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Questions to Ask A College Counselor Before Working With Them

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By Collegewise Staff on April, 12 2021 | 3 minute read

Working with a college counselor can take the guesswork out of the application process. As experts in the field, they’ve got the answers to your most pressing questions, and also the insight to help students make smart decisions about when and where to apply to college. But choosing the right counselor isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Before you make a final decision, consider asking the following six questions we encourage families to ask their prospective counselor. The right answers can help you make the perfect match.

1. “What type of student do you really enjoy working with?” 

A good counselor will have an answer that goes beyond “I enjoy working with all students equally.” Do you need a counselor who is a supreme motivator? Or one who specializes in calming the concerns of high-achievers? Make sure the counselor you choose to hire recognizes your unique needs and genuinely enjoys working with students like yours.


2. “What are some reasonable expectations for us to have if we decide to work with you?” 

Knowing what to expect—and just as importantly, what not to expect—is key to a successful admissions journey. Good counselors can answer this question confidently and clearly describe some clear outcomes you can expect from your work together.


3. “How do you stay up-to-date with college information?”

The best counselors never stop learning. They’re hungry for new knowledge, and they love that part of the job. The college admissions landscape is constantly changing, so you’ll want a counselor who is tapped in. Someone who enthusiastically tells you about visiting colleges and reading blogs and attending conferences and subscribing to list serves.


4. “Do you think we seem like a good fit for you and your program?”

Anything less than a genuine, enthusiastic “yes” means the counselor doesn’t believe you would work well together, that you have expectations that don’t match what the counselor can provide, or both. Look for a counselor who is able to articulate why your family is a good match for the program and what you can expect during the application process.


5. “How do you keep track of all your students’ college applications?”

Some college counselors use software like Airtable, while others are fans of Google Drive. Many use CollegePlannerPro, a platform designed for private counselors. These are all programs that can help a student stay organized and on track during the application process. Families who work with Collegewise use our proprietary software, Wise(r)net, which provides tools for college research and list-building, exclusive data based on institution, and serves as a unifying place for parents, students, counselors, and tutors to connect. The answer to this question will help you figure out how organized your prospective counselor may be and what kind of resources you can expect from them.


Note: This post was adapted from a blog written by Collegewise's Founder, Kevin McMullin, on his blog, Wise Like Us


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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