How Do I Choose a College Admissions Consultant?

September 3, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How Do I Choose a College Admissions Consultant?

With so many options out there, it can be hard to know how to choose a college admissions consultant. Many of their websites look similar, and many of them advertise similar results, but how do you select the best college admissions consultant for you?

At AdmissionSight, we’ve helped thousands of talented students attain their dreams of admission to their dream schools. In many cases, this means gaining admission to the most competitive schools in the country. So, when it comes to the absolute best college admissions consulting, what factors should be look for? First, let’s take a look at the role of college admissions consultants, and what services they provide.

What does a college counselor do?

If you haven’t yet reached high school, but you’ve already set your sights on a competitive university, you need to prepare yourself accordingly. That means creating a detailed road map for success in high school.

As you may be aware, the college admissions process has become more rigorous and more competitive. Top schools are receiving applications from so many talented students that they need more information in order to make their selections, and this means you will need to supply that information.

Consultant talking to a students in a room.

The hard fact is: a 4.0 GPA and a near 1600 SAT score just isn’t enough to guarantee admission to the top schools. This is why college admissions consulting has become so important. At AdmissionSight, we have the knowledge and experience to know what top schools are looking for, and what kinds of applications they prefer.

These days, if you want to be competitive with the top students from around the world, you need every advantage available to you. This is where college counseling comes in.

The first step in the college counselling process is an initial consultation. This can happen at different times during your academic career, but we recommend starting as early as possible in order to maximize your potential.

At AdmissionSight, we often start working with students before they reach high school because many gifted students understand that every moment of high school counts, but there are things you can do even before you get to high school that will give you an advantage later.

The goal of working with students before they reach high school is to build a plan for the student’s high school years, but this preparation can start in middle or even elementary school. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance at being admitted to an Ivy League school, starting early is the best route.

So, what does a college counselor do for a student who has not yet reached high school? The first thing your counselor will want to do is learn about you, your strengths, your interests, and your goals. Not all students are the same, and not all students will follow the same path to an Ivy League acceptance. The goal of the college admissions consultant is to create a unique plan for each student.

At this early stage in the game, you won’t be focusing on how to put together your application yet, but you will learn about valuable skills and opportunities that will help you as you progress through high school.

Not all students are cut out for the Ivy League. But even for high-achieving students, there will be a high level of competition for slots at top schools. If you are a high-achieving student, you need to plan to set yourself apart from your competition. This is where college admission consultants come in.

Things to look for in a college admissions consultant

1. Location

One of the first things you should consider when choosing a college admissions consultant is where the consultant is located. More and more consulting firms are offering online consulting, but some students still prefer a face-to-face situation when dealing with their consultant.

The advantage of using online college consulting is it will allow you to work with college consultants who aren’t in your immediate area. If you want the opportunity to work with the best college admission consultants, being flexible will give you more options.

2. Research backgrounds

If you Google, how to select the best college admissions consultant, you will likely find a lot of results. But how do you know who to choose? This is why doing research is so important. You will find that different consultants have different approaches to the best way to approach the preparation and application process.

Prior to committing to a college admissions consultant, you need to ask yourself some important questions. These questions should help you refine your search and find the right consultant for you.

First, you need to know what your ultimate goals are. Do you have a particular school in mind, and you want to find a specialist who knows how to get students into that school? Or are you looking for someone who will work with you to find the right fit for you? Different students have different needs, and this is why researching college admissions consultants is so important.

3. How much access will you have?

If you’re wondering how to choose a college admissions consultant, you will want to get a sense of how much access to them you need, and how much access they offer. Some consultants have a set program for you to follow with regular check-in meetings, while other will give you the opportunity to talk, email, or text at any time.

We’ve already discussed the advantages of using a college admissions consultant who does virtual sessions, but it’s also important to know how often you can reach out to them. Keep in mind that the college admissions process can be complicated and unpredictable. You may find that you have questions suddenly pop up, and you need an answer as quickly as possible. Is your college consultant open to you emailing them after regular business hours or on the weekend? This can be an important factor for many students and having a great deal of access to your consultant can help lower your stress level.

4. Do they treat you like an individual?

As you research college admissions consultants, you will likely come across college admission consultant reviews. Some of these reviews can be extremely helpful because you can get a better sense of what actual students think about the services they received.

Young female student smiling at the camera.

College admission consultant reviews are also a great way to gauge whether or not the service in question prioritizes the individual goals of students. Some college admissions consultants are more concerned with their own track records, and as a result, they tend to push high achieving students towards the most prestigious schools.

For some students, this matches their personal goals, but the most prestigious school isn’t always the right fit for every student. In order to get a sense of which schools are right for you, your college admissions consultant should spend a great deal of time getting to know you, your goals, and your priorities.

Too often, college admissions consultants will see a fantastic transcript and a great list of activities and assume that the student should go to the best school they can get into. But the best college admissions consultants know that finding the right school isn’t about getting you into the “best” school; it’s about getting you into the best school for you. This is why it’s so important that your consultant treats you like an individual rather than just a great GPA.

