Why should I use a college admission counselor and what value they deliver?
September 18 2016
As we started ideating the idea of "Stoodnt", we spent significant time researching the market, speaking with parents, college admission counselors in U.S. and studying the changing landscape of college admission process. What came as a surprise to us was that large number of students even in U.S. use an external college admission counselor although they have access to school counselors, have a better understanding of U.S. colleges and most probably have parents and family members who have graduated from a U.S. college. There is no dearth of information, insights and help, but still use of external admission counselor. Why so?
As we spoke to parents, college admission counselors and school counselors, we gained number of insights on why parents and students get college admission counseling help during the admission process....all for very good reason.
Sharing a few of them with parents who may not be clear on what value an independent admission counselor brings to the admission process.
1. Dedicated - Most of the independent college admission counselors have decided to be in this profession because they enjoy working with children, students and helping them achieve their college dreams. Except for some of the college admission counselors who charge rediculous rates for their services and have children of ultra wealthy as their clients, most of the college admission counselors earn decent living and get paid a reasonable amount for the service they provide. More than the earnings they are in this business because they get immense satisfaction working with students and helping them. Many of these counselors are mothers who left their full time job at a college admission office or were teachers, professors at schools and colleges respectively. All of these counselors tend to work with not more than 15-20 students each year to ensure they can provide dedicated time and guidance.
2. Experienced - Given these independent counselors have worked with hundreds of students over the years, they have the expertise and insights that many of us as parents may not have on the college admission requirements of each and every school. We can easily look at the statistics, academic data and read information on Internet, however the tricky part is trying to gain insights on what each college admission team looks for in a student's application. All the colleges have different admission philosphy and what may be important at one college may not be important at another college. Just like any other profession such as medical, business, experience in college admission matters too.
3. Knowledgeable - Though all college admission counselors have the expertise to guide a student well with the process such as college selection, however many of them have developed speciality in areas such as Theatre, Robotics, Arts, Medicine, Law etc. This is great for students looking to pursue college degree in a special field of interest. With thousands of good colleges in US and other countries, it is tough for school counselor or a parents to have insights on all the colleges and their admission requirements. We often advise parents to engage with an external counselor if their child is looking for admission into a specific area or specific type of school.
4. Complementary - Many parents and students get confused on why they should use an external counselor when they have one at their child's school. We believe, for the college admission guidance process to be effective, it needs to start early whether you are applying for undergdraute program graduate program or MBA. Every student is different, hence each one of them requires a focused and personal attention for their strengths to develop further and reach full potential. Parent, school teachers and school counsleor are there all the way to help and guide, but an independent college admission counselor can be ther to complement all these resources and helping the child as they plan for college admissions. Think about a company using external consultants to help them define their strategy even when they have tons of smart employees within the company.
5. Extra Boost - College admission into a good school is getting more competitive every year, and more so if you are an international student. Parents and students are looking to have an edge when they apply to a college. No admission counselor can change a student's academic and extra-curricular achievements, but they can definitely help and guide the student to package all their hard earned achievements into a strong application and a neatly packaged story for the college admission team to evaluate.
In summary, independent college admisison counselors have expertise and insights we as parents may not have. They are there to complement our guidance, school counselor and school teacher advice and help a student with the process so they can navigate it better and get the results they deserve.
We often tell parents and students, college is a major investment why not get some help to get the best outcome!
About Author Ajay Singh
I graduated from I.I.T India and came to U.S. for higher studies in Engineering 20 years back. After working for a few years in Austin, Texas as a design engineer, I went back for a M.B.A at Harvard Business School. I have worked for number of global companies in senior leadership and management positions. Over the years I have advised number of students on college admission.