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Most high school students have extremely limited access to direct guidance during the college admissions process. According to The New York Times, during the 2015-2016 school year, every public school counselor in the U.S. was assigned to an average of 470 students! That doesn’t leave much time for one-on-one support as you figure out how to complete your FAFSA, decide which extracurriculars improve your chances of college admission, and what application strategies can help you stand out in a sea of other excellent students. College admissions consultants, or college coaches, can help fill that gap, and give you a major advantage in finding the school of your choice.
To find the best college admissions consultant for your needs, jump into our state-by-state directory of quality consulting agencies.
A college admissions consultant is a hired expert who can help you navigate the complex landscape of college admissions. College admissions consultants may operate independently or as part of admissions consulting groups and agencies. College admissions consultant companies vary widely in size and service offerings, and may operate either local to your state and region, or may be part of a national network of consultants.
For tips on selecting a college admissions constants that matches your needs, check out our conversations with college consultant and admissions expert David Nguyen of NextLevelPrep, who advises on How to Choose a College Admissions Consultant.
A college admissions consultant provides direct support to students and families as they navigate the sometimes complex college admissions process. Consultants typically perform a wide range of services. These services can vary widely, but often include counseling on how to improve your odds of getting into the schools of your choice, support in writing your college essays and personal statements, SAT/ACT test preparation, direction through the scholarship and financial aid processes and more.
One of the primary reasons to hire a college admissions consulting company is because the experts who work in this field have a strong understanding of the types of courses, grades, extracurriculars, test scores, and personal statements college admissions officers are looking for. This insight gives you a better chance at making the right impression with the college of your choice. And college admissions consultants who provide test preparation can significantly improve your performance on SAT/ACT exams, which can raise your odds of earning scholarships and getting into the higher-tiered schools on your list.
This depends on your goals. If you simply need support during the test prep and application process, you can begin your relationship with a consultant during your junior year of high school, just as the college search process really heats up. However, there are some college consulting groups that will begin working with families as early as 8th or 9th grade, guiding students on their academic focus, course selection, extracurriculars, community service, and more. This type of full-service consultation is generally very costly, but the goal is to provide students and families with a complete road map that leads directly to a top college.
The price for college admissions consultation can vary widely depending on the type of company and the nature of services you seek. From one-time seminars to weekly consultation to hands-on guidance for the entirety of your high school education, you have a lot of options. Simply stated, the higher the level of service you seek, the more you’ll spend.
For a look at the pricing landscape, check out college consultant and admissions expert David Nguyen’s ranking of The Best College Admissions Consulting Agencies.
Yes! If you have access, this extra level of support can genuinely provide you with insight into the admissions process and enhance your odds of admission. And most importantly, you won’t be alone during the arduous process of applying to colleges. While your high school guidance counselor can literally spend no more than a few minutes a semester on your admissions process, your consultant will be directly invested in your success. This can make a major difference in where you end up earning your undergraduate degree.
Yes, you can trust college admissions consulting. That’s why we list only companies that are recognized by agencies and associations such as Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC). These independent agencies provide oversight and certification, ensuring that members adhere to all appropriate legal, ethical, and commercial standards both on behalf of consumers and within the higher education infrastructure. Consulting companies listed in their directories may be considered trustworthy and legitimate.
For more on how you can safely and effectively navigate the college admissions consulting landscape, check out college consultant and admissions expert David Nguyen’s Confessions of a College Prep Consultant.
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Learn more with a look at our Guide to the College Admissions Process.
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