A study at the Harvard Graduate School of Education points out that the percentage of college applicants who have college consultants providing college admissions assistance to them is on the rise. This should come as no surprise. In fact, the author of the study, Alexis Brooke Redding, finds, “‘22% of all freshmen at private, four-year colleges [in 2006] have used IECs [independent college consultants]. IECs are becoming an integral part of the revised admissions process.”
If the notion that 22% of freshmen at private, four year colleges used college consultants strikes you as high, consider that this study was as of 2006 and since then the number is significantly higher. One reason that you may think that this statistic is unlikely is because most students and parents rarely, if ever, admit to using college consultants. A student doesn’t want to admit to his friend who got into Yale University that he had help in gaining admission to that very college. And a parent doesn’t want to admit to the parent of a child’s peer that they didn’t do it all on their own. What’s ironic is that both parents may well have used college consultants for guidance in the admissions process. It’s everyone’s deep dark secret. It’s no wonder that Ivy Coach often works with siblings and cousins of previous clients, but rarely gets referrals of friends of clients.
Other research, points out Mark Sklarow of IECA, an organization we’ve been a member of but pretty much view as a joke, indicates that 26% of high-achieving seniors used a college consultant. And think of how many students and parents aren’t included in that statistic because they didn’t want to admit they had admissions assistance! The role of the college consultant is to work behind the scenes so that no one – not the high school guidance counselor, not parents of fellow students, not college admissions counselors – are aware that students had assistance in the college admissions process. Confidentiality is a key component.
So next time you’re picking your son up from soccer practice and a mother of another kid on the team is bragging about how her son got into Duke University all on his own, know that there’s a good chance that he had some help along the way. And that help may well have included a college consultant.
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