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College Applications

Is a College Counselor Worth It?

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By Collegewise Staff on June, 29 2023 | 10 minute read
At Collegewise, we want the same thing as you: to ensure that your teen has the most significant possible academic and personal success opportunities. This journey starts with understanding the college admissions process, which has become increasingly complex and competitive. With proper guidance and support, every student can find a college where they will thrive. 

College admissions can be a daunting process, and the role of a college counselor is often misunderstood. We understand that your teen’s education is a top priority, and making the best choices to facilitate their growth and success is at the forefront of your decisions.

Understanding the Modern Complexities of College Admission

The landscape of college admissions has significantly changed in the past few decades. With increased competition and diversified application requirements, colleges are looking at students holistically, which means extracurricular activities, leadership roles, personal essays, and letters of recommendation are all important considerations. 

Navigating this intricate process can be overwhelming for many students and their parents or guardians. This is where a college counselor steps in - to help understand these intricacies and create a strategic plan tailored to the student's unique strengths and aspirations.

Objection #1: Hiring a college counselor is too expensive

The perceived cost is one of the most common objections to hiring a college counselor. Quality college counseling can be a significant investment. However, it's essential to consider this expense in light of the potential benefits.

The college application process can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and fraught with potential mistakes for those unfamiliar. A college counselor's expertise can streamline this process, saving time and avoiding costly errors that might jeopardize your child's chances of admission.

Secondly, college counselors often have extensive knowledge of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities that families may need to know. They can guide families to these resources, assist in the application process, and potentially save thousands of dollars in the long run. At Collegewise, our in-house financial aid consultants give students the upper-hand and tools to attend college with as few expenses as possible! Click here to learn more.

It's also worth considering the long-term return on investment. The goal of a college counselor isn't just to help your child get into college - it's to help them get into the right college where they will thrive academically, socially, and personally. The right college environment can be crucial to your child's career trajectory and overall life satisfaction. Ensuring your child makes an informed and appropriate college choice can result in significant returns over their lifetime, far outweighing the initial investment in a college counselor.

Investing in a college counselor is an investment in the immediate college admissions process and your child's future.

Graduates from institutions like University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Northeastern University, and New York University (NYU) often find themselves well-positioned in the job market. On average, a UCLA graduate can anticipate a starting salary around $62,000, while those graduating from Northeastern University typically command starting salaries averaging around $60,000. Graduates from NYU, renowned for its programs in areas such as business and performing arts, often find themselves at the higher end of the spectrum, with average starting salaries of $71,00. These figures are, of course, subject to variation based on factors such as the field of study, the industry chosen, and the location of the job.

Objection #2: Our Child's School Already has a Guidance Counselor

It's important to recognize the distinction between school guidance counselors and college counselors. Both play vital roles but often have different areas of expertise and focus.
School guidance counselors typically have broad responsibilities They juggle a multitude of duties for hundreds of students, making it challenging to provide the kind of comprehensive, individualized support that a private college counselor can.

Collegewise recognizes the importance of localized knowledge in the college admissions process. Our team of over 70 counselors, former admissions officers, and admissions experts bring forward local knowledge and global expertise, having supported thousands of students from across the US in their unique admissions journey.

We don't just offer the perspective of a single counselor - we bring to bear the collective wisdom of a diverse team of experts. This 'bird's eye view' approach ensures that our families receive the most comprehensive, current, and effective strategies, informed by a wealth of diverse experiences and perspectives from across our counseling team.


The Limitations of School-Based Counselors in the Context of College Applications

A college counselor's primary focus is the college application and selection process. They specialize in understanding the complexities and nuances of college admissions, from creating a balanced college list and fine-tuning application essays to helping students develop spectacular extracurricular profiles. College counselors can devote significant time and resources to each student, offering personalized strategies and insights that a school guidance counselor may be unable to provide.

Additionally, college counselors often have more flexibility to meet with students and parents outside of school hours, providing additional convenience and accessibility. They also stay updated on the latest college admissions trends, visit college campuses.

While school guidance counselors are valuable resources, their role and capacity often differ from that of a dedicated college counselor. The latter can provide more personalized, intensive support tailored to your child's college application journey. At Collegewise, we always recommend families utilize their school counselor in addition to working with a dedicated college counselor.


Objection #3: I Want a College Counselor Who is Local to the Area

It's understandable why you might want a college counselor who is local to your area. They would be familiar with your local school system, colleges and universities, and personal relationships with local educators and administrators. This knowledge can undoubtedly benefit some aspects of the college application process.

