Data Underestimates Use of Private College Counselors

Use of College Counselors, Use of Private College Counselors, Data on Private College Counselors

More and more families are turning to private college counselors these days (photo credit: Derrick Smith).

Some years ago, the marketing firm Lipman Hearne conducted a nationwide survey of 1,264 students who scored at the 70th percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT to gauge the use of private college counselors in the admissions process. Their study concluded that 26% of these students admitted to working with a private college counselor. The survey’s findings sparked a slew of articles in which parents, educators, journalists, and just about everyone in between put on their best faux surprise faces as they lamented why such a high percentage of students use outside help. We too find it ridiculous — just in a different way. You see, the most important word in the survey’s findings is…a-d-m-i-t.

More Students Use Private College Counselors than People Think

In our over quarter century of experience helping students navigate the highly selective college admissions process, we find that we always get the siblings. The parents of our students want our help for their younger children. They typically want us to honor the same fee we charged their first child irrespective of how many years passed since but they always want our help with the next one in line. In fact, if people would get it without an explanation, we’d probably make it our company’s tagline: We always get the siblings. And we usually get the cousins. But we rarely get the friends.

At Ivy Coach, we always get the siblings. We usually get the cousins. We rarely get the friends. And, if you think about it, it makes total sense.

But, Ivy Coach, you always get the siblings, usually the cousins, and rarely the friends — why exactly is that? Oh that’s an easy one. The parents of our former students want our help with their younger children because they’ve seen our results firsthand. We were their secret weapon. With an emphasis on the word secret. Many parents, though certainly not all, often tell their siblings about their secret weapon in the admissions process so their nieces and nephews can have an advantage too. Siblings often have no problem sharing their secrets. But friends? No way. That’s the competition. Parents at the grocery store are quick to brag that their children earned admission to their dream colleges but they certainly don’t want to acknowledge that they paid for outside help. And they certainly don’t want to acknowledge that they paid Ivy Coach’s fees for this help.

Use of Private College Counselors is Underestimated Because of Verbiage and Grocery Store Chatter

So when we recently read a piece in “Entrepreneur” entitled “Why Private College Admissions Consulting Has Become the Rule” that states, “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,” color us frustrated. Let’s get the verbiage right. 26% of high-achieving college applicants don’t use private college consultants. 26% of high-achieving college applicants admit to using private college consultants. You can bet the percentage of high-achieving students who actually use private college consultants is a whole lot higher — no matter what you hear at the grocery store.


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