Private graduate school advisors have helped so many students get into their chosen programs, but in this day and age where so much information is available online, are they still worth the cost? The short answer is yes! Private graduate school advisors can significantly increase your chances of getting into your chosen program, especially if you are applying to a highly competitive program or trying to get into grad school with a low GPA. The right one can even help you succeed once you are in the graduate program.
In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about private graduate school advisors, including what exactly they do, how much they cost, and why they are still very much worth that cost.
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How hard is it to get into graduate school?
Applying to and getting into graduate school can be challenging, but the difficulty level will depend on your chosen discipline, the school you are applying to, and your academic background. That said, there are a few things that most graduate school programs have in common that students often struggle with:
The level of competition for graduate school admission varies dramatically between different graduate programs and institutions. The term graduate school covers so many different fields of study that it can be difficult to calculate precisely how competitive it is. That said, we looked at a few individual schools and programs, and even though their grad school admissions rates are not as low as medical school acceptance rates or even law school acceptance rates, they suggest that there is still quite a bit of competition.
For example, Duke University's graduate programs have an average admission rate of 37%. The graduate programs at Stanford business school only admit about 6% of applicants, and the University of Toronto graduate programs have an acceptance rate of 42%. So, as you can see, the numbers do vary considerably. It is best to verify the admissions statistics for the programs you're interested in to know what level of competition you are facing.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that graduate programs are generally more selective than most undergraduate schools because they tend to be smaller. This means that even if your chosen program is not necessarily as competitive as Stanford or Kellog business school, for example, you still need to have a better application than the next candidate if you want to get into the program.
Colleges and universities want to admit students who are likely to thrive academically and socially in their programs. This is why they use a specific set of criteria to try and filter out the students who may not be capable of meeting the standards and expectations set by their academic programs. This concept is not specific to grad school programs. You probably had to meet specific criteria to get into your undergrad school, just like if you were hoping to get into medical school, you would have to meet the medical school GPA requirements and other thresholds that may be set by your chosen school.
Because graduate programs are more specialized and selective than undergrad, their admission requirements also tend to be challenging. Every program and institution is a little different, but common graduation requirements include the following:
This list is not exhaustive as the specific requirements will depend on your chosen program, but considering these items alone, it is safe to say that getting into graduate school requires students to have an impressive academic and sometimes professional background.
Wondering how to get into grad school with low grades?
Once you've ensured that you meet the requirements for a grad school program, you need to apply to it, and that usually requires quite a few components that can be challenging to prepare. For example, most graduate school programs require students to submit one or more admission essays such as a statement of purpose or personal statement, a CV for grad school or specifically for your academic program - such as an MBA resume, and other documents of this nature.
These are application components that carry a lot of weight in the admissions process, but they can also be difficult to get right when you do not have the right information or strategies. Even if you meet the school's requirements, a poorly written statement of purpose or a confusing CV can cost you your position in a graduate school program. So, it is essential that applicants know how to prepare these application components and give themselves enough time to do so.
What is a private graduate school advisor?
Private graduate school advisors are admission experts who use their insider knowledge to guide students and advise them as they navigate the lengthy and complex process of graduate school admissions. They do this by offering several different services (which we will talk about shortly) that help students create the most outstanding application possible, thus maximizing their chances of getting admitted.
Private graduate school advisor vs. Graduate student advisors
Most institutions have their own different types of advisors, including graduate school advisors or advisors for specific graduate programs, such as law school advisors. However, it is important to note that private graduate school advisors are quite different from the student advisors or graduate advisors that you typically consult in colleges or universities.
Student advisors are trained to help you navigate the path to graduation and admission to specific programs within the school that they work for. The knowledge that they gain from this helps them understand the world of admission a little better than the average person. However, the ways in which they can help students are often limited because they only have access to information about the school they work with and information that can be found online for other schools.
Furthermore, most graduate student advisors are helping multiple students simultaneously and do not have as much time to dedicate to each student's individual situation or application journey. On the other hand, a private graduate school advisor is not only a trained expert in general admissions, but they literally get paid to keep up with the latest trends in graduate school admissions and the application process. This means that they have a larger pool of resources and more knowledge that they can use to provide guidance, tips, strategies, and high yield techniques that will give you a higher chance of getting into your grad school program of choice.
