our part of SoCal, very unusual situation where the private school kid’s parents send them to the public HS when they reach 9th grade. Son is getting a higher gpa now as a college student then when he was at HS.

“And, other than Wharton, Stern or Ross, would parents hire a private counselor to help their kids get into a business or accounting major in Indiana or West Virginia?”

Yes, they do. Whether they SHOULD is open to debate, but they do.

Thanks @Hanna. I’m a bit past this game. But, if they are doing so, things have really gotten out of hand.

Many schools do not admit by major… so the choice of major has no decision on whether to hire a consultant.

Also, there are plenty of good schools with business programs (Emory, Georgetown, ND, etc.) - so let’s not start on the business bashing on this thread (please).

@Coloradomama and @shawbridge thanks for your replies. For the record, my client isn’t really sure what she wants to study in college or with her life after college, as many 17 year olds feel. She likes Math. Lots of people that like Math consider business degrees…or Math degrees. I think both paths can be just fine and can lead to many different careers, both in business, and both not in business.

I agree a math major could be more challenging than a business degree (but maybe not), but that doesn’t have anything to do with the admissions competitiveness.

In many cases, as of lately, it is more difficult to get in to a school’s business school than their liberal arts school (same for engineering). And for schools that offer it, It can be especially challenging to get direct admit to schools like Kenan-Flaglar and Ross (Ross has gotten a little easier as they are now taking most business students as freshman). So if you don’t get direct admit and you really want to go to UNC or Michigan…you might just take your chances. At Wake Forest and UVA, you cannot even apply as a business major until you are a sophomore. So students that want business take their chances.

Why has it gotten so hard to get in to business schools? The demand is there. Students are looking for a what they perceive to be a more practical path to employment. I’m not saying it’s necessarily right, but that is what’s going on.

I have a daughter who is a sophomore at a top ranked business school in the northeast. Her head is spinning from all of the recruitment going on. She already has an offer from a big four for her JUNIOR year summer (even though she is only a sophomore). She is planning on doing the whole interview thing for banking as well (she is doubling in accounting and finance, a popular thing to do these days).

You definitely don’t need a business degree to go in to business and I agree a liberal arts degree has many advantages (critical thinking, creativity, etc.), although most B school programs have very well rounded liberal arts cores, especially at the Catholic colleges. HOWEVER, if you don’t have a natural interest in finance and follow financial market, I don’t see how you could possibly make it through the rigorous “super-day” interview process with the banks. Obviously, there are lots of other business jobs that are NOT financial or on Wall Street, but if you have your sights on Wall Street and you are a liberal arts major, I would think you need to make sure you are in some business clubs, and that you are keeping up with what’s going on in the world of finance because it’s my understanding that this knowledge is tested during the interview process.

With that said, I am not sure all of this professional focus is such a great idea now that I have a daughter going through it. There is a lot of stress involved. She is choosing to double and go still go abroad so she is causing herself more stress than maybe she needs to be

So as it relates to hiring a college counselor for a B school other that Wharton, Stern, or Ross?..might be more necessary than a student applying liberal arts.

The competition is STEEP for programs at Notre Dame, Georgetown, BC, Villanova, USC…Even Kelley at Indiana has much higher standards than the rest of the school (although at Kelley they have GPA and SAT or ACT cut offs). And the recruiting at these schools starts early and is intense. Doesn’t mean it’s the only path to Wall Street…but is surely a popular path these days.

As was stated above, this isn’t a debate over what is better, liberal arts or business. It’s for admissions and the competitiveness for pre-professional programs is steep, often steeper than for liberal arts.

And @Coloradomama for the record my client did apply to Georgia Tech (deferred EA then denied). Case Western would have been a HORRIBLE fit for her as she is looking for a different type of social environment and student body. Villanova, even as a math major, will afford her business opportunities if she decides to pursue business because they have strong recruiting even for non business majors.

Hiring a private counselor…here was my “private counseling” advice to her that I’m not sure she and her mom would have been able to come up with on their own…not that it’s rocket science, but it ended up working:

My Villanova Client:

Because of her mediocre SAT score, she was borderline for liberal arts at Villanova. Not to mention, we knew Villanova would be much harder this year (and it was).

B school would have been a no…not sure they had any idea how much more competitive to get into b school was.

So her other options were Math or Econ in liberal arts (two areas that interest her).

She didn’t do that great in AP Econ in her HS…one of her lower grades and she didn’t do well on the AP so she would not report it on the common ap…not a big deal but the fact that she is leaving it off would lead them to believe it was a 3 or even lower or that she didn’t take it…either way not showing that Econ might be an area she succeeds in.)

She really like Math and has her best grades in Math. Is taking AP Calc now and doing well (as shown on her midyears). THERE IS A PUSH FOR GIRLS IN STEM FIELDS.

