Are college advisors still worth the cost in 2023? Many prospective students and parents are asking themselves this question and, in this blog, we will answer it. The short answer is yes, but we know you need more information than that. So, in this post, we will go over everything you need to know about college advisors. We will talk about college admissions consulting, the cost of advisors, their services, and so much more. We’ll also give you some tips on finding the best ones if you decide that one could be beneficial for you.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
How competitive is college?
Some parents joke that they wouldn’t be able to get into their alma mater if they were applying today, and now more than ever, that statement is not far-fetched. The truth is that having a good GPA and a few extracurriculars can no longer guarantee college admission. Especially if you have your eyes set on one of the best undergraduate business schools or if you’re trying to choose the best university as a premed to maximize your chances of acceptance to medical school. The college admissions landscape gets increasingly competitive every year. In the last year alone, the total number of applications submitted went up by 20%, according to the data collected by the Common app. On the other hand, acceptance rates stayed the same or decreased. Even some of the easiest Ivy League schools to get into are reporting a lower acceptance rate than previous years. In other words, if you’re getting ready to apply to colleges soon, you need to do everything you can to make your application stand out and maximize your chances of getting into college.
Want to learn more about the easiest Ivy League school? Take a look at this video:
What is a college advisor?
College advisors - also called college consultants or Independent Education Counsellors (IECs), help prospective students through the college selection, application, and admissions process. This can include everything from high school curriculum planning, college selection, exams, preparing the applications, writing the dreaded supplemental college essays, and financial aid. Their job is essentially to advise and guide you through the entire process.
Preparing for college applications can be overwhelming. There are a lot of decisions to make, and there's a lot of information out there that many of us are just not trained to decipher. This is especially true for first-generation college students and international students. If you are part of the latter group, consider college admissions counseling for international students for more targeted help. However, even if you have someone in your family who has been through this process before, you can still use the services of a college advisor.
Professional college advisors have to keep up with the trends in the world of college admissions, so they are more familiar with the most up-to-date processes and tools that could aid you in your application to college. They know which schools use common app, and which ones have a different admissions system. Furthermore, depending on when you contact your college advisor, they can even help you make tough decisions in high school, such as choosing between IB and AP or picking extracurriculars when you are just starting to plan for your future.
Working on your supplemental college essays? Make sure you consider the different types:
How much does a college advisor cost?
There is no way around the fact that a qualified professional will cost you money. This is true for any service you get, including college advisors. The cost can vary greatly depending on the fee structure of the company or individual you hire and how much help you want with the admissions process. Some college advisors charge by the hour or by service rendered, and many of them have a package deal that involves different parts of the process. On average, a college advisor will cost between $150 and $200 per hour. Alternatively, application review packages can cost as low as $1,000, with some students spending between $3000-$10,000.
We know that this may sound pricey but keep in mind that many of the packages and services offered by academic consulting firms can be adjusted based on your needs. Furthermore, you need to remember that college is an investment that pays a lucrative dividend. College graduates are more likely to be employed, earn a high wage, have access to better health care, and provide their children with even better opportunities. That doesn’t even take into account the wealth of experiences that come with going to college and the self-actualization that one can get from their career. Getting into the right college is well worth the investment.
You should also consider the value that you are paying for. College advisors can save future students and their families a lot of time and money in the long run. Not only do they significantly reduce the likelihood of you having to pay application fees again, but they can also help you find and apply for financial aid. Lastly, it is worth noting that many advisors are able to organize private pay plans, such as installments. So, inquire with the college advisors you are considering and work with them to develop a payment plan that works for you.
Looking for help on your common app essay? This infographic has some helpful tips:
Is it worth the cost? (The benefits of having a college advisor)
A good college advisor will cost you money, but the right one will be well worth the investment. The fact that you’re reading this tells us that you’re committed to maximizing your chances (or maybe your loved one’s chances) of finding the right college and getting in. So, let’s get into how exactly a college advisor can help you do that. College advisors offer a variety of different services that will ultimately help you with the following:
Choosing the right school
Students have a tendency to choose schools for all the wrong reasons like size, popularity, and other general characteristics that might have nothing to do with them being compatible with the school. When looking for colleges, it’s important to consider the student’s goals and values, and how they align with the schools that they are interested in. This helps narrow down their choices, so they can find a college where they are most likely to thrive academically and socially.
Choosing the right program or major
A college advisor can also help students figure out their goals and prospective career paths before selecting a program. Many students don’t take the time to do this before college and end up switching majors more than once, which ultimately ends up costing them and their families extra time and money. Furthermore, students might have a career goal in mind but no specific plan for getting there, and advisors can help with this too.
Suppose that you want to become a doctor. Most people assume that you need to be a biological science major to become one. However, while it is the most popular for both applicants and matriculants, the acceptance rate of biology science majors falls somewhere in the middle. So, a college advisor could walk you through the medical school acceptance rates by major and help you decide on a degree that could be more interesting to you but still gives you a good chance of going from high school to medical school.
Strengthening your applications
Once you’ve picked your potential majors and you’ve found the right schools, you need to apply to those schools and that can be a complicated process. Although different colleges use different admissions systems to help them find the best candidates for their school, they typically use similar tools. In this increasingly competitive landscape, admissions committees have started to look at everything in an applicant’s file, from grades and test scores to extracurriculars like after school clubs or summer programs for high school students, and letters of recommendation. Some committees even go as far back in an applicant’s educational background as the ninth grade to gauge whether their academic performance is enough for admittance.
