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Every year, many families hire college consultants to help their high school children with the college process.
Families look for experts to reduce their confusion and receive insights about college admissions.
This journey can be overwhelming for families who don’t know where to start.
That’s why we made this guide just for you.
Use these guidelines to help you choose the best college counselor. Make sure your hard-earned money is spent wisely when hiring your college consultant.
List the College Consulting Services You’re Seeking.
College advisors can provide one or more of the following services:
- Exploring and choosing reach, target, and safety schools
- Organizing financial aid
- Helping with the college application (Common App, Coalition App, university portals)
- Providing college essay strategies for the personal statement and supplemental essays
- Interview prep
- Letters of continuing interest
- Getting off the waitlist
- Assembling a portfolio
- Tutoring for standardized tests
You need to know what you’re looking for.
If you’re unsure of which services you’ll need, ask for a free consultation so you can talk to the college counselor and learn more about your pain points. More on free consultations below.
We also highly recommend performing research on the college application process.
Reputation: You Want Your Counselor to Provide Elite Service.
Some college consultants work as individuals; others work for a company. Some work part-time in their cottage business, while others focus on college advising as a brand.
Regardless of size or business structure, the college counselor you hire should have a strong reputation.
- College advising is about expertise and customer service – there are plenty of knowledgeable college admissions consultants out there who lack mentorship skills.
You want to spend your money with a company that doesn’t make you miserable.
How do you learn more about the reputation of a specific college consultant? Check out the following sources.
Reading Google Reviews is one of the best ways to learn about a company’s reputation.
Businesses can’t control who posts a review on their Google My Business page. This provides an unfiltered look at the consulting services.
An exceptional company is willing to make its reviews public – this is a sign that they are confident in letting the world know about their products and customer service.
- When reading these reviews, look for key words that relate to your needs, such as “anxiety,” “service,” “essays,” “mentorship,” and “patience.”
- Also, take a look at who left reviews – many companies will ask their employees to leave reviews. While this isn’t inappropriate, you want to hear from parents and students who shared your struggles.
Word of Mouth
Hearing a review from a trusted source is often the best way to gauge a counselor’s reputation.
You can ask that person questions and get a full review of services.
Be mindful of one important thing:
- There are plenty of good companies you’ve never heard about. Be open to new companies that blend expertise with new ideas.
Visit the “About Us” page and learn about the story of the company.
Does a founder who is passionate about college education lead the company? Or does the college counselor have a practice whose backstory you relate to?
If the story of the company appeals to you, go further down the page and research how the company gives back to the community, partners with reputable organizations, and plans on expanding in the future.
A good college counseling business is one that has a vision and strives to achieve it over time.
In order to provide value to customers and generate buzz, many college consulting companies and advisors will offer a free consultation.
Take advantage of this.
- You might gain value from a free consultation and get a snapshot of how the company does business.
- If you gain nothing from a free consultation and feel it was a waste of time, you now know that you will not be purchasing from the company.
The way a college counselor acts during a free consultation is important to notice.
- How do they act when they’re not getting paid? Are they generous and enthusiastic? Or are they marketing to you without providing any real value?
- Would you want to work with this person over an extended period of time? If you didn’t enjoy the free consultation, you likely won’t enjoy working with them after giving them your money.
How Often Will You and the College Advisor Meet?
Some college counselors will meet with you in person or virtually in steady intervals, say once a month or every other week.
Others will only be available by email or phone.
You need to know your preferred method of communication before you hire a college advisor. Don’t make a hiring decision, only to become frustrated at the frequency of communication.
Is College Advising Performed Virtually or In Person?
In today’s ever-changing technological landscape, parents and students are busier than ever. Usually, parents and students prefer talking over the phone or through an online portal since it saves time.
Virtual appointments also work extremely well because the advisor can pull up documents and research data quickly.
If you’re someone who wants in-person appointments, you need to find a company that will meet you at your home or an agreed-upon venue. Usually, these types of in-person services are extremely expensive in the college counseling space because clients need to pay for the advisor’s time at work and travel.
Whichever your choice, make sure you state your preferences up front.
What Is Your Desired College Advising and Counseling Philosophy?
A college consultant will advise based on prestige, fit, or sometimes both. You need to be clear on what you want before you hire a college advisor.
You should be certain because you don’t want the college counselor’s philosophies to clash with your preferences.
She might want your child to apply to prestigious schools, while you might want to apply to schools based on fit.
Prestige and fit. Neither is better. You need to know which you want first.
How Does the College Admissions Counselor Evaluate Clients?
Often, select college consulting companies and college counselors will only take certain kinds of students, including those with a specific range of test scores, ethnic background, grades, and desired schools.
Why? Sometimes, these students are “safest” to advise because they’re more likely to earn an acceptance to top colleges – this makes the advisor look good. Other times, the college advisor has experience and expertise with only one kind of student.
At the other end of the spectrum, other college consultants will advise clientele from a wide range of backgrounds.
- Neither option trumps the other. What matters is your preference and budget.
College counselors that are pickier tend to be considerably more expensive, while advisors who work with all types of students usually have lower rates.
Like I said, neither is better. Just be clear about what you want.
Come Up With Your Budget
College admissions counseling can range from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000 (yes, we also think that’s absurd).
When evaluating your options, devise your budget and see if your options fit within your price range.
Don’t worry – just because a service is expensive doesn’t mean it’s good. Remember the previous section about reviews? Do your research and ask for a consultation to see if the college counselor is worth the money.
If you don’t see prices on the company’s website, shoot them an email asking for a quote.
Usually, pricing is done by the hour or in packages. Packages are cheaper and require a commitment.
Why Transizion Features the Best College Consulting in the Industry
Our company philosophy and customer approach is based on providing custom strategies for the best results.
We feature a 100% student-parent satisfaction rate. Go ahead and check our Google Reviews.
Our students have received acceptances to Harvard, Columbia, UCLA, USC, Morehouse, Georgetown, UC – Berkeley, RPI, NYU, and other top schools.
Others have gone on to interning or working at Google, the White House, the Department of Justice, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Raytheon, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other top companies.
All boot camp enrollment and tutoring fees are fairly priced according to industry standards.
Our pricing is fair, service is outstanding, and results are the best.
All students are given 24/7 concierge service, regular virtual strategy sessions, and their own mentor or tutor.
We’ve had clients in the following metro areas, among many more:
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
- Hong Kong
- Los Angeles
- Kansas City
Every student works one-on-one with his or her own mentor or tutor.
Students work in groups only if requested.
We’re your strategists, advisors, and mentors. Our goal is to help you achieve your dreams.
We don’t turn students away. Instead, we coach them up, teach them skills, and provide them with solutions to succeed.
We donate a portion of profits to underserved students and veterans in need of college and career assistance. Join our mission and help us close the Opportunity Divide in America.
We’re building the leaders of tomorrow.