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Why Use an Independent Counselor

By June 5, 2012No Comments

Why use an independent college counselor? College admissions has become extremely competitive, with each student applying to eight or more schools and some schools having single digit admissions rates. A well-developed strategy for researching schools, developing an application package, and navigating financial-aid and scholarships can remove a lot of stress from the process. Below highlights some of the benefits of using an independent expert to assist in your family’s college admissions process.

– Planning, Research, & Organization: don’t overlook details – College is a huge investment – up to $250,000. Spend a fraction of that to ensure that you have properly planned out deadlines, researched potential schools, and organized to-do lists. An independent counselor will make sure that your student is on track, organized, and does not leave anything to the last minute. The counselor will also bring up topics that perhaps you have not thought about.

– Lower the Cost of College: even for middle & upper-middle class families – The sticker price at many colleges (especially private institutions) does not apply to everyone. An independent counselor will help you navigate and find academic and need-based scholarships. Many schools offer merit aid to students who perform well on the ACT/SAT and/or maintain high GPAs. An independent counselor will help you find these scholarships and then potentially negotiate costs between schools of similar caliber. As just one example, University of Miami (FL) offers $16,000 per year for students who have high grades and score high enough on the ACT.

Private vs. Public: can you finish in four years? – While many tout the academic reputation of UW-Madison along with its cost to families, many (almost 50%) in-state students do not graduate in 4 years. Comparable private schools have 4-year graduation rates in the 70s and 80s. One extra year at UW-Madison costs the average student $71,000 ($23,820 in tuition/room/board and $46,900 in lost wages). This amount would likely pay for the difference in attending a private institution.

Competition: What if you don’t get into UW-Madison? The average ACT of freshmen at UW-Madison is creeping up to 29 (93rd percentile of juniors, nationally). These students also, on average, rank in the top 10% of their HS graduating class. Secondary state schools are decent options for students on the margins, but there are many private schools that provide a better academic fit and have better regional / national reputations. UW-La Crosse students have an average ACT score of 25 and typically are in the top 25% of their class. There are approximately 150 schools with academic profiles between these two UW schools. An independent college counselor will help students enhance their chances of getting into the flagship state school, but will also provide suggestions for backups that are challenging, well-known, and a good fit.

The admissions process is a complex and requires a strategic approach to finding the right fit, getting in, and managing costs. Learn more about Galin Education’s college admissions counseling services or contact us directly to learn more!