I was just recently attending an Admissions lecture offered by a top tier University. It was very interesting in its process of admittance because it doesn’t use the points systems that many very large schools do employ for admissions. It does have the two reader system, the case coding, and the short-hand of quick stats on a header of each file, as well as the box check system of relevant activities and life events.
What was very interesting were the questions asked by people and the answers given; this particular school is participating in the new Coalition Application, expected to debut end of June or early July. It, originally, had what we in the counseling profession call the Elite 80. Schools that we classify as elite by the general statistics required to gain admittance. But now has expanded to 90, and it is thought to gain as many as another 100 before 2017’s applicant pool starts. It competes with the Common Application. The Universal Application is also out there, but again, not as many schools participate. This particular Dean of Admissions stated that the Common Application did a fine job for his school. However, colleges are competing for talent, so the higher level schools will pretty much participate in whatever application program is out there, if they feel the resultant application suffices. Now you might wonder exactly what the secret is to get into that desirable position. More importantly, you might be asking how do I get to be one of those students, or how does my child get to be one of those students?
During the various questions, many of which were standard and not very original, there was a tangent about private college consultants. This Dean respected and admires the work done by the private educational consultant. He recounted how the counselors see as many applications in many varieties, which has given most insight into a good application package versus an adequate one. He was all for the hiring of private consultants for college. There was a time when the idea of someone helping to package a student for the Admissions review was thought to be “cheating.” Not today. More and more, college admission departments are finding these consultants very useful because the applicant’s paperwork is submitted after a rigorous review so small, stickler, and insignificant errors, which might loom large to a reader, are caught and corrected. He believes the service is valuable for selection and preparation. OF course, we, in this business, have always known this. Now this might be the answer to your question!
Creating a student package takes time, many reads, lots of input by parents, school counselors, and so forth. There are several component parts to the process. It is always best to get a first consult early winter on sophomore year. We can look at testing samples, grades, level of challenge, external activities, school activities, and so forth. From here, we can start the process of guidance. This is individualized and highly selective. Negotiations with school counselors on courses and so forth go through the parents and students rather directly with the independent counselor. Some secondary school counselors get upset, and there could be unwarranted issues of turf…the independent counselor is truly a support for the school counselor as well as admission departments. This odd fear needs to be overcome, as the independent consultants can give the most targeted help.
The other bonus, should parents elect, is college searching. College consultants do have connections with colleges and spend a great deal of time actually speaking to the colleges. This is extremely valuable. The information we can elicit for your own targeted in schools is great. We can get some time, ask specific questions, and share information that helps you. Often school counselors do not have the luxury of time to do these types of searches, as they have a large case load, and in many schools, the counselors also have teaching positions with responsibilities. Over the years I have had my own fair share of school counselors feeling encroached and reacting with negativity, but for the most part, the independent counselor doesn’t really interact much with the school counselor, unless necessary. Much of what we do is behind the scenes and supportive to all.
I was genuinely nice to hear from a first tier college’s Dean of Admission that we are truly appreciated for what we add to the process.
Many parents believe this is a process outside of their reach, financially. Not so. We have individual sessions, packages, and a complete custom package offering. We can support any part of the process needing some outside sourcing. Sometimes, you just can’t find what you need from searching the internet. It is nice to get a second opinion before making a large decision such as this. Consider all of your options.
Have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend!
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