Understanding a student’s goals. A college consultant should begin by working with students on determining their higher education goals. Sometimes they may be clear and sometimes a student may have no idea and the college counselor should know how to work with the student on uncovering their goals. Are they interested in only schools ranked highly for computer science or are they more interested in a campus life with incredible school spirit, for example? Do they have their mind set on attending a university on the east coast or are they willing to attend whichever school is best fit for them regardless of location? In summary, understanding a student’s goals requires a multifaceted approach. Seasoned admissions consultants will understand that students’ and families’ goals are changing throughout high school as the student grows and develops. The consultant should be adept at providing concrete guidance while being adaptable to changing goals in order to tailor guidance that aligns with a student’s unique aspirations and preferences for college.
Planning and strategy. A successful college admissions consultant will help you navigate the inherent overlap of both the strategy/development and college application phases. The strategy/development phase includes what a student does during high school. Since high school students are applying at the beginning of senior year, they really only have three years of high school to develop their activities, summer plans, and unique attributes that they will be presenting to colleges as part of their “story.” The application phase relates to preparing for college applications, which includes figuring out the right list of colleges, going on visits, preparing for standardized testing and then, of course, narrowing down the list and completing the applications and essays for each of the schools. It is important to select a college admissions counselor that can help you with every detail of both parts of this admissions process simultaneously.
Determining and developing interests. Working with a student on determining their interests or potential interests and starting to work on building their resume in a way that best supports their academic narrative. The best college admissions consultants will help you navigate the fact that your child is applying to college to study something and that colleges love to hear about their academic interests. More often than not, students aren’t sure what they want to study (and that’s fine), but it is important to have some sort of idea (even if it changes) for the application process, as colleges really care about this.
Regular check-ins. It is important that the consultant and the student/family schedule regular check-ins so that students can continue to progress on their plan and understanding that the plan will likely shifts and evolves over time. Check-ins could involve helping with obtaining summer internships, adding a new extracurricular activity, changing academic interests, changing high school classes or adding schools to a college list, among numerous other topics. A top college consultant will keep you on schedule and will give you advice for each step along the way.
Helping a student with the arduous college application and essay process. The end of the process is all about narrowing down the college list, the consultant providing assistance with brainstorming and supporting students while they write the copious amount of essays for the specific colleges, and getting recommendations and what they should emphasize. Consultants also help with determining if there is anything supplemental you would like to submit to show your strengths, and determining a strategy for early applications. This is an incredibly busy time and you need to make sure that your consultant will have ample availability in the summer and fall of your senior year to support you with every detail of the application and essay process.
Every family has different thoughts on when they should start and we have a deep respect for that. The process is stressful and families should decide when it feels right for them. Some families want support throughout high school, while others don’t want students’ high school experiences to revolve around college and want to start thinking about college later in high school. With that said, the earlier you start, the more a college counselor can help you. At Spark, we offer personalized packages for students beginning in 8th grade all the way through 12th grade.
Spark Admissions distinguishes itself as a leading college admissions consultancy, offering individualized, expert support to help students achieve admission to their dream schools. Our holistic approach to the college admissions process is characterized by a deep commitment to helping develop and understand each student’s individual strengths, aspirations, and academic goals. We have a deep understanding that guidance is only truly beneficial if it serves a student’s individualized needs.
Our ultimate goal is to provide the personalized guidance that allows for a student to find the best-fit school for them and become a competitive applicant. College admissions consulting is not a one-size-fits-all process, and we acknowledge that in all that we do. Our team of full-time, expert college consultants possesses extensive insider insights into current admissions trends, strategic application approaches, and a keen understanding of the specific criteria that college admissions officers seek in prospective applicants. The advantages of partnering with our consulting team are plentiful—a proven track record of success and client satisfaction, a comprehensive range of consulting services covering all aspects of the college application process, and a dedication to individualized guidance and strategic support. If you would like to learn more about “the Spark Advantage,” don’t hesitate to connect with us here for an initial complimentary consultation.
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