Most applications will require the following documents:
It is essential to nail each component of the admissions application to succeed, and that requires time, organization, and focus. College admissions advisors can guide students on their time management and organization as they prepare their applications. They also provide personalized feedback, helping the students identify where improvements can be made and offering tips to make the application stand out.
College advisors also coach students on how to write their essays. A strong personal statement and common app essay can make the difference between getting an admission letter or a rejection. Writing these essays can be challenging, especially when you have not done it before. Advisors help students master this and provide feedback to help them make write the best essays possible, and by so doing, they help them develop their professional writing talents.
Good college advisors should be well-versed in creating all application components so they can help you put together the strongest application possible.
Preparing you for university
A qualified college advisor will give you skills that you will be able to use for years to come by helping you research and write your essays, giving you strategies to answer college admissions interview questions, and talking through your potential career plans. Going through this process with a professional and getting their personalized feedback will help you build life-long professional skills such as research, critical thinking, writing, and interview skills. These are abilities you will definitely need in college and, most likely, after that too.
Make this process less stressful
Having someone to guide you through this very overwhelming process can make a huge difference. For you, the prospective student, but also for those around you. When you hire a college advisor, you hire someone who has done this before for multiple students with various backgrounds many times. This means that even though they are invested in helping you get into the right college, they are not as stressed as you because they know this process in and out. They already know a lot of the information you are looking for and have to learn; they can, therefore, simply share that with you. Thus, saving you time and energy.
Beyond that, for most traditional applicants, looking at colleges and preparing applications happens during their senior year of high school. This is already a stressful time. You have to think about your finals, your SATs, graduation, a high school resume, possibly moving away from home, and many other things that can result in tension between soon-to-be college students and their families. A college advisor allows you to take quite a bit off your plate by giving you the information you need and helping you through some of the most challenging parts of the application process.
Standing out on a high school resume isn't easy! You'll want to check out our advice in this video:
How to find the right college advisors
Suppose you decide that a college advisor might be beneficial to you. In that case, you need to find one qualified enough to help you through this process and maximize your chances of success the first time applying, providing the best value for your investment. The right consultant for you will depend on various factors, including your budget, your needs, your location, and the stage of the application process that you’re on. That being said, there are certain key elements that you should look for in college advisors to find the right one.
First, you want to ensure that the people you are paying to help you are qualified to do so. Good advisors know the admissions process inside and out, having gone through the process themselves or having worked in admissions offices as interviewers or evaluators. You should take the time to check their websites to learn about the advisor or the firm’s team members and make sure that they have the expertise and knowledge to be a college admissions advisor.
You should pay special attention to the advisors’ backgrounds and the training that they go through. For example, here at BeMo, less than 5% of advisors who want to work with us actually get hired because we want the best for our students, so we only hire experts in their fields who are willing to go through our very rigorous training. That way, when our students spend their hard-earned money on our services, they don’t have to wonder if BeMo Academic Consulting is worth it.
Secondly, you want to make sure that they have experience helping other students through this process and that they have been successful at it. We recommend spending time on their website or contacting them to find out what their philosophy is, if they’re focused on the students or working with specific schools, and if they have student success stories. You should also check trusted websites like Trustpilot to see if they have good independent reviews.
Another way to find out if an advisor or a consulting firm is qualified is to look at the resources that they provide. Good college advisors really want to help students, so they will typically have certain resources available for free. They will also offer a free initial consultation in which they can discuss how they can help you and give you a chance to see if they’re a good fit for you.
Last but certainly not least, we encourage you to look for guarantees or incentives. We’ve already established that getting a college advisor can be pretty pricey so if you are going to spend that money, make sure that you will either get results or, at the very least, your money back. Plus, if a company is willing to guarantee satisfaction or a full refund, you know that they believe in the services they offer, and that’s a good sign that you can too.
Is your common app activities section ready yet? If not, check out this infographic:
Applying for college can be a long and complex process, especially in today’s increasingly competitive landscape. If you want to maximize your chances of success during this crucial step in your academic journey, you need the best preparation available, and college advisors can provide that. If you decide to use a college advisor, please follow the guidelines we have listed above to find a professional or a consulting firm that will help you put your best foot forward.
1. Do I need a college advisor?
Only you can answer this question. Some students are okay going through the overwhelming process of selecting and applying to a university by themselves. Others are content with help from their family and friends. However, the services of a professional can really help guide you and make it easier. We definitely recommend investing in one.
2. What do college advisors do?
Essentially, college advisors help you through the college selection and admissions process. This includes helping you pick the right schools, the right programs or major, and helping you with every aspect of your college application prep.
3. How much does a college advisor cost?
The cost varies greatly, but on average, a college advisor costs $200 per hour, or they often have application review packages that average $3000.
4. I’m an international student, how can I find a college advisor for schools in the US or in Canada?
Good news: BeMo works with all students applying to post-secondary institutions and programs. We are also online, so we can actually help you from almost anywhere in the world.
5. What should I look for in a college advisor?
You should ensure that your college advisor is qualified, experienced, student focused and that they have a good track record. Check their qualifications and reviews.
6. Can I still get into college without a college advisor?
You can! However, college admission is getting more and more competitive, so you should do everything you can to maximize your chances of getting in.
7. When should I start looking for a college advisor?
As soon as you need guidance about college. College advisors can help students who are still in high school plan their extracurriculars and classes in a way that will help them reach their future goals in college and beyond.
8. Is paying for a college advisor worth it?
In short, yes! It can significantly increase a student’s chances of getting into college, so we think it’s an investment that is worth making.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!