How do private graduate school advisors help students?
In our experience, we've found that no two students are the same, and consequently, no two students are helped by graduate school advisors in the exact same way. What you get out of working with a private advisor will depend on your specific needs.
For instance, if you are applying to a research-intensive graduate program, your grad school advisor will likely need to help you figure out how to highlight your research skills and write a research interest statement. On the other hand, a different student who is applying to a special master's program in order to improve their chances of getting into med school would have to learn how to highlight a different set of skills.
So, let's explore the many different ways in which graduate school advisors can help students:
Finding the right programs
Students often assume that the higher the number of schools they apply to, the higher their chances of getting admission to at least one of them. This is not only untrue, but it is also not ideal because it can get very expensive. Most schools have application fees that can be as high as $250. Even institutions that you apply to through a centralized system, like the OUAC for schools in Ontario, will still charge you an additional fee for applying to more than three programs at a time.
The key to getting into graduate school is applying to the schools that are a better match for you academically and personally. This means looking for schools that offer the program that you are interested in, but whose admissions requirements you not only meet but exceed.
Private graduate school advisors can help you through this process. They have access to a lot of information about admissions statistics which they can use to guide you and make sure you are not wasting your time and hard-earned money. Furthermore, a graduate school advisor can help you interpret information about different curriculums to ensure that you are applying to schools that will help you achieve your goals.
Preparing and perfecting your application
A private graduation school advisor can help you prepare all those tricky application components that we discussed earlier. Please note that we are not saying that they can write your admissions essay for you. Actually, you should stay away from advisors who offer to do the writing for you, as this would be counterproductive. Not only is it dishonest, but if the admissions board were to notice inconsistencies or find out that you did not write your essay, you would definitely get rejected from the program.
Instead of writing for you, advisors guide you through the process of brainstorming, writing, and editing your written application components. For example, let's say that your chosen program requests a letter of intent and a statement of purpose. Many students do not understand the difference between those two documents. A graduate school advisor would save you from having to spend hours researching. They can simply teach you how to write an effective statement of intent.
Furthermore, graduate school advisors are third parties who can look at your background and evaluate it objectively. They can provide personalized feedback and help you identify the skills, events, and experiences that will help you stand out and give you the tools to write about those strengths in a compelling way.
Getting ready for graduate school interviews
A good graduate school advisor is invaluable when it comes to grad school interview prep. Firstly, they can help you prepare answers to different types of graduate school interview questions in a way that is both memorable and compelling. They can also give you the tools and answer strategies that you need to answer the questions they cannot cover in practice sessions.
Additionally, good graduate school advisors include mock interviews in the interview preparation process, which allows you to familiarize yourself with the interview format that you will face and helps you develop your interview skills. Professional behavior and interview etiquette are acquired skills that you need to learn as early as possible. Mock interviews followed by personalized feedback from a graduate school advisor allow you to do just that in a safe setting where you can focus on learning and improving instead of worrying about not getting a work position or admission to a program.
Building valuable skills
Hiring a private graduate school advisor about more than figuring out how to get into grad school, it is actually an investment in your future. Not only do they save you time and money by maximizing your chances of successfully applying to graduate school, but they also help you build valuable skills that will help you succeed in academia and in your professional career.
The tools and strategies they will teach you while working on your personal statement, grad school CV, and other written components will help enhance your research and writing abilities. Additionally, as they help you prepare for your interviews, they will teach you how to communicate better and project confidence in professional settings. These are all skills that will be useful to you throughout your studies and long after you enter the workforce.
Still have questions about the graduate school application process? This video is for you:
How to find the right graduate school advisor
Now that you know how working with a private graduate school advisor might be beneficial to you, you need to know how to find one that is qualified enough to help you through this process and maximize your chances of success. There are many different graduate school advisors out there, but if you are going to spend your hard-earned money on their services, you need to make sure that you are working with the right one for you.
Your ideal graduate school advisor will depend on various factors, such as your budget, your location, the stage of the application process that you’re on, and the discipline that you are in. However, there are a few key elements that good graduate school advisors have in common. So, to ensure that you are getting the best value for your investment, here are a few things that we recommend you pay special attention to as you look for your private graduate school advisor:
It may seem obvious, but students don't always know what information to look for when they want to verify an advisor's qualifications. It is not enough for them to have the title of a graduate school advisor. You want to ensure that they are trained professionals with the expertise and experience to guide you through this challenging process.
