What makes us different
If you’re considering hiring an admissions consultant, there are a couple of factors to consider to find the right fit: (1) the type of help you want and (2) what level of experience you want in your helper.
There are several admissions consulting models out there.
Here is what we’re not:
We’re not the self-taught parent model, where a parent gets good results for her own kids and then wants to share her knowledge with others.
We’re not the peer model, where a college student guides you through the application process based on his or her own experience.
We’re not reverse engineers who look at big data and try to figure out an algorithmic approach to admissions and apply that to an individual.
We’re not a substitute for your school-based counselor, who will be a necessary and often very helpful ally for you in the application process, but who has to work with a big caseload of kids, and who ultimately has to serve the interests of the school and focus on the aggregate outcomes, rather than on any individual student.
We’re not solely or primarily essay editors who focus on only that one piece of the application.
All of those kinds of counselors have some experience and contact with the admissions process, but they are ultimately outsiders when it comes to how things work behind closed doors.
Here’s who we are:
We are former admissions officers who have made the hard decisions on the other side of the table. Just because someone gets in doesn’t mean they know why. Here’s an example: maybe an essay was only so-so but the college really needed more women from the Northwest, so there was a happy outcome; that essay shouldn’t then be held up as a model for others. Current college students are not proxies for admissions officers. From where we sit, some peer models are like fourth graders teaching third graders sex ed. Ditto for discussion boards.
Our mission is to help you understand how admissions officers think. We decode and demystify the process. We’re also editors in the sense that we help you be true to your voice, develop your ideas, and think strategically about the bigger picture and how each part of the application, including the essay, fits into it. If you’re looking for a proofreader or someone to fix your grammar, we’ll do that, but you can find that much more cheaply. It’s not our main value-add.
We always sneak in some important life skills, because we know that this isn’t the only important thing you’ll ever apply for. Often, this is an applicant’s first experience learning how to research an institution, how to present themselves in person, how to advocate for themselves appropriately, how to understand the target audience, how to manage a project, and how to critique and improve their own work. Those important skills become transferrable.
We are here for you during the process, and we help you pace yourself. You will run the marathon at a fair clip, but you will finish it.
We are ruthlessly practical. We do not sugarcoat. We have lots of experience coaching teenagers. And we also know when parents are helping vs. hurting. For example, that wonderful essay about the winning soccer goal might make dad cry, and that’s an appropriate reaction for a parent; but parents are not proxies for admissions officers. College applications are for a completely different audience and purpose, and we help you recognize those distinctions.
We are most appropriate for applicants focusing on selective, holistic colleges: ones that turn away more people than they accept, and ones that look not just at numbers but also soft factors like leadership, academic growth, life experience, and potential. In contrast, if you’re applying to eligibility-based colleges, there’s no reason to hire us. Those are colleges that require a minimum GPA and/or minimum score for automatic admission. Save that money for college instead.
We are strategic in our approach.
The college admissions process is a multi-year, multi-phase process that can quickly become overwhelming and unmanageable if it is not approached strategically. We help you strategize first, so that you know what to do when, and you don’t waste time doing things that don’t matter.
We provide coaching that is holistic, personalized, and one-on-one.
Selective U.S. colleges use a holistic approach when making their admissions decisions, so we feel it is important that our coaching align to that approach. We personalize the coaching you get and address all of the factors that admissions officers will consider when deciding whether to admit you. In order to do this, your Ivey College Coach will work with you one-on-one and take the time to get to know you and your particular strengths, interests, and dreams.
We take admissions ethics very seriously.
We don’t think anyone is well-served by half-truths, empty promises, or abstract advice when it comes to the college admissions process. So we tell it like it is, promise only what we can deliver, and are focused on helping you in concrete, practical ways. As former admissions officers, we will never enable or facilitate misconduct in the admissions process, and we don’t treat college admissions as a system to be gamed. Read more about our Code of Ethics.