Systematically Get Students Into Their Dream Schools

college application on computerAspiring college students can benefit significantly from the expertise and guidance of college admissions consultants. These professionals employ a methodical approach to assist students in realizing their dream of attending their desired institution. The process involves crafting a timeline for the college application journey, establishing attainable objectives, and offering counsel on maximizing high school years to ready oneself for college.

My staff and I aid students in formulating a college application narrative. It’s a comprehensive plan showcasing their interests, abilities, and strengths through extracurricular pursuits, volunteer work, and summer programs. This can be adapted as the student evolves. With the help of a consultant, students can approach their college years with confidence and purpose, assuring they have a solid foundation for success.

The journey to college can be a daunting task. Consultants are hired to simplify that journey so students can increase their chances of getting into their dream school. Professionals can offer a systematic approach, including suggesting a college visit, attending information sessions, and conversing with current students or faculty. These interactions provide valuable insights into the college and help students determine if it aligns with their goals and aspirations. The consultant may also impart wisdom on preparing for college admissions interviews, a crucial aspect of the college application process for numerous institutions.

Realistic List of Potential Colleges for Your Student

One of the most important tasks of a consultant is to help students create a realistic list of potential colleges. This includes researching schools based on their academic programs, campus life, location, and other essential factors to determine the best fit for each student. The consultant will help the student understand the pros and cons of each college and provide guidance on how to make the best choice. For example, they may help a student consider factors such as the size of the school, the location, the cost, and the student’s overall fit with the college.

Amid the admissions process’s labyrinthine complexities, they guide the aspiring student. The consultant demystifies a college’s numerical data, such as a university’s average ACT and SAT scores and acceptance rates, providing an understanding of the student’s chances of admittance. A compelling college application becomes a manageable task under the right professional’s tutelage. This is possible as they impart tips emphasizing the student’s unique achievements and strengths. The consultant also helps the student showcase their individuality and passions through their application, elevating them above the competition and imbuing the application with their distinctive spirit.

Assistance with ACT or SAT Prep

College admissions consultants can also offer assistance with ACT or SAT prep, including guiding how to best prepare for these exams and maximize scores. They can also help students understand the role of standardized test scores in college admissions. For example, they may provide information on which test is best for the student and tips on studying for the examination and managing test anxiety.

They may also guide on how to best use test scores to demonstrate the student’s strengths to colleges. For example, the consultant may help the student understand how to use test scores to highlight their strengths in certain areas, such as math or writing. They can also help the student understand how to interpret test scores, such as what a high or a low score means for their college admissions chances.

Guidance On How to Write A Good College Application Essay

Writing a strong college application essay is a critical component of college admissions. Consultants guide a student on how to write an effective essay. This includes helping high school students use effective structure, authentic style, and content tips. Depending on the consultant, they usually provide feedback on essay drafts to refine a student’s writing. For example, the consultant may help the student understand what colleges are looking for in an essay. This way, students can best showcase their personality and interests through their writing. The consultant may also provide guidance on making the essay unique and memorable, which can help the student keep going.

A Warning on Using AI to Write Your College Application Essays

robot writing paperAI applications took the world by storm in 2022. However, just because you can get an AI to write a paper for you doesn’t mean you should. And if simple ethics isn’t enough to keep you honest, the consequences of an admissions team finding out that AI wrote your college application essays should be. While it’s taking some schools time to catch on, a technology designed to counteract AI-written essays continues to emerge.[1]

A college admissions team will often treat AI-written essays as plagiarism.[2] Consequently, I’ve recently started using software that can detect AI-written essays. The day before I wrote this article, I caught a student doing precisely this! I knew the student’s writing well enough to tell that something was off. Their words read way more concisely than usual.

Additionally, the paragraphs were approximately the same length. The writing was good, and the topic was something this student was passionate about, but there were too many red flags. So, I plugged the text into GPT Zero[3] (the AI plagiarism software I use) and verified that an AI wrote their essay.

While this student could have gotten into serious trouble, there’s another subtle issue at play. The student’s essay, well grammatically flawless and well-written, didn’t reveal his personality, interests, or character. Ironically, colleges want to see the very thing an AI writer can’t write: WHO THEY ARE.

Don’t believe me? Take Harvard’s word for it. This quote was taken directly from their application instruction website:

“Write something you care about, rather than what you think the Admissions Committee wants to hear.”[4]

essay instructions

It’s not just Harvard. It’s arguably every college, especially the elite universities. Dr. Aviva Leggatt, a former admissions director at UPenn, had this to say about this phenomenon. In her book “Get Real and Get In: How to Get Into the College of Your Dreams by Being Your Authentic Self,” Legatt wrote:

[There’s] the Pitfall of seeming fake. You’re overly earnest in your application. You wax poetic about your involvement in the “Earth Club” and make a deadly serious pledge to save every honeybee by graduation. You’re not just involved in the clubs–you’re president of every one.

It all smacks of fakeness. There’s just no other way to put it.

