When Jo-Anne Knysh first started considering her daughter Sara’s college admissions process, she found herself in foreign territory.
Originally from Canada, Jo-Anne and her husband knew nothing about U.S. colleges, and even less about the admissions process here. Sitting poolside during Sara’s high school water polo practice, Jo-Anne heard a friend mention professional advisors.
“I was asking other parents for advice and one mother told me she’d hired someone,” says Jo-Anne who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and two daughters. Soon after, she discovered College Coach. “It sounded like a great idea.”
How College Admissions Counseling Made Mom's Life Easier
A College Coach advisor appealed to Jo-Anne for a number of reasons. First, there was the expertise. Having someone well-versed in the admissions process meant Jo-Anne, a busy full-time finance professional, didn’t have to spend the little free time she had scoping out thousand-page college guides and learning the ropes.
But Jo-Anne says there was also the matter of removing her from the role of taskmaster. As any parent knows, being designated the whip cracker can cause significant household friction, especially when tasks are left undone.
“My kids were always very good students, and I never had a huge problem getting them to do homework or passing in assignments on time,” says Jo-Anne. “But the idea that I didn’t have to nag them…that I wasn’t the one after them to get the essay written…that was really appealing. It wasn’t my number one thing, but it was a nice benefit.”
The College Admission Consulting Process Started Sophomore Year
The family first sat down with College Coach at the end of Sara’s sophomore year. The timing was perfect, says Jo-Anne, because it allowed Sara to fully benefit from the advisor’s expertise on course selection and extracurricular activities for junior and senior year.
It also gave her plenty of time to create her college list. Scoping out a handful of schools from a cast of thousands is a painstaking process that requires extensive conversations about preferences and goals. “Our advisor was a great interviewer,” says Jo-Anne. “She really understood the right questions to ask.” Jo-Anne also credits the advisor for terrific advice about visiting techniques. For Sara, for example, school spirit was a must and she was advised to keep an eye out for how many students were wearing school colors around campus.
Applications Were Submitted Before Deadlines
When application time arrived, Sara was thoroughly prepared. She narrowed the field to a handful — Loyola, Fordham, University of Seattle, Georgetown, USC, and University of Michigan — and because of her early start, finished her applications well ahead of deadline. Ultimately, she accepted a spot at the University of Michigan.
Jo-Anne calls the experience a complete success. Sara’s happy experience on her campus of choice speaks for itself. But Jo-Anne got a considerable amount from the arrangement as well. For starters, the peace-of-mind factor was enormous. All through senior year, Jo-Anne says, she and Sara heard sad stories from do-it-yourself families who had missed crucial deadlines — and hence the chance to apply to a top-choice school — or made careless errors that resulted in a denial. “We heard about kids not doing their best, kids who were unprepared,” she says. “And I never had to worry about that.”
College Consulting Brought Success for the Whole Family
So pleased with College Coach, Jo-Anne signed on again when her younger daughter Alison finished her sophomore year two years later. Like Sara, Alison accepted a spot at the University of Michigan. Jo-Anne has no doubt that her daughter is in the right place.
“The advisors are really good at guiding students toward decisions that are right for them,” she says. From an investment perspective, that makes really good sense. “Given what you’ll pay for a four-year education,” says Jo-Anne, “You don’t want to end up in a place that won’t be good for you.”