Going to a good school that is the right fit for a student can be a hugely transformative experience. Because it is such an important decision in one’s life, and because the process has become so competitive and complex, it has become increasingly common even for US families who are familiar with the admissions process to seek expert counseling. Professional counseling can make an enormous difference in the admissions results.
A: High quality educational programs in the U.S. are the most competitive in the world — and they are getting more competitive every year. Twenty years ago, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford received about 12,000 applications each, and their acceptance rates were as high as 18%. In 2016, the number of applicants to each of these schools exceeded 30,000 and the acceptance rate has gone down to approximately 5%. While the acceptance rates of different schools may vary, getting into a good university in the US remains very competitive overall.In addition to being highly selective, admissions processes in the US are complex. Most undergraduate programs have a “holistic” admissions process, meaning that the totality of a student’s academic and extracurricular credentials during his or her high school years are evaluated by the admissions officers. Although standardized testing scores and grades are quite important, admissions decisions depend just as much on the personal narrative you present through your personal statement, letters of recommendation, summer activities and extracurricular activities, to name a few (for instance, Stanford did not offer admission to 69% of its applicants with perfect SAT scores between 2008 and 2013).
A: School-based college counselors work very hard to help students meet their educational goals, and their work can oftentimes be underappreciated. But for all their efforts, it can be difficult for college counselors at high schools to provide the kind of in-depth, personalized assistance that has the greatest positive impact on a student’s application, since they are often in charge of dozens of students and have limited time and resources.It is also important to acknowledge that while school-based college counselors are often very experienced and well-intended, they rarely have been admissions officers themselves. At Expert Admissions all the counseling work is conducted by former admissions officers from some of the most prestigious US universities. Only a former admissions officer would truly know what it takes for a student to be admitted and how to stand out in the most competitive applicant pools. After all, admissions officers are the only ones who make the actual decisions as to who will be admitted to the desired university or college.