There are private graduate school advisors who work independently, but most of the time, they work with academic consulting agencies like us here at BeMo. Before starting to work with one, go through their website and learn as much as possible about the company itself and its advisors. What are their credentials? How are they selected? Have they been to graduate school? Or have they gone through the process of applying to a specialized graduate program such as medical school, for example? Do they receive any additional training?
Good graduate school advisors will have no problem providing you with this information. For example, here at BeMo, we wrote an entire blog post detailing our extensive process so that our students can be well informed and they do not have to wonder if BeMo academic consulting is worth it.
Their track record
You want to work with a private graduate school advisor that is not only experienced, but that also has a proven track record of successfully helping students. If they have worked with thousands of students, but only a few of them actually got into their chosen programs, you probably shouldn't work with them.
Instead, look for graduate school advisors with a high success rate. Look for success stories on their websites and positive independent reviews on reputable websites like Trustpilot. That is the best way to find out if their services actually work. Additionally, finding out what other students have to say about them will also give you some idea of what to expect while working with them.
Their services and guarantees
Good services cost money. That applies to the services of a physician, an electrician, a coach, and any other service provider, including a private graduate school advisor. However, you should not have to break the bank to get some assistance with your graduate school application.
That's why we recommend looking for advisors that offer various payment options for students. They should also be transparent about the cost of their services. If they are hesitant to talk about money from the very beginning, it's usually a sign that they have hidden fees that you will have to deal with down the line. Furthermore, if they are being secretive or dishonest about their fees, then you have to wonder what else they are not being honest about!
You should look for an advisor or consulting company with its services and prices clearly displayed on its website. Or, at the very least, they should offer a free initial consultation during which you can ask questions and try to figure out whether or not they can actually help you without spending money upfront.
Lastly, you should inquire about what happens if you follow all of their tips, strategies, and advice, but you still don't get an acceptance. Look for an advisor that offers some sort of guarantee. For example, here at BeMo, we believe in our services, and we like to put our money where our mouth is. That is why we have a get in or your money back® guarantee that our advisors would be happy to tell you more about.
To summarize, getting into grad school is not an easy or straightforward process, especially because so much of the admissions process varies from one school to another. Private graduate school advisors are experts who use their insider knowledge to help students navigate this process. A good private advisor will work with you to ensure that you have the tools and strategies to prepare a compelling application and get that coveted letter of admission. The best part of it is that those tools and strategies will help you develop skills that will increase your chances of doing well in your graduate program, and beyond.
1. How hard is it to get into graduate school?
Getting into grad school can be hard. Not only does the level of competition depends on the specific program you are applying to, but the admission requirements and application components for most graduate school programs can be quite challenging to prepare.
2. What GPA do I need to get into grad school?
That depends on your chosen program and the school you're applying to. Generally speaking, though, graduate school programs like to admit students who are likely to do well in their program, so the higher your GPA, the better it is.
3. How much do private graduate school advisors cost?
On average, the services of a private graduate school advisor can cost between $150 and $200 per hour, but this amount varies significantly from one advisor to another.
4. What is the difference between a student advisor and a private graduate school advisor?
Student advisors are trained to help students navigate the path to graduation at the institution that they work with, and they can provide advice and guidance based on publicly available information. On the other hand, private graduate school advisors are admissions experts who are trained to help students navigate the lengthy, complex process of applying and getting into graduate school.
5. Do I need a graduate school advisor to get accepted?
You do not need one, but they can significantly improve your chances of getting accepted. So, if you want to maximize your chances of getting into graduate school, you may want one.
6. What application component do private graduate school advisors help with?
They can help you brainstorm and prepare all of your written application components, such as statements of purpose, research interest statements, etc.
7. Can a private graduate school advisor write my statement of purpose for me?
No! They can guide you through the writing process and help you edit, but you should stay away from any advisors who are willing to write your application components for you as they may cost you your admission to your chosen program.
8. Can graduate school advisors help you prepare for situational judgment tests?
Absolutely! Graduate school advisors can help you prepare for judgment tests like CASPer, and MMIs.
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