How to Choose a College Counselor

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Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

Our collaborative team of content writers and researchers stay up-to-date on the latest news to help you ace your applications. We hope you enjoy the blog.

Are you wondering how to choose or even find a college counselor? If so, you’re not alone. It can be confusing, so we’re here to help.

Many parents contemplate getting a private college counselor for their child, especially during junior and senior year of high school. Each year getting accepted to the top colleges becomes exponentially harder, and students and parents often feel overwhelmed by the deadlines. Having helped hundreds of students over the past six years, we at Empowerly have some advice for parents beginning the search.

First, determine your goals.

Is your child applying to many “reach colleges”? Do they need help keeping track of deadlines? Do they need help with writing and managing their time?

If you answer yes to any of the above, considering a college counselor is a great idea.

A Stanford faculty member recently estimated that 23% of applicants used a private college counselor. Giving your child that extra edge and an outside perspective can be helpful if you are aiming for reach schools.

Second, as a parent, try to assess your child’s need for a mentor.

More than anything, they can act as mentors who inspire seniors to write passionate and truthful essays.  Many times, students do not feel that they need outside help. But as parents, you know how valuable an outside opinion can be, especially if the student looks up to the mentor as a guide.

Third, prepare your mindset.

College is costly – often over $200,000 for four years of education at a private college. Counselors normally cost $3,000 – $20,000, depending on your level of involvement. When you put this in perspective, it is often worth the investment if the counselor can increase your child’s chances even a few percentage points. At Empowerly, our return-on-investment proves positive in multiplying your chances, and even earning you scholarships–but we also recognize that ensuring the best possible future for your child is priceless.

Your list of must-haves

If you decide to pursue college counseling, here are some tips on how to choose a college counselor: 

  1. Interview the counselor helping your child.
  2. Make sure your child meets the counselor prior to signing up.
  3. Determine an outline of what is to be accomplished and how to get there.
  4. Do not sit in meetings with the counselor every meeting – let the student express themselves individually during sessions!

College counseling can have a mixed reputation – and that is because of the mixed quality and sophistication of counselors. But just like any other service, careful vetting reveals good college admissions counselors.

Determine your goals, assess the need for a mentor and guideline tracker, and prepare your mindset. If all three of these steps are positive, we have provided you a list of what to look for in a college admissions counselor.

In the end, private counselors can be extremely helpful short and long-term for high school students. As parents, taking lead on providing your child with the best resources they need for the stressful college admissions process can be empowering and productive.

Questions? Let us know!