Should You Hire a College Admissions Consultant? 6 Things to Consider 

by Nancy Reynolds

Should You Hire a College Admissions Consultant? 6Things to Consider 

Written By: Marybeth Bock

It probably won’t come as much of a shock to most parents of college-bound teens, but applying to college these days is a long and complicated process – one that can leave the entire family stressed out and frustrated.


Should You Hire a College Admissions Consultant? 6 Things to Consider 


From day one of high school (and in some cases, even starting in middle school), students are reminded (perhaps even pounded with the notion) that everything they do and don’t do can and will affect their chances of getting into college. With every decision they make, they have the near-constant “college drumbeat” in their heads.

Our kids’ stress only heightens our stress making it all too easy for us to fall into the role of “nagger-in-chief,” reminding our kids to strive for decent grades, prepare for and do their best on standardized tests, and keep up with their sports and extracurriculars  — all with the hope of building a college resume that will grab the attention of admission officers.

Let’s not forget, that the anticipated cost of college, the worry about how to pay for it, and the uncertainty of securing grants and scholarships along with the application fees, tutoring costs, testing fees, and in-person college campus visits all add to the stress

With so much preparation and the stakes so high, should you turn to a professional to help you with the complex college admissions process? Well… it turns out that more families are choosing this route for a variety of reasons.

But before you do… there are a few things to consider.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a College Admissions Consultant?

The cost of hiring a college admissions consultant will vary widely depending on several factors, including the consultant’s level of expertise, experience in the position, the services offered, and your geographic location. Additionally, the fees can be structured differently based on whether they charge an hourly rate, a package rate, or a combination of both. 

According to a 2024 article in New York Magazine, “Most consultants charge in the ballpark of $4,000 to $7,500 for helping students with typical application prep, including making their college list and looking over their essays.”  However, some larger consultancy firms charge up to $150,000 with the promise that they can get their clients admission into the nation’s top schools.

Common Pricing Structures for College Admission Consultants

Hourly Rate

Some consultants charge an hourly rate for their services, typically ranging from $100 to $300 per hour (or more). Thus, the total cost will depend on the number of hours spent working with the student, which will vary depending on the complexity of the student’s needs and the services provided.

Package Rate

Package rates include a set number of hours or sessions for a fixed price. The rates can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope of services provided. Packages might include services such as college list development, essay coaching, application assistance, interview preparation, and ongoing support throughout the admissions process.

Comprehensive Package Rate

Comprehensive packages are designed to cover all aspects of the admissions process from start to finish. These packages typically include an initial consultation, personalized college list development, assistance with all application materials, essay coaching, interview preparation, financial aid guidance, and ongoing support. Packages like these can range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or much more, depending on the consultant’s level of expertise and the depth of services provided. 

Add-On Costs

Consultants may also offer additional services at an extra cost, such as test preparation, resume building, summer program advising, or specialized assistance for students with unique circumstances.

Whether or not to hire a college admissions consultant for your high school junior/senior is a decision that depends on several factors, including your student’s individual needs, goals, and circumstances. 

6 Considerations Before Hiring a College Consultant:

1. Does Your Child Need Help Maximizing Admissions Opportunities?

Seasoned college consultants know the ropes. They have in-depth knowledge of specific colleges, the admissions process, how to submit a well-crafted application, and what it takes to get accepted.

For kids who have a “dream school” they have their sights set on (for instance), an experienced college consultant may be able to strengthen their application, help them stand out with admissions officers, and pave the way to improve their chances of getting accepted. 

2. Will They Benefit from Having Someone Navigate the Process?

If the college admissions process seems overwhelming or confusing, a consultant can provide valuable guidance and support. They can help you navigate the complexities of college applications, standardized testing, essay writing, and financial aid issues. Plus, it can be helpful to have an unbiased professional advise your child and keep them on track (as opposed to you) to keep the mood calm and unemotional. 

3. Does Your Child Need Individualized Attention & Personal Guidance?

Some students may benefit from personalized guidance tailored to their specific strengths, interests, and aspirations. For instance, if your teen plans to play a sport in college, is interested in a specific arts program, is an international student, wants to apply early decision, or has a unique learning challenge, a consultant can offer one-on-one support and advice to help them identify suitable colleges and majors, develop application strategies, and highlight their unique qualities and skills more effectively.

4. Does Your Child Need Help Staying on Top of Details & Deadlines?

For busy students with demanding schedules, hiring a consultant can help alleviate the time pressures associated with the college admissions process.

Consultants will assist with time-consuming tasks, like researching numerous colleges, preparing the application materials, and helping to manage all deadlines, allowing students to focus on their academic and extracurricular commitments.

5. Consider Your Child’s Level of Motivation and Independence

Some high school students may prefer to navigate the college admissions process independently from parents or with the support of their school’s guidance counselors; others may need support every step of the way.

It’s important to honestly consider your student’s level of independence, self-motivation, and willingness to take ownership of their college applications. If it’s going to be a point of contention in the house to motivate your teen to stay on track, hiring a professional may be the best option for you.

6. Consider the Overall Cost-benefit

Before hiring a consultant, consider the financial implications. College admissions consulting services can range from financially doable for many to a more concierge-type service that is ultra-expensive. It’s essential to weigh the cost against the potential benefits and value provided.

Be mindful that all the information you need to make wise and informed decisions about the admissions process can be found by talking to your child’s high school counselor, reading books, listening to podcasts, researching advice online, and calling, visiting, and talking to admissions counselors. 

Before You Hire a College Consultant

Before you sit down with a consultant, draft a comprehensive list of questions about their experience and expertise, services, and fees. Make sure you only pay for what you need and want. Also, be sure to shop around and get referrals so you can make an informed decision.

Be realistic when considering your budget, priorities, and the value you expect to receive from working with a consultant. Also, ask about payment options, cancellation policies, and any potential discounts or scholarships that might be available. 

Hiring an admissions consultant will never guarantee that your student will get into a particular college or that the process will be a breeze but depending on your circumstances, it may be worthwhile for the amount of time and stress it can save your family.

Marybeth Bock, MPH, is a Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading,” Should You Hire a College Admissions Consultant? 6 Things to Consider,” here are a few other college-related posts you might enjoy!

College-Bound Kids, Remember… It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish 

The College Admissions Process: 10 Highly Rated Books That Will Give You the Lowdown

Writing the Personal Essay: 5 Simple Yet Powerful Tips for College-Bound Kids

15 Common College Freshman Mistakes to Avoid

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