Four years of college at many private colleges currently costs between $180,000 and $200,000. Next to a house, college is the most expensive purchase most people will make during their lifetime. Despite those costs, many students choose a college without adequate investigation into what would be the best college for that student. As a result one out of three college students leave the college where they started and five out of ten require five or more years to earn their degree. With thousands of choices, it can be difficult to find the right college for any student. Hiring a private college consultant can help students avoid these costly mistakes by finding the right college the first time.
For many students the work to find the right college often creates stress for both the student and their parents. The student is trying to balance the college search with homework, extracurricular activities, friendships and just being a teenager. Finding the right balance can be difficult. At the same time, parents worry about ensuring the best future for their child and put additional pressure on the student when they least need it.
Working with a consultant can take some of that pressure away. A good consultant can take a step back and help the student address those issues related to the college search process without being a nagging parent. Parents are left to provide the nurturing they can do best.
A private college consultant can also help to understand what is needed to gain admission to colleges as they have become more selective. Even those schools once considered safety schools by many students have gotten more selective in their admissions and can no longer be considered safety schools.
The days are gone when high grades and test scores alone could guarantee admission to many colleges. Colleges now look at the student’s extra curricular activities, their interests and their volunteer efforts. They evaluate how well the student communicates through their essays and often how the student presents themselves in the interview process. The college consultant knows how to help the student effectively communicate who they are to the college admissions office.
However, it is not just top students that need help finding the right college. Finding the right college for the less competitive student is just as important. Many less competitive colleges have higher drop out rates and lower graduation rates than some of the well known colleges. It is common to find colleges with four year graduation rates less than 50%. These students often need help to find a college that can help the student learn and yet graduate in a reasonable period of time.
Another group of students that often benefit from the help of a private college consultant are those with unusual circumstances. Students with special needs and learning disabilities need to find colleges that have certain resources not available at all colleges. Home schooled students can also benefit from an experienced private consultant. Many colleges are unsure how to evaluate a student without traditional grades and this can put home schooled students at a disadvantage. A college consultant can work with the student to communicate their strongest qualities in a way that the colleges will understand.
Many students rely on high school guidance counselors to help them in the search for the right college. Some students are fortunate to have an experienced college guidance counselor with whom to work. Even these hard working professionals, however, do not have the time to work one on one with those students who want such support.
More commonly, many guidance counselors just don’t have the time to spend helping each student with the college search process. With an average ratio of almost 500 students for each counselor, many high school counselors can’t take the time to help students with individualized college counseling. Because of time constraints it is not uncommon that many of these busy counselors only know about in state schools that they deal with on a regular basis. They often don’t have the time to familiarize themselves with highly selective colleges or colleges for the student with particular needs.
Given the many issues that must be examined in finding the right college, and the costs involved, it is not surprising that it is common for students at top colleges to use a private consultant to help them find the right college.