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Why Private College Admissions Consulting Has Become the Rule

Being accepted by a prestigious college has become increasingly difficult to achieve in the last decade.Why is this happening?
Why Private College Admissions Consulting Has Become the Rule
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Entrepreneur Staff
6 min read

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Nearly every child knows the answer to this question, but how much attention do children really get in making their dream job a reality? As inexperienced teenagers, young people are under extreme pressure to make the most important work product and the decision of their lives, which is to craft a perfect college application and to choose the right college that will turn their dreams into reality. However, many parents realize too late, often after the end of the college application process, that their child submitted a subpar application and could have benefitted from professional assistance. Why leave such an important life event to chance when one hires professionals to handle other key matters like preparing one’s taxes and wedding planning?

Being accepted by a prestigious college has become increasingly difficult to achieve in the last decade.Why is this happening?

According to Vitaly Borishan, Co-Founder of Solomon Admissions Consulting an international admissions consulting company, the number of applicants has skyrocketed due to the acceptance of the Common Application, an online application system that allows applicants to easily apply to colleges with a simple click of the mouse.

“In 2002, Cornell University received 21,502 applications, and in 2017 the count was up by more than double to 47,038 applications.Even though there are thousands of colleges to choose from, top tier universities, such as Ivy League schools, have become even less accessible than before,” says Borishan. Unfortunately, community colleges and online universities do not offer the same post-graduate opportunities as these top-tier institutions and increased competition for the same number of slots and lowered admission rates has meant that applicants are after every advantage they can get to gain admission to the top schools.

Nevertheless, there are people who may ask why 26% of college applicants today even use a private college admissions consultant instead of just consulting a high school guidance counselor or the internet. While a potential student can use these resources for general assistance and information, those sources cannot generate an individual strategy custom-tailored for a specific applicant. Online resources cannot emphasize precise qualities a person may have that makes him or her suitable for a particular top-tier institution. Such personalized information is also hard to come by in schools where high school guidance counselors have hundreds of students and never had any experience working in college admissions offices.

Although parents may think they know how to best guide their child, in reality, how much can a busy parent who is occupied with a full-time job and who has never been through the hyper-competitive college admissions process of todayknow about college admissions? Given these circumstances, it’s not surprising that many college applicants rely on themselves and pure luck to gain admission, which are unfortunately often not enough.

“These days, if you’re not using a college admissions consultant, you’re way behind,” says Borishan. In the past decade, acceptance rates at the nation’s top colleges have plummeted by over 50%. The situation has changed dramatically, and understandably, applicants want to gain every advantage. Having perfect grades and test scores is no longer sufficient as Ivy League schools reject over 50% of valedictorians with perfect SAT scores.Top schools want evidence of intellectual vitality or a love of learning outside the classroom and an extremely angular extra-curricular profile that shows that a student is the best at one activity. “What we as private college admissions consultants aim to do is give potential college applicants all the advantages and information possible in order for them to make their applications the best that they can be.”

Plummeting College Acceptance Rates Over the Past 13 Years

School

2005

2018

Brown University

15%

8.6%

Columbia University

12%

7.0%

Cornell University

31%

14.0%

Dartmouth College

18%

11.5%

Duke University

23%

10.8%

Harvard University

11%

5.9%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

16%

7.7%

Northwestern University

33%

12.9%

Princeton University

10%

7.3%

Stanford University

13%

5.1%

University of California - Berkeley

27%

17.6%

University of Pennsylvania

29%

9.9%

Vanderbilt University

40%

12.3%

Yale University

11%

6.3%

Table shows the national acceptance rates at top universities in 2005 and in 2018. Most college acceptance rates have decreased by approximately 50 per cent.

Having a private college admissions consultant has become a necessity and no longer a luxury. As a matter of fact, competition among students has become so fierce that students are signing up with college admissions consultants as early as 9th grade.

Two of the best known nationally known private college admissions consulting firms are Solomon Admissions Consulting and Bentham Admissions. Both provide consulting “from A to Z,” helping with the positioning of the college application, the narrative, the most advantageous major, the essays, the resume, the interview, and the school list selection. The difference between the two companies is that all of the consulting provided by Solomon Admissions Consulting is done by former admissions officers of top universities, such as Stanford and Cornell University, while at Bentham Admissions, the consulting is provided by recent graduates of top universities.

The most in-demand consulting firms on the market are those that offer help from former college admissions officers of top universities since they have extensive knowledge of the college admissions process from the inside. However, some families instead prefer to work with graduates of top universities, as those consultants are often more affordable and have fresh insight into recent trends at top universities.

College admissions consultants offer their essay editing skills as well. Such consultants often work together with professional editors to assist college applicants in optimizing their college application essays. College admissions consultants often also help to find scholarships for the applicant, which often saves the student tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. At the end of the day, experienced private college admissions consultants can take the stress of the college admissions process out of the parents’ hands, and make for a more relaxed senior year.

Whether working with a former college admissions officer or a recent graduate of a top university, it does seem to be that working with a private college admissions consultant is better than going in blind and having no consultant at all.

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