Spark Admissions FAQ

An admissions consultant (also known as a college counselor or admissions coach) is a trained professional who can advise you in creating the most competitive application to the school of your dreams. A good admissions consultant will guide you to identify the perfect schools, build up a stellar resume, craft exceptional application essays, and stand out from other applicants. An admissions consultant should also alleviate stress, offer unique academic and extracurricular opportunities to you, and help preserve family relations by serving as a guiding voice through the admissions process.

Spark Admissions is the top-rated college admissions consulting firm in the country.  Please read our detailed explanation of why Spark is unique. We are a small, boutique firm of seven consultants working closely together to ensure that all of our clients receive exceptional advice and service.  In addition, we are led by Harvard doctorate Rachel Rubin, who is a worldwide leader in the field of college admissions research.  In 2012, Dr. Rubin received worldwide media coverage for her groundbreaking studies on how the 75 most selective U.S. colleges and universities make admissions decisions

At Spark Admissions, we provide thoughtful, personalized advice to students and their families on the entire application process. As a team of experienced higher education professionals, we know what competitive schools are seeking and will help you craft and tell a unique story. At Spark, we know that you’re taking one of the biggest, most exciting steps in life, and we’re here to ensure you reach your academic, personal, and career goals. At Spark, we develop individualized application strategies for each of our students to create an authentic, compelling, and unique application. Our holistic approach provides students support and guidance through every step of the process and enables our students to get the stellar results they desire.

We know that the most competitive applications are the ones that showcase a student’s whole self, from academics to personal passions to future goals. We believe that to present a comprehensive application, you need a comprehensive admissions consultant. That’s why each of our consultants works with students on every aspect of the admissions process, including choosing courses and extracurriculars, planning summers, developing a list of schools, preparing for interviews, writing application essays, and so much more. Once you begin working with us, your personal counselor will map out a clear and comprehensive plan to get you where you want to be.

Absolutely! While we are based in the Boston area, we work with students and families all over the country—and the world. We provide personalized guidance about high school courses and extracurricular opportunities wherever you may be. We are fortunate to live in a time with excellent electronic communication. No matter if your high school is public or private, IB or online, in Massachusetts or Japan, we will help you make a plan to maximize your high school experience, produce exceptional application materials, and gain acceptance to the best school for you. Our clients who work with us remotely have the same level of success and report the same level of satisfaction with our services as our Boston-based clients.

Spark Admissions is committed to working with any and all students applying to American colleges and universities and U.S. private schools. Our consultants have worked with numerous international students and are well-versed in the unique requirements of this process, as well as the specific concerns and questions that international students face when applying to U.S. schools. We frequently help international students apply to American colleges (as both first-year and transfer students), graduate programs, and private boarding schools.

We match students with the best counselor for their needs. We each work with a limited number of families to ensure that we provide the personalized attention that each student needs and deserves. All of our team members share the same approach and experience, which ensures we all achieve the same excellent results. We also meet as a team regularly to discuss the needs of each student; therefore, all of our clients receive the collective guidance of our team’s experience, while having a deep, one-on-one relationship with their consultant. You can be confident that whomever your consultant is, you’ll be in experienced and capable hands!

Yes! Every member of our team works one-on-one with students and families. Dr. Rubin and Rachel Blankstein also meet personally with every member of our team about every student, individually as well as during regular team meetings. So, no matter your Spark consultant, you can rest assured that you are benefiting not only from his or her individual wisdom and experience, but also from the collective expertise of the entire team.

We know better than anyone how busy students are these days, which is why we’re always available to meet at your convenience. Whether it’s evenings, weekends, school holidays, or even first thing in the morning, our consultants are ready to work with your schedule. And, while we always love meeting our clients in person at our offices, we understand that it may not be feasible, even if you live nearby. That’s why we are also available to speak over the phone or video chat, if and when that’s more convenient for you.

At Spark, we believe that it’s never too early or too late for a student to begin strengthening his or her experiences that will be showcased in college or private school applications. On average, students begin with us during sophomore year for our college admissions consulting service. However, some of our students begin in eighth or ninth grade, seeking advice and guidance on navigating the entirety of high school. In addition, many come to us the summer before senior year, to receive our guidance specifically on the college application process and essays.

Students and families applying to independent and boarding schools find that starting a year in advance is extremely helpful; however, we work with students and families whenever they are ready!

Because different students and families have very different needs, Spark offers several flexible hourly packages for our clients. At the beginning of our engagement, parents will be asked with which aspects of the process they would like our help and we will use our time together accordingly. In the initial consultation, your consultant can talk with you more specifically about your needs and give a general estimate of what you’ll likely need. At the same time, we understand that your needs may change over time, so you can easily move between packages as we work together to develop your unique strategy. For students working with us only on college essays, we do offer essay packages.

At Spark, we strive to offer the best possible service and advice to each and every family, which is why we have small client loads. We pride ourselves on responding to every email within hours, working with each family’s schedule, and providing the highest level of guidance possible to our clients. For those reasons, our consultants effectively “cap” their classes when we feel they’ve reached their limit. In any given year, this is usually around fifteen students, although the exact number depends on each consultant’s unique class.

We know that standardized testing is an important aspect of the admissions process, and we work with students to create the right testing plan for them. While our full-time Spark Admissions counselors do not provide tutoring services themselves, we do have several Spark tutors with whom we partner. These tutors are all closely vetted, trained, and managed to ensure a seamless fit. Our tutors are also in close contact with our admissions counselors to increase goal achievement and minimize stress.

In addition, we help students decide which test to take and when they should take it. We also work with them to create individualized test preparation plans and provide advice on finding effective study resources.

Not at all. We pride ourselves on finding the best fit for each individual student. Spark consultants work with students of all academic backgrounds to help them get into the right college for them.  And, if you don’t know yet what type of school is right for you, we are here to help you explore and understand your options to make the best choice for you personally. While many of our students aim for Ivy League and other highly-ranked schools, others are applying to state universities, liberal arts colleges, or other institutions, like art, film, or music schools or BS/MD programs. In addition, we work with a large percentage of students with learning differences, including ADHD, dyslexia, or executive functioning challenges.

We can’t wait to meet you! Contact us to sign up for a free initial consultation. We will quickly be in touch to schedule a meeting (either in-person or remote) with you and your child. You don’t need to send us anything in advance for this meeting; it’s just a chance for you to get to know us and ask any additional questions you might have. We can get started right away.

sparkadmissionsteamSpark provides customized guidance to help you get into your top-choice schools.