Frequently Asked Questions

Why a private college counselor?

Aside from purchasing a home, a college education represents the largest investment you will make during your life. If you take into account the personal and professional benefits associated with earning a degree, college will likely be your most important investment.

Despite committing as much as $200,000 toward college-related costs, students and their families rarely seek the advice of a specialist, as they would when purchasing a home or planning their retirement, for example. Instead, most families choose to rely on their respective high schools. Unfortunately, most schools have devoted less, not more, resources to college planning in recent years. School counselors, for example, play an extremely crucial role in promoting the personal and social development of our youth, but mounting responsibilities in the areas of standardized testing, course scheduling, academic remediation, and mental health support have forced many school counselors to shift their focus away from college-related tasks. Currently, the average school counselor spends only 30 minutes per year per student on college planning activities. In contrast, private college counselors focus exclusively on college guidance and can provide families with the personalized and intensive support they require. Ideally, private college counselors fill the need for greater college guidance by offering services that a typical school counselor cannot, such as those related to:

  • Career and interest assessment
  • Developing a student activities resume
  • Extracurricular planning
  • College list development
  • Preparing for college interviews
  • College application (detailed guidance, review, and packaging)
  • College essays (brainstorming, proofreading, and editing)
  • Organizing campus visits

Private college counselors can also help families save on college costs, for example, by:

  • Pointing students to good-fit colleges that are relatively inexpensive and where they are likely to receive significant (need-based and/or merit-based) financial aid.
  • Teaching students how to maximize their financial aid eligibility and locate suitable scholarship opportunities.
  • Pointing students to credit-earning opportunities before college admission, and helping them to navigate course (i.e. major and general education) requirements after admission – both shorten a student’s time to degree.
  • Facilitating career exploration and recommending college majors that ultimately pave the way for professional fit and success.

Ultimately, (capable and well-trained) private counselors help students enroll and succeed at good-fit colleges, while ensuring that families receive a substantial return on their postsecondary investment.

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Why College Transitions?

Our background…

Unlike most other providers, College Transitions counselors have worked on “both sides of the gate” – as high school counselors and administrators, and as college admission representatives. We are also published researchers, having authored articles on the college-related effects of counseling, the predictors of selective college admission, and education debt, among other topics. We are the only college planning company in the country to have published in higher education’s top journals.

In sum, our ties to the higher education field provide us extensive insight into the context and trends that impact college-related decisions; while our professional affiliations enable us to acquire college-specific information that is not readily accessible to school staff or to other private college counselors. As a result, we know how colleges – at all levels of selectivity – approach the admissions process, and we know why students achieve college success.

Our approach…

At College Transitions, we believe that the college admissions process should be about more than admission. We prioritize self-discovery and personal growth over prestige, and by doing so, we hope to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning.

Our fundamental objective is to guide students into good-fit colleges, where they can thrive and effectively pursue their personal and professional goals. We work toward this objective by leveraging our knowledge, as well as the knowledge of other support professionals. We recognize that teachers, counselors and school administrators have unique skills and can make important contributions to the college admissions process, and we collaborate with each in order to maximize our students’ prospects for college admission and success.

Please refer to our bios and testimonials for more information.

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Do you provide remote services?

Yes. In fact, we work with more than 90% of our families on a remote basis, communicating through e-mail, phone, and video chat (Skype, Google Hangout, etc.). We have provided remote services to students residing in nearly every state and more than a dozen countries. Remote work arrangements have never prevented us from meeting the needs of our clients, as any admission-related task that can be completed in person can also be accomplished remotely. Ultimately, our success has been due to our responsiveness and unique knowledge set, rather than our location or proximity to certain students.

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When should I start?

As soon as possible, if you are currently in a 10th grade student. The bulk of our work together will occur in grades 11 and 12. However, ninth and tenth grade students can benefit from early planning—in the areas of high school academic advising, extracurricular planning, and major/career exploration, for instance.

We encourage prospective college transfers to contact us at least six months before their applications are due.

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When are you available?

College Transitions counselors are available weekdays, weeknights and weekends. We work according to your schedule, and are fully committed to providing you with responsive and convenient support.

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In addition to comprehensive packages, do you offer hourly rates?

Though most of our clients opt for comprehensive services, we do offer hourly rates for those requiring targeted assistance on one or more college admission-related tasks (Please click here for a list of services). Hourly clients must purchase a minimum of five hours.

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Can you guarantee my admission into a particular college?

No. College admission is not an exact science, and no consultant can ensure your admission into any institution. However, we do guarantee that clients choosing our comprehensive package will earn admission into an institution that matches their profile and interests. While we are equally committed to our “hourly” clients, we cannot offer the same admissions guarantee, because we are usually not involved in the number of admissions-related activities necessary to make such a promise.

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Do you write essays?

No, we do not write essays. Besides being unethical, a “ghost-written” essay can arouse suspicion, cloud the authenticity of your application, and negatively impact your prospects for admission. We do, however, provide guidance on essay topic selection, content, grammar, tone and much more. Altogether, we devote as much time as necessary to ensuring that your essays are genuine, compelling, and fit for submission.

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Do you only work with elite students?

No. We work with students of all abilities and academic backgrounds. At College Transitions, we believe that we should be evaluated on our ability to guide all students to – and through – “good-fit” colleges, and not on our ability to get a few select students into a few select institutions. Do we take pride in guiding past clients to places like Harvard, Princeton and Pomona? Absolutely. However, we take equal pride in guiding others to a wide range of excellent yet less competitive public universities and private institutions. Please review our results for a sampling of colleges into which our past students have been admitted.

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Will others know that I have worked with a private counselor?

No. Maintaining your privacy and safeguarding your confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us. We do not release any identifying information about our families, unless our families explicitly instruct us to do so.

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