This question often comes after a consultant introduces their profession, usually followed by “What school/college do you work for?” or “I thought consultants worked only with Ivy League applicants.” Questions and assumptions are understandable due to the relative newness of this profession; however, it is important that people know about this niche of advising so that they may determine the best way we can assist them in their higher educational pursuits.
A college admissions consultant can be described as a high school counselor, college advisor, and mentor all rolled into one:
Like a high school counselor, we listen to and advise students (and their families) regarding their anxieties and aspirations, although it’s typically limited to the academic, college, and career sphere. Unlike a high school counselor, we do not counsel or advise students regarding emotional or behavioral issues (although a good consultant addresses these issues when considering college options. However, we are usually a good source for trusted referrals to allied counseling professionals.
A college consultant intentionally guides students through the murky waters of high school and college curriculum selection, academic requirements, and concerns regarding areas of study. Unlike a college advisor, many consultants work with students before, during, and/or after college, and we are not limited to a particular college, university, or department.
Like a tutor, a college consultant can help students with practical test-taking advice and is a good resource for college essay guidance and can offer helpful reminders and suggestions for getting organized or following a timeline. Unlike a tutor, consultants usually don’t provide subject-specific tutoring for homework/school assignments. Essays and college applications – we don’t do the work for the student, we help students express themselves – we believe in the individual voice. Encourage responsibility, thoroughness, and uniqueness.
Obviously, every college admissions consultant is different. For example, the director and owner of Bright Futures, Dr. Dennard, is a licensed counselor and therefore may provide the type of support offered by a counselor or therapist. Bright Futures also partners with a university to provide educational consulting to their employees, and in that case, we help the employees navigate within their specific school system. Different consultants offer different services based on their interests, experience, and credentials, which leads to the next common question: