The college admissions process mainly begins with the onset of high school and for most students and parents it is an unknown territory even if one of the parents had attended college. Time has changed and the process has changed over the years. Students and parents will need some guidance in doing college search, college application and navigating the college financial aid mind field. Depending in the type of high school/private school a student is attending, the level of guidance and information available varies a great deal. Most public high schools/private high schools have counselors/college adviser that can provide you with the basic guidance and information to get you started, but they have not visited numerous colleges and universities to have extensive information in college admissions and financial aid to take you step-by-step through this overwhelming process.
Whether these counselors/advisers have in-depth information on college admissions and college financial aid is a question that you as a student and as a parent have to ask or assess. Most counselors/advisers haven’t traveled extensively to visit colleges/universities to gather information from them about their admissions, financial aid programs and the personality of each campus to better help you. This process is not part of the education that a counselor/adviser receives in their masters program. Only through visiting numerous campuses can a counselor/adviser gain the necessary information to help you through this complex process of college admissions.
Should you hire a college admissions consultant? The pros and cons on whether to hire a consultant
The pros of hiring a college admission consultant is that the parents can sit back and let the consultant do all of the work or some of the work. Another benefit of using a consultant is that the consultant can lessen the stress between the students the parents. The college admissions process can be stressful for some families and to have someone from outside the family work with student can be a blessing. Also, the consultants are usually well versed in the whole process of college admissions and they usually have a vast knowledge of colleges and universities across the country. These independent counselors make it a point of visiting many colleges/universities in order to have up-to-date information for the students and parents.
The most note worthy con of hiring an independent college admissions consultant/counselor is that it is going to cost you anywhere from $75 to $200 an hour. You can hire a consultant to take care the entire college admissions process or you can hire a consultant to take care just the college search and college application process. You can buy a package deal or go a-la-carte.
Another con is that this should be a family affair and by hiring a consultant, you completely take the parents out of the picture. Unless, you as the parent have limited time, I suggest you stay involved in the process as much as possible with the help of your son/daughter’s guidance counselor or college adviser.
What juniors should be doing in the summer prior to entering the senior year: Conquering the college admissions process
During the summer, juniors should be visiting colleges/universities, work on college essays and narrowing their list of schools that they plan to apply to. When you visit colleges, there are many questions that you should ask along with becoming familiar with the campus and the surrounding community. A question that I would like you and your parents to ask is how safe is your campus and what is the crime rate on campus and the surrounding community?