student in front of admissions officeThis concludes our discussion on how to hire a college admissions consultant. Such consultants ultimately give two valuable services to families. These counselors provide a strategy for the college application and usually a sizable stress reduction to students. Let’s touch on the second part: stress reduction.

Applying to college adds an oppressive layer of stress to most students. High school students who aim to enter a competitive college or gain scholarships already juggle their share of stress. The tasks pile up: AP classes, ACT and SAT Test Prep, extracurriculars, sports, and, if there’s time, maybe even some fun. Now add college applications to that swelling list of deliverables. There are college lists, application strategies, passion projects, and the ever-enigmatic essay. With all that intensity combined, you’ve engineered the recipe for a teenage breakdown, or maybe several. And for a good reason, as most adults I know would struggle to keep all that together.

Thus, a college admissions consultant simplifies this process. They turn this mountain of tasks into bite-sized deliverables that a high school student can manage. Each article below summarizes a facet of those responsibilities.

What Does a College Admissions Consultant Do?

College counselors possess myriad responsibilities and skills. The skills they wield often depend on which part of the application process they specialize in. However, there exist a few common denominators among consultants worth summarizing:

  • Help Make a Realistic College List
  • Show Students How To Write College Application Essay
  • Create a Passion Project for College Admission Applications
  • Complete the Common App
  • Show High School Students Their Career Aptitude and Plan for Their Career

This article delves into the specifics of how counselors simplify each application task. However, if you have a penchant for deeper research, the next post might be more up your alley.

What to Expect When Working with a College Admissions Consultant

College counselors provide value because they provide a system. Through a systematic approach, the consult shows students how to turn the cluster bureaucratic tedium involved in college applications into a definable process. In other words, the consultant is only as good as their system. You should expect consultants to counsel you through their system through the following tasks depending on their specialty.

  • Systematically Get Students Into Their Dream Schools
  • Realistic List of Potential Colleges for Your Student
  • Assistance with ACT or SAT Prep
  • Understanding the Admissions Process and Requirements
  • Help with College Interviews
  • Organized Support throughout the Application Process
  • A Warning on Using AI to Write Your College Application Essays

One of the final points warns parents and students about the perils of AI essay writing. Read the article if you want to learn more, but the short end of this is to NOT use AI when writing your college application essays. It’s not just unethical; it’s dangerous for your application, as colleges are catching on and using software that can detect it.[1] Ironically, while writing this series, I caught one of my students trying to pass an AI-written essay off as their own. They were a great student and a smart one at that. They simply succumbed to taking a shortcut instead of putting in hard work.

I caught this student using GPTZero.[2] If I can catch a student, I’m confident an admissions officer can. Additionally, it’s 2023. More institutions continue to lean into emerging technologies to simplify their administration.[3] While I can’t say with complete certainty, I have little doubt that colleges now use AI in their admissions process if they haven’t already used it for years. If so, their technology will pick out a student’s AI-written essay and stamp a scarlet letter on their application. Needless to say, you’ve been warned.

Will College Admissions Consulting Help Me With My College Application?

This article focuses on consultants’ techniques to help students apply to tough colleges. When I say “tough,” I mean impossibly competitive schools, particularly the Ivy League colleges. The main strategy involves using a passion project to market a student’s application. For a student to create a passion project effectively, the passion project must demonstrate three qualities about the student:

  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Unique Expertise
  • Traceable Impact

While each quality is critical, the last quality is the most important. Colleges want students who will impact the world, so they recruit for that quality. A passion project shows colleges exactly what they’re looking for, but in an authentic way.

How to Pick a College Admission Consultant

The final article summarizes how parents should hire a college admissions counselor. Of all the articles in this series, I’d argue this article is the most helpful for parents considering hiring an admissions professional. You’ll learn what questions to ask and how to gauge the skill of the consultant in question.


We hope you’ve learned what you needed from this series. A college admission officer can make or break a student’s college application. And sure, while it’s possible to apply or get a student to apply by themselves, that doesn’t mean they should. I could attempt to swim the pacific by myself after all. That doesn’t mean I should. If a college counselor is within your or your family’s budget, consider using this series to help you hire one to help you or your student.

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[1] A college student made an app to detect AI-written text., Bowman, Emma – NPR, accessed at on 4 March 2023.

[2] GPTZERO Homepage, accessed at on 4 March 2023.

[3] How Colleges Are Using Artificial Intelligence To Improve Enrollment And Retention, Nietzel, Michael T. – Forbes, accessed at on 4 March 2023.


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