5. What do they actually offer?

The best college admissions consultants are comprehensive. They know that successfully getting into the school of your dreams isn’t a matter of any one factor, and they will offer you a road map that includes all of the different factors that will determine your success.

If you’re wondering how to choose a college admissions consultant, the key is finding a consultant who offers help from the beginning of the process to the end.

One of the roles of a good college admissions consultant is to help you narrow your focus. You may have done research on schools, and you have come up with a list of schools that you are interested in. When you meet with your college admissions consultant, they should be able to give you additional information about these schools, and whether they are the right fit for you and your goals.

Get ALL of the services you need

College admissions consulting should encompass a number of different components, and these will constitute your college admissions roadmap. You may find that some counselors focus more on refining your essays, while other will focus more on making your common app as good as possible, but ideally, your college admissions consultant will guide you from the very beginning of the process all the way to your acceptance letter. So, what does this look like?

Your college list

When you meet with a consultant, you may already have a list of schools in mind. The first goal of a college admissions consultant is to look at your interests and give you guidance about whether these schools will actually be a good fit for you. They may also give you recommendations for schools that you may not have considered that they think will fit your needs.

Female student typing in her laptop.

Once you’ve spent time with your consultant figuring out which colleges are the best fit, you will have a final college list. This list will allow you to prepare for the admissions process in several ways. First, you will be able to prepare for how many supplemental essays you will need to write.

The common app is an amazing tool for applying to different colleges without having to fill out countless different applications, but many schools require supplements to the common app that must be submitted. You will also have a chance to prepare for the expense of applying to all of these schools. Most schools have an application fee between $60 – $85, but most schools offer a fee waiver option.

Strategy

When it comes to how to choose a college admissions consultant, you need to make sure that they will offer you a complete strategy for your application and the remainder of your high school career. This means deciding whether or not to send your SAT/ACT scores if the school has a test-optional policy, but it also means figuring out which classes to take in your senior year to prove that you are taking the most challenging coursework.

Your college admissions consultant will also go over your extracurricular activities to make sure you are presenting them in the best way possible. The best college admissions consultants know that how you present yourself is a big part of success. College admissions agents have to make their decisions without knowing everything about you, so your application needs to show them the absolute best you.

Application and essay review

Once you’ve chosen your schools, written your common app, and responded to all of the required supplemental questions, you need an objective expert who can go through every part of your application and make sure it as the best it can be.

Young woman looking out the window while holding her glasses.

Because schools have become so competitive, every detail matters. College admissions counselling is about making sure that your application stands out from the pack. In order for this to happen, you need a consultant who knows exactly what college admissions agents are looking for. A detailed review of your application and essays will ensure that any errors are corrected, and that you have included everything you need in order to properly tell your unique story.

Master the interview

Not all schools offer interviews, but if you have the opportunity to do an on-campus interview or alumni interview, it can greatly improve your chances of admission. This is a chance for the school to see you as an actual living breathing human being. But unfortunately, many students don’t yet realize that interviewing is a skill that you must learn and practice.

Female student facing her interviewer in a room.

 

In your sessions, your college admissions consultant can help prepare you for your interview by helping you anticipate the questions you will be asked and how to best respond. They will also offer you the ability to practice your interview with an actual person. This can help in a variety of ways, including helping you prepare for the pressure of college interviews.

Look at the consultant’s track record

How long has your college consultant been working with students? What kind of actual results have they achieved? Look at the bios of the counseling staff to see their experience. Many college admissions counselors have a background working in the college admissions field, and these counselors have first-hand experience reading and evaluating applications.

You may also find testimonials on their websites. College admissions consultant reviews can be especially helpful because you get to hear from actual clients. You can see if the counselor’s services resulted in acceptance letters. And you can get a very good sense of how students felt about the overall consulting process.

Find the right consultant for you

Ultimately, your goal is to take your potential and use it to get into your dream school. In order to do this with confidence, you need to know how to choose a college admissions consultant. So, let’s recap what you should be looking for, and how to select the best college admissions consultant for you.

First, you need to do your due diligence and make sure your consultant will make your success their priority.

Second, you need to make sure you will be getting a complete strategy based on wherever you are in your high school career.

Third, you need to make sure they offer all of the services you need in order to be successful.

Fourth, you need to research their background to make sure they have the appropriate experience and a track record of success.

Fifth, and perhaps most important, you need to make sure you are comfortable with your consultant and feel as though they truly care about your goals and plans. Every college consultant will have a slightly different approach based on what they think works best. You need to make sure their style and approach are compatible with you. If it’s not, move on.

The role of the college admissions counselor is a big one. From planning your high school course schedule to informing you of valuable opportunities, to a detailed edit of your application and essay. It’s a complicated process, but the experts at AdmissionSight have been guiding extraordinary students through the process for years. Our results speak for themselves.

If you would like to speak to a qualified college admissions counselor, contact AdmissionSight today to schedule your free consultation. In this one-hour session, we’ll explain our technique and how we will craft a plan that is designed specifically for you. Once you sign on with AdmissionSight, we’ll guide you through the whole process from beginning to acceptance.

 

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