College Application Booster​®: High School Seniors, Get ahead on your college application!

Dispelling 3 Common Myths About College Consultants

Mar 11, 2024

Command Education’s approach to the college admissions process is pioneering and distinct for many reasons, including our focus on emotional intelligence, student-centered growth, and the development of students’ passions and core interests. One of the most distinguishing factors of our model is near-peer mentorship. Rather than working with former admissions officers, Command Education students are guided by Senior Mentors who are all recent graduates of Ivy League and other top institutions.

As families consider their options and seek to find the right college consulting firm, many make inadvertent assumptions about what constitutes a knowledgeable and qualified consultant. Given the rapidly changing landscape of top college admissions, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date with the various approaches to consulting, and even more difficult to pinpoint the most effective method for your student’s needs and goals. Below, we dispel three common myths about college consultants to help you find the right one for your student!

Myth #1: College admissions consulting only entails compiling college applications.

Many parents assume that the college application process begins during junior year when their students take the SAT or ACT, visit colleges, and put together a college list—but the process of building an applicant profile begins far earlier. Students vying for coveted spots at top-tier institutions should start preparing for the application process during their freshman year of high school in order to develop a compelling hook. Many consulting firms employ part-time consultants who often do not have the bandwidth to provide students with the support they need during the critical early stages of their high school careers. By seeking a firm that provides unlimited support for students starting freshman year or earlier, parents can ensure that their students establish a foundation for success in the college admissions process.

Myth #2: Former admissions officers know more about the college admissions process.

Many college consulting firms employ former admissions officers as consultants, and parents often believe that those who have served on admissions committees are naturally the most knowledgeable about what colleges and universities are looking for. However, it is essential to note that the college admissions landscape changes dramatically from one year to the next; particularly in the years since the Covid-19 pandemic, the standards, policies, and trends shaping the process are constantly evolving. This means that even three years away from the admissions office will leave a former admissions officer behind on current trends and the most up-to-date information about what colleges are looking for now.

Some firms purport that they use quantifiable data and analysis to maximize the odds of application success. As appealing as the promise of such data may be, top tier institutions implement holistic admissions processes that render such numerical approaches nearly impossible. Instead, these institutions are looking for students who have demonstrated their passions throughout their high school career through activities, coursework, and independent projects, and have mobilized their passions in service of their communities. In short, they look for truly stand out applicants.

As such, admissions officers are trained to review and assess completed applications and identify strong from weak candidates. By contrast, creating a compelling and unique applicant profile requires a different skill set entirely; one used to identify tailored opportunities for students to enrich their core interests and coach students to execute dynamic passion projects. This is precisely what Command Education Senior Mentors are trained to do. They are true mentors—they do not merely locate gaps in a student’s resume or quantify their odds of acceptance, they work with students to develop a personalized and bespoke path for them.

Recent graduates such as Command Education’s Senior Mentors bring a fresh perspective and firsthand knowledge of the current admissions landscape, having navigated the process themselves not long ago. This proximity to the admissions process allows them to stay abreast of the latest trends, insights, and best practices, ensuring that their guidance to clients is relevant, up-to-date, and informed. By leveraging their recent experiences as applicants, recent graduates are better equipped to anticipate changes, adapt strategies, and provide tailored advice that resonates with high school students navigating the process.

Myth #3: It doesn’t matter whether your student connects with their consultant—what matters is the results.

Another common myth is that results matter more than the rapport between students and their consultants. However, results often stem from the trust and connection that students feel with their consultants—when students feel that they can relate to their counselor and that their growth is genuinely important to them, they are more likely to invest in the process, share their roadblocks more openly, and feel motivated to reach their potential. Unlike former admissions officers who may be several years removed from the college application process, recent graduates can empathize with the challenges, anxieties, and aspirations of applicants on a deeper level. Their relatability fosters trust, rapport, and open communication, creating a supportive and empowering environment for students. In the midst of the stress and contention of the college application process, Senior Mentors are able to diffuse tension between students and parents by offering near-peer, non-parental support that pushes students to achieve their goals and find success in the admissions process.

By leveraging the unique perspectives, insights, and experiences of recent graduates, Command Education is able to provide personalized, expert guidance to aspiring Ivy League graduates. To learn more about how Command Education matches students with the right Senior Mentor for them, check out our interview with Command Education VP of Enrollment Ali Mantell!

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