Q. Doesn’t our school counselor work with us on most of these services?
A. As a former school counselor myself, I recognize that school counselors are invaluable assets. Unfortunately though, the reality is that public school counselors carry a caseload of several hundred students, with needs that extend well beyond college admissions planning. As such, they have limited time to devote to the activities that I choose to focus on. With that being said, your school counselor is a key figure as you prepare for college. Whether you choose to work with me or not, your student should develop a positive working relationship with his/her counselor.
Here’s another perspective on this issue. A 2009 joint study by Lipman Hearne and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions surveyed nearly 1,300 students who scored in the top 30th percentile on the SAT. In that group, 26% had engaged an independent consultant to assist in their college search. This is a clear indication that the specialization offered by private counselors has been recognized as a benefit by many of those with whom your student will be competing
Q. Shouldn’t my student just be able to apply on his own to the colleges he’s interested in?
A. Even the most motivated student will quickly find that the demands of college admissions are incredibly time consuming.
Essays can take several days or weeks to perfect, and most applications require multiple essays. Simply filling out forms will probably take hours for each application, often requiring the attachment of other documentation which can take additional time to procure. Multiply all of this by just a few college choices and the task can quickly become overwhelming. I will help you and your student manage time and energy as efficiently as possible so that the college admissions process doesn’t become an all-consuming affair in your household.
Also, I can’t overstate the importance of conducting a deliberate, methodical search in order to identify the schools that are a
good fit. This is probably a more time consuming process than completing the applications. It requires the student to consider his/her personality, learning style, and educational objectives. It requires parents and students to contemplate what type of school
is appropriate for their financial situation. It requires that you make contact with, and probably visit, your top choices.
The bottom line is this: you will find that my experience and expertise with this process will prevent a lot of uncertainty and frustration – allowing you to enjoy time with your student and make a college decision that works for your entire family.
Q. College admissions are so competitive. How will you help my student stand out?
A. Admission to colleges and universities has become more competitive than ever. While no consultant should promise acceptance to a particular college, my approach to the process will ensure that your student’s application is compelling. I will leverage my experience as a school counselor, my knowledge of college preferences, and leading edge technology to provide
you with the assurance that your student is positioned as strongly as possible with colleges that will be a great fit.
Q. I’ve already decided on the colleges I want to attend. Why do I need an educational consultant?
A. It’s admirable to have clear goals in mind for where you want to apply, but you may be surprised by just how time-consuming and frustrating the whole process can be. Additionally, you probably have extracurricular activities you’re committed to and a social life you want to enjoy, not to mention your existing school workload. Nobody ever means to, but college applications often end up at the lower end of the priority list until deadlines are looming and then the last-minute effort is what the admissions committee ends up seeing.
One of my jobs is to help keep you on task, organized, and working steadily towards deadlines without feeling frustrated, rushed,
or overwhelmed by what should be a very positive experience. And, I’ll also help your whole family manage expectations so that there’s less stress for everyone involved.
I would ask one more thing: keep an open mind. There are thousands of colleges in the United States. The ones you’re thinking about right now may not be the best fit for you. I encourage you to consider all possibilities as you plan for your future.
Q. So will you tell me how to write my essays to make sure I get in?
A. The essays give you a chance to show the admissions committees who you are – beyond your GPA and test scores.
They’ll be interested in getting to know you and what you’ll bring to their community. Since that is all about you, your essays need
to be in your voice. However, I will play a role in essay development. I’ll help you come up with topics; I’ll make sure that you’re highlighting your strengths and addressing potential areas for concern; I’ll proofread for content. If your writing mechanics need work, I have trusted colleagues to whom I can refer you.
Q. All the schools I want to go to are too expensive. Can you help me find scholarships?
A. One of the factors I consider when developing a list of appropriate colleges is a family’s financial profile. If this is an area of concern, then we’ll tailor your list of schools appropriately. While I do not “search” for scholarships, I am happy to assist with fine tuning scholarship applications, essays, and other submissions, as well as helping you keep track of deadlines.
I want to note one other important factor on this subject. There are several factors that have an impact on the overall cost of a college experience. I discuss these with my clients in depth, but you may be surprised (in a good way) by the actual cost of some “expensive” schools.
Q. My daughter is a 9th grader. Do we need your services now or should we wait until she’s a Junior or Senior?
A. Generally, if I can begin working with a student earlier in her high school years, it’s easier to help her build a profile that will be attractive to colleges. Because of my extensive experience in the public school system, I can also provide guidance to younger students as it pertains to course selection, schedule rigor, and leadership opportunities.
For students finishing up their 9th grade year, it’s worthwhile to consider a comprehensive package. I also offer a limited-scope engagement for younger students. To determine which approach is appropriate for you and your student, please contact me so we can discuss your specific situation.
Q. I’ve done some research on independent consultants and they sound expensive.
What are your fees?
A. This is a topic that I’ll cover when we meet for our initial free consultation. To set the stage, my preference is to charge for services that are agreed upon in advance. My commitment to my clients is that I will devote the requisite number of hours to deliver the services we’ve agreed upon.