I charge over $500,000 to help kids get into Ivy League schools. For some students, my support starts in middle school.
By Jane Ridley | June 1, 2023, at 11:15 AM
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Christopher Rim. It has been edited for length and clarity.
When you run a boutique college-consulting firm like mine, you get used to urgent, last-minute requests.
Even though it was late at night and a holiday, I got a math teacher ready for the student by 11:30 p.m. They had a 1 ½ -hour class and logged off at 1 a.m.
The next day, the student texted me after his exam.
“I feel really good about how it went,” he said. “Thanks so much for getting me the tutor last minute.”
There’s so much competition, so you have to stand out
My company, Command Education, gives one-on-one support to students 24/7. They can contact me or one of their mentors whenever they need us. We charge parents $750,000 for six years if they hire us when their kids are in seventh grade. If the child is in their first year of high school, we charge $500,000 for four years.
The goal is to get these students to the right college long before they apply.
There’s so much competition out there — according to Ivy Day, Harvard accepted only 3.41% of applicants and Columbia accepted only 3.9% for the graduating class of 2027. You need to stand out — in a big way.
You want to tell the admissions officers, “I’m so different; I am unique. I’m going to add immense value if I’m accepted to your school.” You want to challenge them with, “You’re going to want me, and if not, you’re going to regret it.”
High averages and SAT scores are important. But they count for nothing if the admissions team can’t see a high level of emotional intelligence, too.
It’s not my job to help kids tick boxes on a checklist. Some people think it’s enough for them to say they do debate team, newspaper club, and volunteering. But it’s generic. Everybody does those types of things.
You — and your college essay — have to be one of a kind. You should write about the one thing you’re most passionate about. Nobody wants to read an essay that lists your academic and extracurricular achievements or summarizes your entire life story.
The admissions staffers are not interested in why your grandpa is your hero or how you overcame heartbreak when you were dumped that first time. They want to read something memorable that demonstrates the unique value that you’ll bring to the college campus. Your essay must be distinct. You could write about setting up your own business, establishing a nonprofit, or publishing a book.
We employ mentors who advise prospective college students on how to launch their own businesses
When we started nine years ago, a parent came to us in desperation. They were concerned because their teenager didn’t care about anything apart from trading limited-edition and designer sneakers. He’d line up outside the store and buy some for $900. He’d sell them for $3,000 the next day.
“This is what he’s focusing on,” his father told me. “Can you please help us put him on the right track?” I said, “He’s on the right track already.” Our mentors helped give him the tools he needed to launch his business exchanging sneakers. “Nobody else from his high school is going to write their college essay on this topic,” I told the dad. The kid got into Stanford.
We recently helped a student become a top influencer on YouTube after she got beauty brands to sponsor her makeup tutorials. Another student is publishing a book about refugees in Europe after witnessing the crisis herself.
People ask why our support is so expensive. We’ll spend hundreds of hours with our students over the years. We do everything from homework tracking to helping them arrange an internship at a niche company. Our 34 mentors devise a customized road map so they’re accepted into one of their top three college choices. This year’s success rate was 94%.
Our students often come from megawealthy families
The students come from families that can afford our $750,000 fees. They’re the kind of people who spend six figures maintaining their yacht in the Hamptons for three months over the summer. They know that their kid has only one chance at getting into the right college. If they fail, they’ll be a transfer student with a much lower chance at getting in the following year.
These people want the best for their kids the moment they graduate high school. It costs a lot, but it’s a no-brainer.
Originally published on INSIDER on June 1, 2022