Do college admissions consultants work? In short, yes, there is a high chance that hiring a college admissions consultant will help your child perform better in the college admissions process. In addition, they will help your child find a college that is a strong fit for them where they can thrive, and help your child to find and improve upon their academic area of focus.
A college admissions consultant helps students with the college preparation process and the college application and college essay process. We’d argue that the most important thing a college admissions consultant can do is to help your child to figure out how they can make themselves stand out during high school. In other words, how is the student taking advantage of opportunities to build up their academic and extracurricular resumes? Many students start as early as 8th, 9th or 10th grade working with a college consultant to help them to use their time in high school wisely and to build strong resumes that will help them stand out.
College admissions consultants also help with the college application and college essay process. This involves helping students to develop an appropriate college list, determine where to apply early, brainstorm and edit the countless college essays, prepare for college interviews, assist them in getting good recommendations, and ensure that a cohesive narrative is communicated in the student’s application materials.
A good college admissions consultant is probably the best investment you will ever make for your child. College admissions consultants work, as in they can dramatically increase your child’s likelihood of admission to their dream schools. An experienced college admissions consultant will help your children to reach their potential. Please note that this means that a seasoned college admissions counselor will guide students to become as competitive as possible in the college application and college admissions process. However, they will also work with your child and coach them to improve their college resumes, their grades, their leadership, their overall narrative and inspire them to develop new interests and extracurricular activities.
All of this said, a college admissions consultant cannot change who your child is. Admissions consultants can motivate students to get better grades, but they cannot control their grades. College admissions counselors can inspire students to expand their extracurricular experiences, but they cannot ensure that students will become someone they are not. What this means is that a good college admissions consultant will be able to guide a student from where they are and will be very transparent while working with your student about what colleges are within reach and what colleges may not be within reach, based upon their achievements and what they can achieve during their time left in high school.
There are several profiles of students who should use college admissions consultants. The first is students who want to attend top 100 colleges. College admissions consultants are not just for students who are aiming for Ivy League schools. They will be beneficial for students looking at a range of top colleges and universities. The entire college admissions process has become so complicated and competitive that it is helpful to have guidance on how to prepare for college and how a student can best present themselves to colleges is crucial.
Most parents who went to college in the U.S. will find that schools that they thought were “safeties” back when they applied now have admission rates that are extremely low. The point is that there is a lot less safe ground in the world of college admissions because so many schools have such low admission rates and such high expectations for those who they admit. A top college admissions consultant is necessary to help students and families to navigate this. In addition, many colleges are engaging in yield protection measures. This is a fancy term for saying that many colleges purposely don’t accept students even if they are high performing. Colleges have artificial intelligence models to predict whether a certain student is likely to attend their school, and if they aren’t predicted to attend, they won’t accept the student even if they have or have exceeded the academic profile they want in their students.
An additional type of client that would best benefit from a college admissions consultant is a family that wants to make sure their child finds the right fit college. This is so important for a student’s college experience. An effective college admissions consultant can help a student and their parents through the process of determining what will be the right academic and social environment in which their child will thrive. Your child is going to be away from home for the first time and the right environment can be pivotal in a student having a meaningful and successful college experience.
Additionally, college admissions consultants can help students with an understanding of what they may want to study. Many high schoolers have no idea what they want to do, which is completely understandable. However, it is important to have some direction on what a student might want to study in college so that they are at a college that will have the right majors and academic opportunities. While most students will change their major in college, the more academic direction a student has before they apply to college, the more likely it is that they will start on the right track.
For students who have a reasonable college list and strong college counselor at their high school, they may be fine not having a private college admissions counselor. Typically, students don’t get that much attention from their high school guidance counselor, they don’t get any advice on a strategic approach to standing out in the process (which is the biggest benefit of hiring a college admissions consultant) and they almost never get help on their application materials. But, for some students, their school guidance counselor and support from parents may be enough.
The truth is that the earlier a student starts working with a college admissions consultant the better. While there is no bad time, and a consultant can help at any time during high school, an ideal time is the beginning of 9thgrade/freshman year of high school. Of course, the beginning of 10th grade is also a reasonable time to start with a college admissions consultant or later if you are only learning about the college process later in high school.
However, the reason that we recommend starting so early is because most of a student’s high school experience is their first three years of high school. Since students apply to college at the beginning of their senior year, the grades, course selection and extracurricular activities that they choose during these three years are crucial. It’s hard for students to achieve leadership roles, advanced coursework, an in-depth narrative for college, awards, etc. if students haven’t gotten started working on these endeavors earlier in high school.
With all of that said, many students begin their work with us junior year or for their college application process and there is still a great deal we can help with at any stage of the process.
Spark Admissions values the client relationship in a way that sets it apart from all other college admissions consulting firms. All of our college consultants are full-time, dedicated, passionate college advisors. They work with students during high school to help them grow both intellectually and interpersonally. We have a proven methodology that continues to get us the best results in the country.
If you are curious to hear more about our process or admissions counseling services, please feel free to contact us here to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our expert college consultant advisors. We look forward to helping you find success in your child’s college admissions process.
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