She got in to Villanova as a Math major. So it worked. And she is NOT committed to Math. She can switch to Econ (but switching to business might not happen…there’s a slight chance, but small).

So for purposes of this thread, I think the little they paid me (I don’t charge a lot, I’m not in it for the money and don’t believe that charging an insane amount of money is worth it for private college counseling, just my opinion) was worth it. She is thrilled to be going to Villanova, as are her parents.

Not sure she would be going with Villanova if we didn’t strategize the way we did.

@collegemomjam I agree with you, it does sound that your strategizing was helpful to this student! This is a good example of how an expert can help

Thanks @suzyQ7 we felt good about it! And didn’t cost them a fortune.

@collegemomjam, Post #214 is really excellent. My kids are in grad school or done with grad school, so no big issue here. What you are providing is exactly what is needed.

I just spent Passover with my youngest sister and family in a Southern city. My niece (their oldest) has inherited some of the math ability that my father had (brilliant theoretical physicist regarded as a virtuoso mathematician among theoretical physicists), I had some of (PhD in applied math field from top school), and my son has (strong in math among computational and mathematical engineering grad students at top school). She is going to UMich Honors College, I believe, but was the top girl in her private school and won the school’s math prize and in particular said she was most interested in math and physics (though is taking an econ course and is really enjoying it). I reviewed a couple of her essays and suggested she emphasize her interest in math/physics. She didn’t apply to Yale where her father went because she said kids from her school don’t get into Ivies (though I think she applied to Penn). Michigan was always a target as her aunt teaches there. I don’t know her scores, but it was clear at an early age that she had math talent. Her family might have benefited greatly for the kind of strategic advice that you are offering, @collegemomjam.

My son showed me a list of admits to the Stanford Stats department masters program. Thirty kids – half male and half female. Having a 50% female program is probably unusual for STEM-y subjects other than biology or neuroscience, but what was a bit more interesting. The males were evenly distributed across US/Canada, Europe and India/China. Of the 15 females, 14 were Asian (almost all Chinese from the names but maybe a few Koreans and Vietnamese) and one was Eastern European. Of the fourteen Asians, half were from Asia and half were American. This program is not that hard to get into (relative to the Data Science program, which I think had 14 kids of whom two were female or the PhD program). But, what are schools/families/societies telling non-Asian females about studying statistics that leads to such a non-representation? Does the push for girls in STEM fields include Asians?

Thanks @shawbridge. Sounds like your family has quite the strong math gene going on!! That’s great!

Good question about the push for Female Asian Stem majors. I would say it depends on the school. Some schools are more Asian than others. Not to keep bringing up Villanova, but I would think an Asian female applying STEM there might still have an advantage because Asians are not ORM’s at Nova. However, they are at many top schools, so at Penn or Cornell, I’m not sure what would have more of an impact…a bump from being a female applying STEM or would she be disadvantaged for being Asian? Unfortunately, I think being Asian at schools like Penn and Cornell would hurt her more than being a female applying stem…or at least the two would cancel each other out.

It’s an excellent question.

I have two daughters that were top students and neither of them have any interest in science.

In the past, a high proportion of female STEMers are in biology and neuroscience, fields in which the employment prospects are not nearly as strong as in other STEM fields. I’m not sure that is still true.

My daughter was interested in human biology but is social and didn’t want to spend her life working in labs. So, she decided on her own to transfer into nursing and entered a 5 year BSN/MSN program to become a nurse practitioner. At age 23, she is working as primary care NP with her own panel of patients in what appears to be a really well-managed clinic. This is a pretty responsible job for a 23 year-old. Two weeks ago, she tried to persuade a recalcitrant father that he should take his son to the ER because she thought the son had appendicitis. The dad got angry – he thought she was practicing defensive medicine and he didn’t want to pay a big copay and wait around the emergency room and then get sent home hours later – and was berating my daughter. She stayed calm and just said, “OK, but if he has nausea or [symptoms of appendicitis], you really need to take him the the emergency room” and made sure that, even though he was angry, he understood the symptoms. That night, the kid had an emergency appendectomy. I helped her with admissions strategy but am very proud of how well she has pursued her interests and how well she is doing.

@shawbridge you should rightfully be proud. What an admirable profession. What a great profession. She can really help people, earn a good living, and have a balanced life. She made a great decision.

My daughter had an appendectomy a few years ago. It was subtle at first and luckily we had good doctors that saw it coming. Scary stuff. Good doctors and nurses like your daughter save lives.

