If it’s been a while since you went to college and you are now back in the application process with a child of your own, you might be surprised at how the college admissions landscape has changed.
Gone are the days when you filled out admissions paperwork for a few schools, wrote a couple of essays, and waited for the acceptance letters to roll in. Now the process has gotten more complicated, and a whole new industry is thriving: the college admissions consultant.
Pricing for a college admissions consultant may start at around $85 per hour on the low end, while the most expensive consultants may charge up to a $10,000 flat fee. But the investment can be worthwhile in some scenarios.
What Is A College Admissions Consultant?
As the name suggests, a college admissions consultant (also referred to as a “college admissions counselor”) helps students and families navigate the college admissions process. There are a variety of different types of admissions consultants, and the exact services they provide will vary.
If you’re thinking about hiring a college admissions consultant, it can be a good idea to talk to a few different consultants to get a sense of what working with them will be like. Talking to trusted friends and family members who have used admissions consultants can also be a worthwhile endeavor.
What Does A College Admissions Consultant Do?
A college admissions consultant may work independently or as part of a large company’s staff. There’s a wide range of “college admission consultant” – everything from full service start-to-finish, to niche offerings or one-time assessments.
No matter the framework, they will likely provide some or all of these services:
- Assisting in determining which colleges might be good fits for a student
- Guiding students and families through the admissions process
- Helping students prep for required college admissions exams
- Practicing interviews
- Providing guidance on ways to improve their application – such as adding extracurricular activites or volunteer work
- Helping with writing and editing essays for college admission
- Identifying scholarships and other forms of financial aid a student might be eligible for
- Providing support with scholarship applications
- Contacting school admissions offices and advocating on a student’s behalf
How Much Does A College Admissions Consultant Cost?
There isn’t a set answer to how much a college admissions consultant costs, given that there are so many different consultants and each one offers a different array of services. Some consultants charge a flat fee for a specific package of services, while others allow you to pick and choose which services you are looking for while paying an hourly fee.
A 2018 survey by the Independent Educational Consultants Association found that the average hourly rate for admissions consultants was $200, with the average package costing between $4,000 and $6,700. It’s likely that the price of hiring a university admissions consultant has risen since then.
Furthermore, undergraduate admission consultants typically charge less than those who focus on graduate school admissions (particularly MBA or other specialty graduate programs).
Why You Should Consider Investing In A College Admissions Consultant
Hiring a college admissions consultant can make sense for many types of students, including those who are:
- Applying to elite schools with low acceptance rates
- Uncertain about which colleges might be most suitable for their needs
- In need of extra help navigating the admissions process or writing essays
- The first in their families to attend college
If none of those circumstances are relevant to you, then you might be fine to apply to college on your own. If you’re on the fence, though, you might consider hiring a consultant. A little bit of money invested now might pay off big dividends down the road.
How To Find A Good College Admissions Consultant
There are many factors that go into finding a good college admissions consultant. The services offered and the price charged are key considerations, but it’s also important to find a consultant who is a good fit for your specific situation. When you have a good admissions consultant, they will listen to you and your family and understand what your goals are.
Start out by talking with people in your circle to get feedback on consultants or companies they’ve used. Most reputable consultants will also have online reviews and testimonials that you can consider. While you should probably take any reviews or testimonials posted on a company’s website with a grain of salt, you can use them as one factor in determining which admissions consultant company you might work well with. Reading the reviews can give you an idea of what the process might be like, and you can also get a sense of what is not being said to help you in your decision.
The Bottom Line
If it’s been a long time since you were involved in the college admissions process, you might be surprised by how much it’s changed and how complicated it’s gotten. More and more people are turning to college admissions consultants to get help navigating the process and boosting their odds of success.
While college admissions consultants can be pricey, they can also be a good investment when you consider the long-term ROI of college. If you’re considering hiring a college admissions consultant, be sure to talk with several, read reviews, and consult with trusted friends and family. That will help ensure that you make a great choice for your specific situation.
Editor: Ashley Barnett
Reviewed by: Robert Farrington
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