During the college admissions process, many families hire an independent college admissions counselor to provide personalized support. College counselors can help a wide range of high school students navigate the college application process and gain admission to their dream schools. Working with a college counselor can be especially helpful for students with specific or niche interests, such as aspiring athletes or artists.
College counselors can also serve as valuable resources for students with learning disabilities and other educational challenges. In addition to ensuring students have enough time for ACT and SAT testing, college counselors can help students and their families identify schools that provide the best programs for their needs and goals.
With so many options available, choosing the right college admissions counselor can feel overwhelming. So, what questions should you ask when choosing the perfect college admissions counselor?
How accessible are they?
It’s important to consider how often you’ll meet with your counselor—either virtually or in-person. If you have quick questions about the admissions process, your college counselor should be available between meetings.
The college application process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re set on attending a specific school. Knowing you have a resource available for advice and encouragement can help you minimize stress while navigating the admissions process.
Will they keep your best interests in mind?
For some students, pressure from high school counselors, teachers, and parents can add to the stress of college admissions. The right college for you might not be the most prestigious school or the school your parents graduated from. Instead, choosing the right college depends on your personality, goals, and interests.
During your preliminary meeting or phone conversation, ask yourself whether you feel comfortable connecting with your counselor. Choosing a counselor that’s serious about getting to know you can help you ensure your best interests are kept in mind, so you can get find—and get into—your dream school.
What’s their background?
When searching for a college counselor, take notes on the credentials and real-world experience of potential counselors. Private admissions counselors typically have experience in college admissions offices or high school counseling. Consider looking for counselors with degrees in Counseling and Higher Education, membership in national organizations like IECA and NACAC, and certification from an accredited counseling program.
In addition to their experience, many college counselors post their clients’ acceptances or client testimonials on their websites. If you can’t find any information about their track record, ask potential counselors how many of their clients have gotten into their dream school, and how their clients felt about working with them.
What services do they offer?
Most private admissions counselors are upfront about their rates and services, but make sure to ask if you can’t find information on their websites. College admissions counselors may offer any of the following services:
- College search
- Sending standardized testing scores
- Early decision/early action applications
- College interview prep
- Personal statement review
- Application review
- FAFSA and financial aid planning
- College decisions
Along with helping students navigate the application process, some private admissions counselors support students in selecting the best high school coursework, requesting teacher recommendation letters, and choosing extracurriculars. Working with a college admissions counselor as early as freshman year of high school can give students the best opportunity to get into their dream school.
If you’re not sure where to start looking, the admissions counselors at zinc.nyc have helped thousands of students navigate the college admissions process. With years of collective experience in application review, personal statements, and full-service college counseling, the counselors at Zinc offer earlier and more personalized attention to high school students and their families.
Ultimately, you’ll know whether an admissions counselor is right for you if they make you feel comfortable and encourage you to present your best self to your dream schools.