How To Choose Your College Consultant

In this day and age of ultra-competitive college admissions, more and more families are looking for independent counselors to help their families navigate this Byzantine process. Whether you’re looking for someone to guide your eighth grader through high school or support your junior as they compile the college application itself, there are a few key criteria that can help you decide which college consultant is right for you and your family.

  • Does your college consultant tell you the truth?

You’re hiring your college consultant for their knowledge of admissions, so any college consultant worth their fee should be willing to tell you the truth, regardless of whether it’s welcome, uncomfortable, or brutal. No one is doing anyone any favors by pretending a student has a chance at getting into a school that their grades have locked them out of, or that you’ve done enough when an extra letter of recommendation would really make a difference. The truth about your family’s situation, as soon as it is known to your consultant, is always the best policy and will ensure the best possible results for your student.

  • Does your college consultant reduce your stress?

Reducing the stress inherent in the admissions process is likely the number one reason, by far, families engage with independent consultants. If that’s so, then make sure they will actually fulfill that promise! Does the consultant give you up-to-date information? Do they anticipate what your student and family will need to do before it needs to be done? Do they make sure that the only work you need to do is the work you actually NEED to do? 

  • Does your college consultant plan for the endgame?

Every action, every piece of advice, every thought in the college admissions process are all in the service of one goal: perfecting the final application. In order to achieve this, independent consultants should have an idea of what that final application could be from the first time they meet with a student and refine that idea with every subsequent meeting. Make sure that the advice you receive seems directed by a single mind, not a scatterbrained opportunist.

  • Is your college consultant ambitious?

Independent college consultants are at their best when they inspire their students to reach heights few others thought possible. Every student has their target range of schools, and while you prepare for the worst-case scenario with safety schools, consultants push students to achieve their reach schools. It may, and likely will be a challenge unlike anything your student has ever faced, the results will be well worth it, either with that treasured acceptance letter from a dream school or with life skills earned and internalized. If a consultant isn’t actively pushing your student to be a better version of themselves, are they really worth the money?

  • Can your college consultant produce results?

No college counselor, either independent or school-based, can guarantee that a student will get into any given college. That said, independent consultants should be notable for achieving results as they mentor their charges. Whether through matching personality and communication style or through a tried-and-true system of monitoring students’ work, the key to putting together an ambitious application with the least amount of stress is the ability to ensure students get things done. If they can’t, what was the point of working with them in the first place?

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Tags: Higher Education, College, College Counseling, College Admissions, College Applications, College Counselors, College Consultants, Athletics, Athletes, Student-Athletes, Athletic Recruitment, College Test Prep, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, Summer Planning, Sports, Sports Recruitment, Stress Reduction