I can only speak for myself, but I know many other college consultants who are concerned with the misconceptions that exist about independent college consultants. First, most of us do not have connections that help students get into college. We try to help students strengthen themselves as college applicants and find schools where they will be successful and thrive.
Second, we visit colleges and universities several times a year so that we have a first-hand look at what these schools are providing their students. Are they offering new majors, altering their financial aid policies, or changing their SAT and ACT requirements? These visits help us to find schools that are a good fit for the students with whom we work.
Third, we attend conferences every year and meet with college reps to keep up with the changes in college admissions so that families have the information they need to make the best decisions. We are members of professional organizations such as HECA and NACAC that provide regular professional development throughout the year.
Fourth, we know how to help students write college essays that will reveal who they are as individuals and what they can offer a college community. We also assist with scholarship applications and essays. Our goal is to offer objective suggestions to make the essay speak to a school in the student’s voice.
Fifth, we provide questionnaires for college visits to enable families to make these college tours beneficial and informative. We want students to ask the right questions so they have some specific information on which to base their decisions.
Finally, we do not charge exorbitant fees but try to work with families to make our services affordable. We also do pro bono work with families who could benefit from our services but do not have the financial means to do so.
Most parents tell us that hiring a college consultant was one of the best investments they could have made. In the end, it saved them money and helped to make the college admission process a more enjoyable experience for everyone.