Private College Admissions Counselors: Do I Need One?

You’ve probably heard success stories about students who have hired private admissions counselors and you may be wondering if a private advisor would be a smart investment.

For professional fees ranging from hundreds to many thousands of dollars, a consultant can help you:

  • Identify your interests and strengths
  • Find “good fit” colleges in all categories (e.g. reach, match, safety)
  • Develop an admissions strategy (e.g. hook, supporting activities)
  • Suggest curriculum, special programs, activities, SAT tutors
  • Engineer a solid application & admissions package
  • Edit your admissions essays
  • Practice for interviews
  • Stay organized and on task

While a private college admissions consultant can be a great resource to provide guidance and navigational expertise, most students can achieve good results on your own with the assistance of your school counselor and other resources such as those found on InLikeMe.

Hiring a private counselor is a personal decision based on your needs and pocketbook. Assess the resources available (or lacking) from your high school’s guidance office and decide whether or not you need additional or more personal assistance.

If you consider hiring an outside advisor, ask for references from prior clients with situations similar to yours. Inside knowledge, experience and “expertise” vary greatly among private counselors. There are thousands of counselors – ranging from solo practitioners to larger practices offering a variety of services from specific assistance (e.g. essay polishing) to multi-year coaching packages.

Some advisors are members are members of industry groups such as National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).

While many people find private advisors extremely worthwhile, keep in mind that they cannot assure admission, no matter what they promise. Finally, private counselors can, on occasion, work to your disadvantage. Some college admissions people say they can spot applications polished and packaged by professional counselors and they view them with an unfavorable bias.

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