ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled
Saved to My Favorites. View My Favorites
Articles / Applying to College / Should You Consider Working With an Independent College Counselor?

Should You Consider Working With an Independent College Counselor?

Rob Franek
Written by Rob Franek | Nov. 21, 2019
Should You Consider Working With an Independent College Counselor?


Your school counselor is there every year you're in high school, but many students don't start relying on them until their junior and senior years. That's when it becomes more apparently crucial that you need to stay on top of your class selection and graduation requirements, to procure recommendation letters from school faculty, and to research colleges in order to compile your list of target schools. Unfortunately, some schools have such high enrollment rates that it can be difficult to get that one-on-one attention you need from the counselor. That's where an independent college counselor comes in. Here are three benefits of utilizing an independent college counselor.

Research More Thoroughly

In order to find your best-fit college, you'll spend plenty of time looking at things like cost of attendance, availability of academic programs and the location and demographics of the school. But there are some specifics that might not be as apparent to a college-bound student from the start. That's where an independent college counselor comes in.

These advisors can help weigh your school options when it comes to areas such as experiential learning, quality of life and return on investment. These are data points that might not be as accessible through research on a school's website or in a college's paperwork. Therefore, someone who has experience seeking this information can be extremely helpful to you.

Personalize Admissions Strategies by School

The most successful application is generally one that is tailored specifically to the school it is being sent to. The last thing you want to do is submit the same application (or essay) to every school on your list. Schools want to know that you're excited about attending their school specifically, not just school in general.

An independent college counselor's years of experience can help provide inside knowledge of what these schools are looking for in those applications. A good counselor can assess your application essays in order to give you the added edge needed to gain admission to any highly selective schools on your list. For instance, if an interview is an option, a counselor might be able to coach you through the types of questions you'll have to answer.

Decode Financial Aid Offers

After all of your applications have been sent on their way, you'll spend a bit of time waiting for the schools to decide whether you're in or not. (If you want to spend less time waiting, consider schools that utilize rolling admission.) And if you've done your research and completed your applications properly, chances are good you're going to be faced with multiple acceptances. But which do you choose? The answer isn't always as clear as you might think.

Along with your offer of admission will be your financial aid offer from the school, and these are not always the easiest to decode. The breakdown of loans and grants -- and maybe even work study offers -- are enough to make most people's minds boil over! By contrast, an independent college counselor is prepared for exactly this, and can use their experience to help you decide which offer would provide the best assistance and academic opportunity for you.

So if you're feeling like you need more specialized attention than you're able to access at your high school, don't be afraid to seek out extra help. Services like those offered by our Admissions Experts can help you every step of the way, whether that's crafting your list of target schools in the beginning or deciding which offer to accept. The admission process can be tricky, but it doesn't have to be a solo battle.

Written by

Rob Franek

Rob Franek

College Admissions and Test Prep Expert

More on Applying to College

See all
typing at computer- karolina-grabowska-6958506-resized

Authentic Voice in College Essays

That’s why you want to use your authentic voice when writing any college essay.

So what’s the problem? A student has shared an ess…


College Interview Prep Tips: Brainstorm, Research, Analyze, Generalize

I recently visited Washington University in Saint Louis and was lucky enough to set up an interview. By speaking with peers of mi…

campus gates

Academic Index Scores: Why They Matter and How They're Calculated

Note: Click here for 10 Summer Programs You Can Still Apply For or keep reading to learn more about academic index scores.

8 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

7 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

Podcasts can offer a wealth of information to busy students, particularly when it comes to the college admissions process. We…


Avoid College Application Regrets: Tips For Getting It Right the First Time

Decision Day occurs each year on May 1st and is the deadline for students to inform the college of their choice of their intent t…

Get a student loan that goes beyond tuition.

Ascent offers cosigned and non-cosigned student loans with exclusive benefits that set students up for success.

Explore Now!
Find Your Scholarship

Want to find money for school that doesn’t need to be paid back? Access insights and advice on how to search and apply for scholarships!

Search for Scholarship