What the Pros Know: Which Type of College Consultant Can Help?
Have you noticed how many college consultants there are in the college admissions and finance area?
It’s great because you can get almost any kind of help with college you need, but it can also be overwhelming to sort through.
Knowing what each type of college consultant can provide you with and when you might want to hire them can really help streamline the college process.
Here is a quick review of common pros, what they know, and how they can help you.
What Do Test Prep Tutors Do?
The first step to getting into college is taking standardized exams, which include the ACT and SAT.
Some students struggle with standardized tests, and others simply need help reinforcing the subject matter.
If you hire a private test prep tutor, your student will receive personalized attention in preparing for these important exams.
A great SAT or ACT tutor will:
- Help your student set a target score as a goal, based on the admission scores at the preferred college
- Encourage your student to set reasonable expectations, not simply add to the pressure of the senior year
- Help your child establish a structured studying schedule, along with a practice test schedule
- Identify and address specific content weaknesses your child faces
- Give suggestions on how to approach specific types of questions or problems
- Help with test time management, stress, and managing careless errors
A private tutor is a great choice to bring up your student’s scores.
It’s a long-term, focused answer where your child gets personalized attention to help with college admissions.
What Do Essay Tutors Do?
An essay tutor is a specialized service that helps your student do well with all of those admissions essays. Essay tutoring is generally not included with college counseling or test preparation.
Many times, a school wants to know what really makes a student tick, so they ask for an essay beyond the application itself.
This essay not only helps make admission decisions, it can be key for merit scholarships and other awards as well.
If your student struggles to express themselves in writing – and many do – an essay tutor can be exactly what they need.
Essay tutors are not essay writers. Your student should write 100% of their own work.
Here’s the help your student can expect from an essay tutor:
- Brainstorming essay topics
- Revising essays to bring out key details and unique voice
- Grammar and writing tutoring if needed
- Guidance researching “Why I want to attend this school” essays
- Final editing to ensure no details are missed
Be sure to avoid essay “tutors” who offer to write the essay for a fee.
College admissions teams can see right through that – they know what typical 18-year-olds write and what they don’t.
What Do College Counselors Do to Help With College?
College counselors are focused on helping students apply for, get admitted to, and find scholarships for college.
There are two primary kinds.
The High School Counselor
Your student’s high school probably has at least one counselor who is focused on helping students apply for and move on to college.
These professionals can be very helpful in helping your student understand their interests, find scholarship information, get recommendation letters, and more.
However, a high school college counselor is probably serving 350-500 students. As a result, you may not be getting the kind of focused attention you need.
In addition, your student has to show a lot of initiative themselves the get the most out of a high school counselor
The Private College Counselor
You may, instead, choose to get help from a private college counselor, or college admissions consultant. A private counselor is focused only on your student and your family situation.
You can expect a variety of services, including:
- Help finding a “best fit” school for your student and family situation
- A personalized admission strategy to maximize the chance of success
- Helping your student stand out from the crowd in applications
- Help you choose between admission and financial aid offers
This can make a big difference, especially if you’re aiming for a specific, high-profile school.
Keep in mind, however, that admissions counseling is separate from financial counseling.
What Financial Professionals Are Available?
Paying for college can be the biggest concern facing parents today.
There are a variety of financial professionals who can make a big difference in your planning process.
College Aid Consultants
A college aid consultant will focus on helping you successfully navigate the FAFSA.
The FAFSA is longer than a tax form and errors are common. These professionals comb your form – or fill it out for you – to ensure nothing is missed.
Keep in mind that filling out the FAFSA on your own is free, so if your situation is not all that complicated, you can easily do that with this walkthrough.
Certified Financial Planner
A certified financial planner can help you plan for college with your family’s larger financial picture in mind.
Generally, working with a CFP should start when your children are younger, so you have enough time to maximize your options.
There are a variety of other consultants who can help you with your financial needs.
Some will specialize in scholarships, others in ferreting out truly affordable schools. Be sure that the person you choose to work with has been vetted, is ethical, and has good references.
Don’t be shy about calling other families they’ve worked with.
College Counseling Everyone Can Afford
For those families that want guidance for admissions and paying for college, we created the Road2College Concierge Service.
We believe it’s just as important to give expert guidance as it is to provide services at a price everyone can afford.
Our Concierge Service is a combination of group coaching sessions combined with personalized advice.
Led by Russ Vitale, our College Concierge, who has over 16 years of working one-on-one guiding families through college admissions and beyond.
Click here to join now.
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