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Are College Admissions Consultants Worth the Money?

Updated on September 10, 2012

College Counseling

Is college counseling something you've thought about a lot? You want your son or daughter to get into a good college or university, right? All over the U.S., parents are paying college admissions consultants for college counseling to help their offspring get into a good college or university…but are college admissions consultants worth the money they charge? There’s really no across-the-board answer to this question because there are too many variables, but many parents seem to think so. There are now over 4,000 college consultants or college counseling services in America. Most work with numerous schools, while others focus on Ivy League schools. A few, like CollegeDNA, are specific to one college or university system. Learn more about college counseling below.

College Admissions Consultants - Services Provided

College counseling services vary in what assistance they provide. They might help a student choose a college by matching his grades and standard test scores to a school that provides his desired area of study. If a student lacks adequate test scores and college essay writing skills to get into a specified school, individual tutoring might be provided. Some college counseling services also serve as a guide through the different types of financial aid offered by a school.

Because the college applications are so important, almost all college counseling includes college application help and review. College counseling services can help students “tweak” their college applications to make them more in line with what the schools of choice require and/or desire. Reputable college counseling doesn't use "cheating." Instead, they help students present themselves well on college applications. They know what specific colleges and universities are looking for, and they make sure students mention on their college applications anything they've accomplished that might interest a specific school.

For students wishing to be accepted into an Ivy League school, college counseling often begins in the eighth grade. Such students are carefully groomed to increase their chances of admittance into top-notch colleges. An outline of classes they need to take in high school, which extracurricular activities they should be involved in, and guidance in college essay writing are all included. The students might also receive instruction in interview skills and on how to “sell” themselves to a college admissions interviewer.

Some college counseling services also offer CDs, books, summer camps, and workshops to help prepare students for the college application process and college essay writing.

How Effective are College Admissions Consultants?

Like any other services, all college counseling is not equal. Some include former college admissions employees and college instructors on their team, so these individuals will best know the intricacies involved with being accepted by specified schools. They've reviewed thousands of college applications, and they know which ones have been accepted.

The best college counseling services boast excellent results. For example, some experience a success rate of over 90% - including acceptance into Ivy League schools. Others, of course, can't honestly boast such a success rate. Before you choose a specific counseling firm, do your homework. Research it and find out more about it.

How are College Admissions Consultants Regulated?

College counseling services are self-regulated. If the service is a member of the Independent Educational Consulting Association, they must adhere to certain guidelines. They must have a minimum of three years experience in college counseling, hold a Master’s Degree in a related field, and they must have visited at least fifty college campuses.

How Much do College Admissions Consultants Charge?

There’s a wide range of fees for college counseling, depending on what services you obtain. Some consultants charge $2,000. A five-year plan beginning in eighth grade that carefully grooms and prepares a student for an Ivy League school might cost as much as $40,000.

Some college counseling services charge by the hour for consultations, and others provide a variety of “packages.” Some parents prefer these types of college consultants because they have more control over what the students receive.

How are College Counseling Services Provided?

College counseling services can be handled in a number of ways. These include face-to-face meetings, emails, telephone calls, faxes, and webcams. Some consultants will provide personal tutors, also.

College Counseling - the bottom line college counseling worth the fee, or not? This is a decision you’ll ultimately have to make for yourself. Overall, parents and students have been very happy with the results they got from working with college admissions consultants. With the present jobs market being as competitive as it is, attending the right college can make a huge difference on the resume you provide for potential employers. College graduates earn a significant higher amout of money over their working lives than non-college fraduates earn, so attending and graduating from college is pretty much a no brainer. With some jobs, a college degree simply isn't enough. Your college education will need to be considered better than your competition's education. And college counseling can definitely help with that!

Is college counseling right for you?
Is college counseling right for you?


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    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Always good to see you, HH!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, Holle, thank you for an interesting read of your comprehensive hub and eye opener. It is nice to learn about other countries' way of life.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, Susie, but I do know of one Ivy League consulting service that charges $40,000 for their "five-year plan." Evidently, parents who have used this particular service have been very happy with the results, despite the cost. It's hard to put a price on success that will have such an impact on someone's future!

    • profile image

      Susie Watts 6 years ago

      As a college consultant, there are a few points I would like to make. First, most college consultants do not charge more than $5000 at most for their comprehensive college counseling. Many charge considerably less. Secondly, another organization that has outstanding college consultants is HECA. You can find individuals to help you with college planning by going to their website at Lastly, most college consultants are not interested in getting their students into Ivy League schools. They want to help students find colleges that are a good fit for them both academically and personally. The majority of families who have hired a college consultant feel it is one of the best investments they have made.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Ricky! Melissa is going to college online so that she can stay home with the baby. Online college has worked out well for her.

    • profile image

      Ricky G 6 years ago

      I think that the online classes are the future. Look at all the time and money saved by not having to drive to college, pay rent, etc.. My cousin is doing this because he is on the road a lot with his job and has a lot of free time at night in motel rooms. He wants to put all that spare time to good use.