For the next few posts I am going to have a series disclosing what I call the dirty little secrets of the college admissions world. I am doing this because while there are many great independent counselors out there, a few give a bad name to all of us who act honestly and in the best interests of the students.
The first secret? The implication that a counselor should be hired because they “know people” who will help get you into the highly selective college of your choice.
The days of “knowing” people are long gone in the world of selective admissions. At least knowing in the sense that I can pick up a phone and talk to my buddy so we can guarantee your admission to a particular college. This actually used to happen, particularly with some private high schools that had relationships with certain colleges.
But today the landscape of college admissions is so much more competitive that students from all sorts of previously unknown high schools now compete successfully with private high school students for admissions to selective colleges.
Now days what is important is not knowing people, but rather knowing different types of colleges. The best independent educational consultants spend a great deal of time visiting visiting different colleges around the country in an effort to understand what colleges may be a good fit for the students we work with. And yes, we get to know many of the admissions officers at those colleges. That can help us if there is a question about a particular college that we need to help answer for our students. But it does not help to get you in.
If a college consultant says that they can get you in because they “know people”, run away as fast as you can.