With her years of experience in Ivy League Admissions, Legatt concludes by saying this:

It’s not that we think you’re lying to us  (we can spot the true liars…). But admissions counselors get a feeling when everything has been pre-ordained, pre-managed, and pre-packaged to impress us–which is not impressive.[5]

As you can see, colleges want more than good writing. They want authentic writing. They want to see how students think, what they believe in, and why they love some things and hate others. Colleges want to know what students are like outside of class. Those things are difficult to communicate for anyone, especially a high school student.

Becky Munstere-Sabky, a former admissions director at Dartmouth, put it this way:

“Applying to colleges is often a student’s first exercise in self-marketing.”

Think about what adult professionals do when they prepare for a job. They research the company, ready for the interview, and try to market themselves with as much grace as effort allows. Sabky illustrates this sharply, saying, “There is decency in giving a damn about one’s personal statement.”[6] While I don’t need to explain what Sabky meant, I’ll do it anyway. Colleges reward far more than penalize those who put effort into their essays. And a college admissions consultant might make the difference between your essay falling flat or standing tall.

That’s the value an experienced admissions consultant offers. The right one can bring the strengths of a student’s identity out through essay coaching. That’s something an AI can’t do for now. There may come a time when students can use AI to reveal who they are to colleges. We’re a long way from that day, whenever it may come. In the meantime, students must learn how to market themselves.

Understanding the Admissions Process and Requirements

admission written on keyboardHiring an admissions consultant is like hiring an attorney. You hire an attorney because they have experience traversing the labyrinthine legal systems of a state or nation. College admissions consultants are experienced and knowledgeable about the college admission process, including the requirements for a standout application. They understand the importance of meeting deadlines, presenting a well-rounded portfolio of activities, and highlighting achievements and skills. By working with an admissions consultant, students will better understand what is needed to get into their dream school.

Some students may need to realize the importance of taking rigorous courses. The course load in high school and extracurricular activities can strengthen an application. The professional would advise students on classes or activities.

Help with College Interviews

College admission officers raise a student’s blood pressure like nothing else. An admissions consultant gives students the ideal preparation they need for these interviews. Some of this preparation involves informing a student which questions to expect and how to respond to said questions. But there are more subtle things involved, like picking what to wear. They can also provide tips on body language, eye contact, and other nonverbal cues that can make a lasting impression.

Therein lies the goal of hiring a professional in the first place. An admissions counselor helps make a college application memorable. When I coach students through the interviews, I give them a few standard guidelines in our practice, but I also coach them. I’ve found that students respond well to interview coaching. I’m not saying they enjoy it, but it’s effective. Students are just that: students… or those who take the role of a learner. By the time of their college interviews, the high school students I work with have a personal and authentic brand. They know their strengths and can therefore lean into them during their interview. I wouldn’t coach an energetic entrepreneur vying to get into Wharton to be meek. Likewise, I’d be remiss in giving the pensive pre-law poly sci major a crash course in social dynamism. However, there exist behaviors that apply to every college interview. Essentially they are this:

During a college interview, a student must show these two qualities:

  • Competence
  • Kindness

To help high school students demonstrate these qualities, I often use roleplays. As an admissions consultant, I coach students on answering commonly asked questions in college interviews. It’s awkward doing roleplays, but I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t effective. It helps when I make students practice naturally answering these questions. Essentially, we make students feel more prepared for their college interviews. Thus, very little takes them by surprise when they sit for college admissions interviews.

Support throughout the Application Process

If you haven’t picked up on this, the college admission process IS long and stressful. Having the support of a college admissions consultant simplifies that process. It’s still demanding. Yet, a professional can process this stress into manageable and effective tasks with the right college admissions consultant. Consultants are there to answer questions, provide guidance, and help students stay on track and organized.

Admissions consultants usually need to be certified therapists. However, college admissions consultants often provide much-needed emotional support and encouragement. During the waiting period after applying, I “help students wait.” And while we’re waiting, I prepare them for the inevitable acceptance and rejection letters. When letters come, admissions counselors provide advice on handling rejection and help students stay motivated and focused. I’ve never seen a case where the proper additional support from a coach wasn’t helpful.


College admissions invariably take a toll on students, but the right consultant can help. Working with a college admissions consultant can significantly benefit students traversing the college admission labyrinth. From providing a realistic list of potential colleges to assisting with college interviews, most professionals offer a wide range of services to help students gain as much as possible from their journey through higher education. Students, after all, are better equipped to succeed when they possess the confidence only found in methodical preparation. Athletes have trainers. Martial artists have sensei. Students have teachers. Thus, high school students looking to get into their dream school benefit from the tutelage and mentorship of a professional.


[1] A college student made an app to detect AI-written text. – Bowman, Emma, accessed at on 31 January 2023.

[2] GPTZero – GPTZero, accessed at on 31 January 2023.

[3] GPTZero – GPTZero, accessed at on 31 January 2023.

[4] Application Tips | Harvard – Harvard College, accessed at on 31 January 2023.

[5] Get Real and Get In: How to Get Into the College of Your Dreams by Being Your Authentic Self – Legatt, Aviva, accessed at 1 ed., New York, St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2021. Page xii

[6] Valedictorians at the Gate: Standing Out, Getting In, and Staying Sane While Applying to College – Sabky, Becky Munsterer, Macmillan Audio, 2021.


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