However, it's essential to note that college admissions are a national — and increasingly, international — playing field. A counselor with a broader perspective could offer insight into a more comprehensive array of colleges and universities, helping your child consider options they may not have thought of before. 

In the digital age, geography has become less of a constraint. Virtual meetings, emails, and collaborative online tools have made remote college counseling a highly practical option. These digital communication methods allow counselors to work with students regardless of location, providing flexibility and convenience for busy families.

At the end of the day, the most essential factor in choosing a college counselor is not their location but whether they're a good fit for your child. The best counselor for your child will be someone who understands their needs, aspirations, and personality and can guide them effectively throughout the college application process. Whether they're based in your local area or halfway around the country, their commitment to your child's success is what truly matters.

Remember, your child's college journey is not limited to the local vicinity. It's a broad exploration of opportunities that span far and wide. The right counselor can effectively guide your child through this journey, regardless of where they are located.

With over two decades of admissions experience under our belt, our team of Collegewise experts are nationally recognized as professionals in the college counseling industry. We have helped successfully admit over 28,000 students into colleges across the country. Among these, a staggering 92% of students were accepted into their top three schools. 

Objection #4: It's Too Early to Start College Counseling

The question of when to start the college counseling process is common. It may seem premature to begin these conversations in the early high school years or even late middle school. However, starting younger can drastically improve the student's GPA and allow your child to take time to develop their profile effectively. Early college counseling is about preparing for the journey, not just the destination. It's about helping your child grow and develop in ways that naturally make them a strong and unique college applicant. 

Starting sooner does not mean your child needs to decide on their college major in freshman year, but instead it allows them to build a strong foundation for when the time comes to apply.

There are several advantages to starting the college counseling process early:

  1. Academic planning: A college counselor can help your child select high school courses that align with their interests and educational goals to ensure they meet the admissions requirements while also allowing them to explore potential areas of study.
  2. Extracurricular strategy: Rather than spreading themselves thin across numerous activities, students can focus on a few areas that truly interest them, allowing them to demonstrate commitment and leadership— traits that colleges value.
  3. Developing key skills: Working with a college counselor can help students develop important skills such as time management, organization, and self-advocacy. Click here to learn more about Collegewise’s Success Skills Leadership program
  4. Building relationships: Starting counseling early allows for a deeper, more meaningful connection to develop between the counselor and the student. The more the counselor understands the student's strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, the better they can guide them toward their goals.

While it might seem "early" to start this process, consider that college counseling is not just about the application submitted senior year— it's about the holistic development of your child throughout their high school career. It's never too early to start that journey.

The Benefits of Hiring a College Counselor


A college counselor provides several benefits that often go beyond the scope of academic advising.

  1. Expertise: College counselors are professionals who stay updated with the latest changes in college admissions. They can provide insights into what specific colleges are looking for and advise students accordingly.
  2. Personalized attention: Unlike high school guidance counselors who may be responsible for hundreds of students, a private college counselor can provide one-on-one assistance, giving your child the personalized attention they need.
  3. Stress reduction:  A college counselor can help manage stress by keeping the student organized, setting timelines, and ensuring all parts of the application process are completed accurately and on time.
  4. Scholarship and financial aid guidance: College counselors can also assist in identifying scholarship opportunities and navigating the intricacies of financial aid.
  5. Career guidance: College counselors provide insights into choosing a major and courses that align with the student's long-term career goals.

At Collegewise, we are more than just college counselors. We are guides, strategists, and mentors who can significantly improve your child's chances of admission to their dream colleges while reducing the stress associated with the application process.

Success Stories


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Head Of Design


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We hope this blog has helped to alleviate some of your concerns and shed light on the many benefits a college counselor can offer. Every student's journey is unique, and our goal is to help guide that journey to a successful and fulfilling destination.

The goal of a college counselor is not simply to get your child admitted to college — It's to help your child find the right college where they can flourish, achieve at high levels, and reach their potential. Investing in a college counselor is an investment in your child's future, ensuring they are well-prepared, confident, and positioned for success in their college applications and, ultimately, in their future career and life. 

We aim to help you give your children the best possible opportunities for success. Understanding the college admissions process is an integral part of that journey, and a dedicated college counselor can play a pivotal role in supporting your child toward their higher education goals.

If you'd like to learn more about our personalized programs and how we can support your teen through the college admissions process, schedule a free consultation with us today. 


About Us: With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the student. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for you to be your best self - whether it’s in the classroom, in your applications or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of tools include counselingtest prepacademic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, leading to a 4x higher than average admissions rates.


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