@shawbridge The push to enroll more women is coming from colleges themselves and all engineering colleges are pretty anxious for more female applicants. Look at engineering programs like Purdue, UIUC, Berkeley UT Austin, Georgia Tech and any college with the word TECH in the title. Asian American and Asian applicants are usually overrepresented in STEM majors, if they are men. Women of all races are underrepresented at most STEM focused schools, except MIT and Harvey Mudd College which both have nearly 50% women now in their undergraduate classes. STEM fields, especially chemistry and engineering, were being pushed in the 1970s up to present day, to high school women. I was one of those women. It did not work out that well for women of my age (57) as most of us were shoved out of engineering careers, when we got pregnant, or once we had childcare difficulties, many of us self selected out of engineering into other careers. I shifted into a career in prior art searching for patent litigation, other of my classmates chose business or psychology or teaching which were more female friendly at the time.

Neurosciences is a very new major. Many schools do not offer this major or its brand new. Its not clear to me what a bachelors degreed neuroscience major would do with such a major, except get a PhD in neuroscience, but physics, chemistry and biology are all similar, need a PhD to do much with it. The difference with physics,biology or chemistry is one can teach high school if one wants to., which a bachelors degree. Physics bachelors degrees lead to engineering positions or computer science positions too.

Neurosciences is a little overspecialized for an undergraduate degree, with few jobs at the end, besides lab tech for a PhD neuroscientist. Or head to medical school ! . I would not recommend girls or anyone do an undergraduate neuroscience major,but there may be others out there that know where the jobs might be. Its a research focused field that requires a PhD. A biology/psychology double major might be better, but then, if one is very sure, one wants to do lab research, on the brain, neuroscience might be a good major. The problem is, if you finish this degree, realize you do not want to become a scientist, the next step would be to go back to school and study something else.

This really isn’t a thread discussing the value of certain majors. Dismissing certain fields, whether stem or humanities, is right next to advocating for pre-professional college studies. Many of us do not feel college majors need to be exclusively about a job and would never discourage a kid with genuine, informed interest. Nor say, at least with X, you could teach hs, unless teaching were a primary interest and skill. Or that pregnancy and family needs might shove you out.

I would not have wanted a private college counselor to tell my D1 what her major ‘should’ be, based on what the PC thought was a job track, unless my kid were focused exclusively on some specific career.

Maybe this thread has exhausted its firepower. It’s certainly gone off track. But we should not discourage bright girls. Many roads can lead to fulfilling careers for those who can think, analyse, contribute, and have proven energy.

Returning to topic after the (hopefully soon removed) commercial break, actually @Coloradomama , neuroscience, and close cousins, are not as new a major as you’d think. While agreed, the field is burgeoning, its precursor, biopsychology was a major for decades.

The username was the obvious tip.

The least expensive is DIY.

But this thread seems to trend to getting a perceived edge.

I think there is plenty of potential left, but the real issue is that ppl in the know ain’t talkin. This is a weakness inherent to any public forum and shows the limits of CC. Ironically, that’s why private counselors exist: access to information that ppl won’t give away for free on the Internet.

As it relates to the topic of this thread…

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

If we’ve deviated off topic at all, it happened because there a relevant point arose, i.e., applying STEM at the advice of a private counselor who might have the background to realize that there are some schools (some, not all) where this could be an advantage (the “experience” part). No one has implied that a student should PRETEND to be interested in STEM to gain an advantage in the admissions process (although it does happen), but at 17 years old there are plenty of students that don’t know exactly what they want to study or be when they grow up, so if a student has an interest in a STEM subject area, it might behoove them to indicate this interest on their application.

Just like all colleges are not equal, neither are all private counselors. Some are helpful and “worth it”, and some are not. Depends on some combination of what they are able to offer their client offset by how much they charge.

@lookingforward I think everyone knows DIY is the least expensive. But, no pun intended with it being tax day, it’s also less expensive to do your own taxes, but many people pay someone to do that because they have more knowledge in the area. It’s cheaper to change your own oil in your car, clean your own house, mow your own lawn. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is worth it and the opportunity cost involved in making decisions on what to spend money on. Sometimes paying a small fee to someone who has more expertise in an area will more than pay for itself, i.e., knowing what schools give a lot of merit aid, or knowing about a new tax law that might entitle someone to more of a refund. It’s kind of like buying a vowel on the Wheel of Fortune.

As with anything else, it just comes down to everyone’s personal needs and wants.

Not sure what the purpose of the “…(hopefully soon removed) commercial break…” were @jym626 but there are more polite ways to get your point across. Most people on these threads have good intentions and try to help each other out…if you feel like a thread has deviated off topic or worse, that someone is trying to use these dialogs for personal financial gain, there is a more respectful way to handle it and not set a negative tone. And in defense of myself and the other private counselors that might use CC, we are typically on the boards because of our passion for the subject matter and to learn new things ourselves to help our clients…many of whom we don’t even charge for our services because we also do a lot of pro bono work.