The college admissions process is one of the most stressful times of a high school student’s life.
Luckily, they aren’t expected to chart these waters all on their own.
Most high schools have in-school guidance counselors who are responsible for helping students prepare for college. And if the in-school guidance counselor isn’t enough, students and their families always have the option of hiring a private admissions consultant.
A big thank you to Becca Blackeleri for her contributions to this article.
The Overlap Between In-School Guidance Counselors and Private Admissions Consultants
The primary role of an in-school guidance (or college) counselor is to put specific information into a student’s college application and guide them through the college application process.
But their job extends far beyond helping juniors and seniors apply to college. They’re often responsible for many aspects of a student’s well-being at school, including working with students with special considerations like mental health concerns, learning disabilities, and unique family situations.
Private admissions consultants provide many of the same services as in-school counselors. But they come from a third-party company like Signet that isn’t affiliated with the student’s school.
There’s a significant overlap between the role of an in-school counselor and the role of a private admissions consultant. Both individuals are committed to helping students navigate the challenging college admissions process so that students can find a school that’s the right fit.
But in-school counselors have a lot on their plate. They may not always have the resources to provide the level of guidance some students require.
For driven students who are proactive about their college applications, their interactions with an in-school counselor will likely be enough. But for students who need extra support, a private admissions counselor can complement their relationship with their in-school counselor and give them the boost they need.
Why Hire a Private Admissions Consultant?
If your rising junior could use additional guidance as they prepare for the college admissions process, a private admissions consultant can offer these benefits:
- Step-by-step guidance. When working with an in-school counselor, the onus is largely on the student to drive this interaction. But when you work with a private admissions consultant, you’re hiring someone to take ownership of your student’s success and really drive forward the college admissions process.
- Parent interaction. Many in-school counselors don’t have the time to meet with both parents and students on a regular basis. If you’d like to play a bigger role in your student’s journey, a private admissions consultant will interact closely with you the entire time.
- College essay development. If your student needs support drafting a solid college essay, a private admissions consultant will devote a lot of time to the reflection and drafting process to help them get it right.
- Finding the right fit. Choosing a college isn’t about getting into the best possible school. It’s about finding a school that matches your student across several dimensions: intellectual, social, geographical, professional, and financial, to name a few. A private admissions counselor will work with your student to help them with this critical decision.
- Test prep. A private admissions counselor typically doesn’t provide standardized test prep. But at Signet, our admissions counselors work closely with our test prep tutors. If your student needs help preparing for the SAT or ACT, we can connect them with the right person.