Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants call and email us with an array of questions. Below we put together a list of some of the most common questions or frequently asked questions about our process from our Former Admissions Officer Consultants. Click below.
How do I gain admission to Top 50 Colleges?
Strong academics paired with a unique and deep resume, focused on a less common area of study.
How do I gain admission to Stanford and Ivy League Universities?
Similar to #2 above, the academics are near-perfect and paired with a profile that has deep intellectual vitality (activities like research, but see our webinar recordings for more about this topic).
What is the college admission process?
Many students mistakenly think that the admissions process is where colleges weigh the value of your effort and achievements on their own merits; a rejection letter is often seen as a personal failure. Instead, your effort and achievements are weighed against the school's needs for an intellectually diverse class and the other options they have for it in their applicant pool. From this perspective, rejection usually comes from a lack of strategy rather than effort.
When to start the admission process?
The student has to be ready to look at this kind of planning, but an earlier start means more success at the end and less stress throughout. We begin planning for college with many students in middle school.
How to develop a resume that would be attractive to Ivy League Universities?
The key to a strong resume is avoiding the typical well-rounded profile and common list of activities everyone else is pursuing (standard clubs, generic community service, etc). A strong and specific academic focus should be the highlight, with each activity and accomplishment on the resume supporting it.
What extracurricular activities and volunteering options should we consider outside of the school?
They need to tie into your positioning strategy, or specific academic focus. Selective schools also want to see a student demonstrate individual initiative, creating their own opportunities rather than just relying on the structure provided by established programs. If done well, your own independent research blog, non-profit venture, etc, will make a bigger impact.
I don’t live in New York. Should I hire a local admissions consultant or do you work with students outside of New York?
Most local consultants who come over to your home are not going to be former admissions officers at elite universities. All of our consultants are former admissions officers at elite universities, which is why we are in demand nationally. The majority of students we work with do not live in New York. Many live in California, Texas or are international students living abroad. Our responsive team of consultants performs all the necessary communication and work via phone, skype and emails. There is no difference between working with us whether you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, the Bay Area, New York, New Jersey, Dallas, or Chicago; you receive the same customized, responsive attention and results either way.
I’d like to speak to your past clients to get a feel for the admissions consulting experience and what it entails. Can you put me in touch with past clients?
Since we work with our valued clients on a confidential basis, we are unable to breach this relationship and trust by disclosing the names and contact information of our past clients for the sake of landing more clients. Similarly, if you choose to work with us, we will ensure that your student’s name remains confidential and will not give it out to anyone under any circumstance. Actual acceptance letters from clients for the most recent admissions cycle are the ultimate reference as they are proof of where our clients got in and of their satisfaction.
You can view our clients' acceptance letters here.
My child has a helpful high school counselor and will get teachers and relatives to review the college admissions essays. Isn’t this sufficient for applying to the top colleges?
Many high school counselors are overwhelmed with the hundreds of students they are responsible for helping and cannot provide the type of individualized attention necessary to maximize admissions odds. In addition, although counselors and teachers can assist in the application writing process, most have never been on the admissions committees at the top colleges and maybe unaware of what makes an applicant stand out from the rest. All of our admissions consultants have insider experience being on the admissions committees at some of the top schools in the country, including Stanford, MIT, Penn, Columbia, UCLA, and the University of Chicago. The opinion of an insider is invaluable to getting accepted and cannot be replaced by the assistance of most counselors and teachers.
Is it worth the money to hire an independent counselor?
Over the last decade, admissions rates at most of the top schools have decreased by approximately 50% on average (see chart below). It used to be that a student with perfect grades and near-perfect test scores with a plethora of extra-curricular activities would be admitted at many top schools; this is no longer the case as top colleges have tightened the criteria for gaining admission significantly. Parents and students often spend over $200k to finance a four-year private college education these days.
Getting in is the hard part, and our consulting rates are a drop in the bucket compared to the annual cost of college. Surveys have shown that one in three students applying to a private university in the U.S. hire an admissions consultant. All of our consultants are former admissions officers with insider knowledge of how to get your child accepted to his or her top choice colleges. Although we don’t make admissions guarantees, over 90% of our clients are accepted to one of their top 3 choice colleges.
Click here to view our Independent Accountant Report for the 2019-2020 Admissions Cycle.
Admission Rates by Year 2020
What is the difference between the services you offer and hiring an essay editing service?
Our services comprise far more than mere essay editing. Most essay editors have never sat on an elite college admissions committee, nor do they have the insider perspective needed to properly package and market an applicant to maximize results.
In addition to essay editing, we offer a comprehensive assessment of our client’s strengths and weaknesses, take active steps to minimize their weaknesses, strategically position our clients to stand out from the crowd, assist with the selection of the most compelling essay topic, assist with crafting supplemental essays that emphasize what each elite school looks for in applicants, work with recommendation letter writers to help them in crafting recommendation letters that stand out from the crowd, assist in compiling a brag sheet that enhances our client’s positioning strategy, provide financial aid guidance, and provide unparalleled career guidance since we have a leading medical school, MBA and graduate school admissions consulting practices.
My child is not a mainstream applicant and may need specialized assistance. Do you have expertise working with non-mainstream applicants?
Our clients come from a diverse set of backgrounds, but we have expertise in working with students who may have special needs during the application process. International students applying to American universities comprise a good number of our clients, and we have successfully placed them at all the top schools. We have successfully worked with athletes applying to the Ivy League and initiate contact with Ivy League coaches for them. In addition, we have experience working with overrepresented minorities such as Asian American applicants to help them in overcoming quota issues at the top schools.
My child just finished middle school. Is it too early to work with an admissions consultant?
A good number of our clients come to us in the 9th and 10th grades so that we can help coach and shape their academic and extra-curricular passions to maximize acceptance to their top-choice schools. This includes, but is not limited to, reaching out to professors at universities to initiate research opportunities for them, helping them to expand their musical or sports passions beyond the norm of school-sponsored activities, and helping students to achieve national recognition within their niche to maximize admissions chances.
I want to know my student’s chances of gaining admission to two or three top choice colleges. Can you give this to me during the initial consultation?
Yes, but we first need to critically evaluate your child’s transcripts, test scores, and resume before the initial consultation. If you are interested in a free initial 20-minute consultation, please email us with the information above when scheduling a meeting.