Prep school admission consult recommendations?

Hi everyone,

I’m wondering if anyone can recommend an experienced consultant to help my son with his high school application. He’s hoping to get in either Middlesex School or Concord Academy, both are near our home. He is a smart kid, but those are competitive schools.

Thank you!

The process was not difficult. Do people really hire consultants?

Consultants are super helpful in finding schools that would be a good match – iow, in crafting a list. They can help you figure out how best to present yourself and they may be able to connect you to good resources for SSAT prep. But if you already have your school list and feel like they can "make it happen " you are likely to be disappointed.

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I am curious what kind of help with applications consultants give. It’s one thing to help narrow down a list because they have knowledge of what might be a good fit, but when I hear “consultants” and “application help” I think of the college admissions scandal documentary.

A private school admissions consultant will help your child figure out what he or she likes best and suggest how to develop those interests further. They will also help fill any gaps in your student’s resume, such as finding options for community service or academic enrichment over the summer and school breaks.

got that from google. doesn’t seem like anything you couldn’t do yourself. probably not worth the money.

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I pm’d you with two names. As I said no personal experience with them but recommended in my circle.

In addition to a list of schools, consultants can remind students to work on the application so that parents don’t have to nag. They can ask questions and help brainstorm. In other words, it helps preserve the parent relationship at just the time when teens want to be independent from parents. This can turn into a big issue if the teen applying is a procrastinator.

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Thanks so much everyone for responding. I really appreciate the input.

Maybe I started the thread with some confusions. Owlfoxmama9 really spoke my mind. We are looking for a professional to guide him through this process, without us parents constantly nagging and pestering. We both work busy jobs and really don’t want school application to become a focal point in our family time together. In addition, prep school applications nowadays are a totally different game from 30 years ago. We wouldn’t know what to do even we want to help.

Now a bit more about my son-- He went to a very small private school in Concord for elementary school, but that wasn’t hard to get in :). After finishing 5th grade, he wanted to test the water in a public middle school which offers more activities (sports, orchestra, etc) so we enrolled him in the middle school in our town. He is doing overall well. He is academically strong and is taking 8th grade math (He is in 6th grade.). His interest is broad (lacrosse, violin…) but I can’t say he is going to become an amazing athlete or musician.

We feel an educational consultant can help identify his strength and interest, and maybe guide him towards things he may excel or need to work on. We are not expecting to find someone who can “make it happen”! He used to have an advisor in his small school in Concord, but now he is a little lost in a school with over 300 students. He wants to try Middlesex and CA because we used to drive by their campuses all the time, and both schools are nearby. We are not interested in boarding schools and want to keep him home a little longer. They are certainly hard to get in but they do admit day students from local towns every year.

Thanks again everyone for all the helpful information!

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This!!!
We hired a consultant. We already had our shortlist of schools before we hired her. We were allowed to purchase the ‘consultant very light’ package, which I felt that they only offered us when we politely declined their $$$$ full monty package.
We hired her to help our kid brainstorm topics for essays and then read and discuss them before submission. This had been a source of stress in our household and we were grateful to be able to remove ourselves from this chore with our typically conscientious, hard-working teen.
The consultant also did a practice interview with kiddo with some pointers.

The full monty package did include ‘advocating for your child with the school’ so I’m guessing that they speak with AO at each school after the application deadline. We did not pay for this and I have no idea if schools called the consultant about our kid. Somehow I doubt it.

I’m grateful that we hired her, just to preserve our sanity and the relationships in our house. She didn’t offer any mind-blowing insights (honestly, there is more up to date and relevant knowledge on this site) although she did encourage us to add a couple of schools to our list of only tippy top schools.

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I’m glad you shared this because I was a bit curious about something when Kiddo applied to schools several years ago…there were a few schools that had “interest” cards or information pages to request info on their websites. A few of these schools did have an item line for stating the name and phone number of your child’s educational consultant.

When we made the NE tour with kiddo several years ago we met a consultant from overseas who told his he charges $40K per student.

For cheaper rates and the inside scoop, please DM me (LOL) :money_mouth_face:

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A couple of thoughts. For anyone with a non-finance background, a consultant can really help with the financial aid process.

If your child is older, grade 9 and up, having your child do the research and drive the process themselves is a tremendously rewarding and empowering experience for the child.

If your child is in athletics, I can see where a consultant can help putting together film, approaching coaches.

BUT, buyer beware. There are no guarantees as to results.

I do believe schools react much more favorably to the child being proactive in the process.

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This is something GCs from K-8 schools will do. However, they are doing it for all the students and IMO there is a little bit of politics that goes around.

If you are looking at staying as a day student (not really looking for schools) I don’t think a consultant is necessary. Schools have info sessions that walk you through the application processes (good during 7th grade), as do test prep sites like Test Innovators (that is a grate resource). Choose depth over breadth in terms of activities. Anything done in earnest will come through and I believe that is what the schools look for in the end. Work hard (like a regular kid, not skipping grades and stuff), be curious.

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Based on the name, I assume that you are in Massachusetts. I didn’t use them for secondary school admissions but instead for college admissions help in drafting/proofreading essays and the like, but Spark Admissions near Boston does prep school admissions help. If their help with secondary schools is anything like the college admissions process, I would highly recommend them. Had I known how absurdly competitive admissions to secondary schools were, we would have definitely used some sort of service like Spark–I went into the boarding school process a bit blind and ending up getting really lucky with my results.

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We used a highly recommended consultant for kiddo 1 but will not use him/one for kiddo 2. I do think they can be helpful for families that aren’t familiar with boarding schools and the application process, but ours didn’t seem to offer much more than what we already knew. Kiddo didn’t need any help with essay ideas or editing and while she did a little interview prep work with him, she would have done fine without it. We don’t think that her admissions results were any better using him than they would have been without him. Kiddo 2 would benefit from essay brainstorming and interview practice, but we’ll just do that with him on our own.

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Our kid’s current school goes through 12th, and it is extremely unusual for anyone to go to BS for high school. They’re just not equipped to guide students looking to move on, so we had absolutely no help from our current school. Nor do we know anyone at BS right now who has gone through this recently.

The consultant came as a recommendation from a friend. And the full package wasn’t even half the price of the above mentioned international student consultant but our eyes still bulged out of our head at the cost.

I get the feeling that if your kid has some unique circumstances (disciplinary issues, missing grades/years, learning differences) then the consultant might offer some useful insights, if you can afford it. These consultants market themselves as having long term relationships with the schools and it is in everyone’s interest to have students apply/attend schools where they can thrive and be successful.

In hindsight, we probably didn’t need a consultant but I’ll never know since we cannot go back and do it all again without one (thank goodness, I don’t want to go through that again). I do know that on A10, when we called her to discuss our kiddos results, she said that it was a challenging year for her clients.

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Thank you! I heard of them before and remember they’re in Brookline. Will definitely give them a call. We are basically clueless about the prep school application process, and could definitely use some help. Although everyone here is also super helpful!

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