What We Do
College Crossroads Consulting helps students and families navigate the college application process from start to finish. The goal is to help our clients decide on the right schools to submit an application to and assist them with their application process from start to finish.
Developing The College List
The college list is the first discussion we have with students. It is the most critical part of the process because it provides a student with a window into an array of colleges available to them. Assuming a student is in the right academic environment for him or her, they are more likely to take advantage of other school opportunities, including those in the extracurricular realm. Those who have a well-rounded college experience will typically show tremendous growth at a much steeper trajectory than those who merely get by during their college years. This difference in experiences can significantly impact their future. What one does at college is much more important than where one went to college. Researching and finding the best schools for a student is a process where fit should be considered from three perspectives: academic, social, and financial. Searching for the right schools for a college list is based on several criteria. We take into account such factors as:
- Whether a student knows what they want to study or is not yet certain
- Geographical preferences, if any
- Size preference, if any
- Extracurricular/Athletic activities
- Urban, city, suburban, rural environment
- Average size of classes
- Research opportunities for undergraduates
- Schools that focus on the student served, some examples include women’s colleges, religious colleges, and HBCU’s
- School spirit
- Financial considerations
The key is to prioritize this list of qualities that are important to each student. This exercise will help define the right environment and the colleges that are likely to provide that environment.
College Crossroads Consulting helps students put their best foot forward. We help the student present themselves in an authentic manner. Any effort to package a student inauthentically can usually be detected by an admissions officer and may garner an immediate rejection.
After the college list is finalized, College Crossroads Consulting will work with a student to complete their the applications, whether it be the Common Application, the University of California application, the Coalition Application, or any other application accepted by a specific college.
There is an activities section within the Common Application, a 650-word essay, and then any supplemental questions specific to that school. We know that essays cannot get a student in on their own, but they can keep a student out. As an admissions director from a very prestigious southern school said, “Essays can cure the sick, but they can’t raise the dead.” We work to make sure that every essay:
- Conveys the true essence of a student as portrayed in their voice
- Demonstrates that research into a specific school has been thorough
- Answers the question in a thoughtful manner
Essays are usually the most challenging part of the application for students. College Crossroads Consulting has a fool-proof, sophisticated method for helping students find their voice in an expedited manner and ensures that they write with that voice. Admissions officers can tell the difference between an adult’s writing voice and that of a 17 or 18-year-old. We provide the brainstorming tools and specific guidance for each student to write their essays. To the extent that it is possible, clients of College Crossroads Consulting enjoy writing their essays and learn more about themselves in the process.
Many today may scoff at the notion that there should be an application strategy. In past years, there was no such thing as a strategy. Teenagers applied, and maybe they were accepted, and perhaps they were not. Very simple and straightforward, right?
Today, it is very different, and we have US News and World Report to thank for that. Many colleges, such as Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, and Northwestern University, accept close to or over 50% of their freshman class through Early Decision. Schools accept so many in the Early Decision round because it allows them to maintain a higher acceptance yield, one of the ranking criteria on the top colleges’ list published by US News and World Report.
Therefore, the result is that having a strategy on Early Action and Early Decision can make the difference between getting into a college or not getting in, depending on when you apply. In the fall, we will sit down with students and ask them the following questions:
- Does a student have a first choice?
- Do grades or standardized test scores need to be raised?
- Is financial aid part of the decision-making process for a student?
- Is the student an athlete or a legacy?
Based on the answers to these questions, a strategy will be developed that fits each student’s specific situation.
Why Hire an Independent Educational Consultant?
Hiring an Independent Educational Consultant is helpful because deciding which colleges to apply to is a customized, personalized process, different for each family and each child. An Independent Educational Consultant understands the complexity and various factors that need to be taken into account to produce the best college list possible and then help the student present themselves in the best light. Other reasons include:
- The process is overwhelming, and it is challenging to stay on top of so many moving pieces and rigid deadlines.
- Parents may need additional guidance and expertise to ensure their high schooler has the best chance of getting into his or her best fit school.
- If a child attends a school where they are not getting the attention, they need from their school counselor, a more hands-on approach may help.