What to Look For in a College Admissions Consultant

The college admissions process is a complicated undertaking, one in which professional assistance can make the difference between the elation of an acceptance…and the disappointment of a denial. But finding the right higher education consultant can itself be a challenge. Without industry regulation, college consulting is an open field; many come to the industry with only high school guidance counselor experience (which, even among the best guidance counselors, isn’t as relevant as experience in the decision-maker’s chair) or no experience at all. Here are some things to consider as you begin your search:

Experienced Higher Education Consultants

  • What is the consultant’s background?
  • Does he/she have experience in a college admissions office?
  • Where?
  • For how long?
  • Has the consultant read applications and, most importantly, made admit decisions?
  • How long has he/she been consulting?
  • How many students has he/she worked with?

The College Consultant's Approach

  • Will the consultant provide a timetable and plan of action for your applications?
  • Is the consultant able to answer questions outside his/her specific area of expertise?
  • If not, does he/she have someone to consult?
  • How do you resolve questions about approach (e.g., on essay topics, whether or not to pursue Early Action at a given university, demonstrating interest, etc.)?
  • Can the consultant set up mock admissions interviews with other professionals?
  • Does the consultant have knowledge of a broad range of campuses throughout the U.S.?
  • What resources does the consultant have to stay current in the field?

Success Rate of the College Admission Consultant

  • What does the consultant guarantee? (Be very wary of anyone who guarantees. There are no guarantees in college admissions.)
  • What is the consultant’s track record with students similar to the one seeking a consultant?
  • How does the consultant measure success?
  • Can prospective students talk to a previous student/parent as a reference?

Company Structure and Support Resources

  • How long has the office been in business?
  • How many higher education admissions consultants does the office have?
  • Who will be working with your student?
  • Will you be working with one person exclusively or with a team of people?
  • Will you have access to an alternative consultant if you are unhappy?
  • Does the office have support staff to provide administrative customer service?
  • What contingency plans are in place for service delivery if a consultant is not available?

Location and Service Delivery

  • What is the consultant’s availability?
  • Where is the consultant located?
  • How will you be consulting (in person/by phone/online)?
  • How frequently will the student and consultant meet/be in contact?
  • Is the consultant available between scheduled meetings?
  • Is there a mechanism for contact in case of emergency?
  • How quickly can the student expect an answer to emailed questions?
  • How long is the consultant’s turnaround for things like essay reviews?

The Cost of College Consultants

  • How much does the consultant charge?
  • Does the consultant charge a fee per session or a fee for overall service?
  • Are there any additional fees?
  • Is there a grace period during which you can get a refund if you’re unhappy?
  • Does the cost include any scholarship-search advice/financial expertise?

Contact us to learn about our college consultants and service offerings.