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How to Find the Best College Admissions Counselors

Young people graduating from college

The college admissions process can be very confusing, especially for students who are not sure how to get into their dream programs. When you have no idea where to start, it may be beneficial to find a guide to walk you through the whole process. 

College admissions counselors are experts on the admissions process. They can provide expert advice to you and your family as you navigate each stage from start to finish. For those who may not know how to identify and talk about their own strengths, these professionals are a great tool to allow colleges to understand you better and to help you build your application into one that stands out from the crowd.

In this article, we will explore frequently asked questions about college admissions professions, such as what they do, how they can help you, where to find them, and what to look for in a good admissions counselor.

What Is a College Admissions Counselor?

College admissions counselors typically work independently from any specific universities. Their goal is to help high school students or any aspiring college students meet all the necessary requirements for their dream schools. They may even offer advice about how to go above and beyond those requirements so students can set themselves apart as exceptional members of the community. They often take a more specialized approach than most high school guidance counselors.

These professionals offer numerous services, such as:

  • Helping students meet admissions deadlines.
  • Planning for the future.
  • Applying strategically.
  • Reviewing or editing essays.
  • Selecting the right school.

What to Look for in a College Admissions Counselor

Though many college admissions counselors have unique connections or specializations that make them better suited for some students more than others, the core characteristics of a good college admissions counselor remain the same throughout most of the profession. Here are some examples of what to look for in the best college admissions counselors.

Impartial and Unbiased to Specific Schools

Admissions counselors who guarantee acceptance to a certain school or who push especially hard for that school should generally be avoided. In order to figure out the best schools and programs that fit your needs, you need to review a wide range of options. Other counselors who may be trying to sell you on one school are likely not acting with your best interests in mind.

Knowledge of a Variety of Schools and Programs

With nearly 4,000 colleges in the United States alone, there is no shortage of diversity when it comes to schools and programs. However, trying to review that many programs on your own is practically impossible. Counselors who have a vast knowledge of different schools can help you narrow down your choices from an overwhelming pool to a much more manageable few.

Deep Understanding of Admissions Requirements

A competent admissions counselor should have an extensive knowledge of the general admissions requirements for most universities and also be able to explain any questions or confusion that may occur during the admissions process. This is particularly important to ensure you do not miss any important deadlines or hurt your chances of acceptance by simply forgetting to include a portion of your application.

Responsive and Engaged with Students

You cannot connect well with someone who fails to listen to your dreams, needs, and concerns. The admissions process is a stressful time for students, so they need a counselor they can rely on for answers to tough questions in a timely manner in order to avoid missing deadlines. It also helps to have an expert in the field who can provide insight that a high school teacher or counselor may not be able to give.

How Do College Admissions Counselors Help You?

Your college admissions counselor can guide you through the admissions process in the following ways.

1. Planning

Your counselor can help you plan your class schedule, extracurricular activities, test dates, summer programs, and more. They will show you the best ways to make the most of the time you have left before you start applying for colleges. They can also guide you in choosing activities to display on your application that highlight your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.

2. Application Strategy

A good application strategy goes beyond grades and test scores. Your counselor will help you create a narrative that separates you from other applicants. Whether it involves showcasing an internship you had or giving you ideas for a stellar application essay, they will teach you how to put the spotlight on yourself and your accomplishments.

3. Reviewing and Editing Application Essays

Speaking of application essays, they need to be unique and highlight your strengths without being nothing more than a detailed list of your accomplishments. College admissions counselors understand how to write and organize compelling essays that best reflect your personal story. They can help you avoid common pitfalls and craft school-specific responses.

4. Selecting the Right Schools and Programs

Your counselor can use their experience in the field and wide range of different college programs to help you find and select the programs that best fit your personal and academic preferences.

5. Getting Ready for Tests

Preparing for tests is hard on your own. Alongside your counselor, you can first figure out the target scores you will need to achieve for entry into your dream schools. Counselors can then connect you with the best instructors and tutors for the SAT and ACT who may guide you in creating a study plan, review information as needed, and teach you test-taking strategies.

6. Prepping You for the Process

The admissions process has many moving parts. College admissions counselors provide the expert advice you need to handle waitlist letters, interview preparation, campus visits, letters of recommendation, and any other curveball your favorite school might toss your way.

How to Find a Good College Admissions Counselor

The characteristics of the “best college admissions counselor” may vary from student to student depending on that student’s interests and how they have performed in school thus far. Here are some ways to begin narrowing down your search to find the counselor that best suits your needs.

1. Pinpoint Your Goals

In order to find an admissions counselor who understands exactly the path you want to walk, you need to first pinpoint your goals for the future. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What career path do you want to pursue?
  • Which extracurricular activities and hobbies are the most important to you?
  • Do you want to live somewhere specific?
  • What type of learning environment suits you best?
  • What does success look like to you?

These questions may guide you as you think about your goals for your education. Keeping those goals in mind when searching for a counselor allows you to select someone who specializes in your desired path and can help you achieve your future vision of success.

2. Check Reviews

Just like with any service, you should research a college admissions counselor before you officially decide to hire them. Check out their reviews, talk with other people they have helped, and use those testimonies as you narrow down your search for the best suited person.

3. Book a Free Consultation

At PrepExpert, we offer a free consultation for any students or families looking for advice about: 

  • Planning grades 7 to 12.
  • Building a stellar application.
  • Increasing the chance of admission to competitive schools.
  • Earning scholarships to ease financial burden.

Sign up for your free consultation today to connect with one of our college admissions consultants and start receiving insider tips and tricks from experts in both high school and graduate admissions counseling!

Prep Expert

Written by Prep Expert

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