Private College Admissions Counselors & Independent Educational Advisors: Should I Consider One?

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

For professional fees ranging from hundreds to many thousands of dollars, private college admissions counselors 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

  • Architect a solid application & admissions package

  • Edit your admissions essays

  • Practice for interviews

  • Stay organized and on task

While private college admissions counselors can be a great resource to provide guidance and navigational expertise,  most people can navigate the process on their 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.

There are thousands of college 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.  Keep in mind that “expertise”  can vary greatly among private counselors.

While many people find private advisors extremely worthwhile, keep in mind that the counselors cannot assure admission, no matter what they promise.

Finally, private counselors can, on occasion, work to your disadvantage. Some college admission people say they can spot applications polished and packaged by professional counselors and they view them with an unfavorable bias.

Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe, and founder of Admission By Design, a college consultancy that assists students worldwide, is a Professional Member of IECA and a HECA Member.
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