Who would not want to get into the top university in the world? Becoming an Ivy League student is harder than it sounds, or is it? To walk out as a winner in this ultra-competitive race, more and more fresh graduates are looking for additional help in the face of college counselors. Yet the question: “Is it worth it?” still hangs in the air. 

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Key Takeaways:

  • College counselors help students craft standout applications with authentic narratives.
  • Top universities prioritize unique experiences and genuine stories over just grades.
  • Research projects, community service, and international experiences are crucial for college applications.

Many still believe that a perfect GPA and over 1600 on the SAT will be their golden ticket to the best educational institutions in the country. However, these days grades are not the only priority students should focus on. Top schools are looking for someone unique, with a loud voice, and confident ideas. In other words, they’d be happy to accept a student who stands out. If all those words were written about you but you are still not sure where to start and in which direction to move then a college counselor should be the first number on your speed dial. 

What is an admission counselor? 

College counselors are people who guide students through the college application process. Simply put, these specialists give graduates a clearer understanding of what admissions committees are looking for. Many of these experts have backgrounds as former admissions officers, prestigious university alumni, or professionals in education and counseling. Some may be members of associations like IECA, HECA, or NACAC.

College counselors’ services can vary, but the main aim is to help students clearly define and confidently express their academic and extracurricular achievements. Instead of directly crafting application materials for students, college consultants mentor them. This ensures students can write impactful personal statements, excel in interviews, and choose the right colleges based on well-defined criteria and values.

With their help, you can bring to life the most iconic moment from the 2000s chick-flick “Legally Blonde” and just like Elle Woods get into the university which is crème de la crème in the States: “What? Like it’s hard?”

admission counselor
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What is the right time to hire a college consultant?

There is no right answer to this question. It varies based on your ambitions and budget. Some students start working with college counselors as early as their freshman year, while others only consult briefly during their senior year.

If you decide to start early, a college counselor will assist you from the very beginning. Meaning, they will advise you regarding extracurriculars, and pre-college summer programs, and they can even offer SAT tutoring. 

However, most students seek a college consultant’s expertise when it’s time to apply for college. Deep understanding of the admissions process and, at times, personal connections with prestigious colleges, provide invaluable insights for freshmen. If you want to get a tailored application form that will leave a lasting impression just like Elle Woods’s admission video did. 

college consultant
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Real Examples of College Counselors

For many high school students, navigating the path to prestigious universities can be daunting. Christopher Rim, the founder of Command Education, stands out as a beacon of hope for many such students. Rim’s journey to Yale University, despite having a GPA that many would assume inadequate for an Ivy League institution, is testament to the impact of extracurricular activities and the authenticity of one’s story.

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Rim’s story began as just another hopeful among his peers, but his outcome was unlike most. His acceptance into Yale was surprising, especially given that he had the lowest grades among 18 fellow applicants from his school. Yet, his story’s core was genuine and reflected true passion, which seemed to have resonated deeply with Yale’s admissions officers. Rim’s unique journey inspired him to establish Command Education in 2015, offering guidance to students targeting Ivy League admissions.

What sets Command Education apart is its methodology. Rim stresses the importance of authentic experiences and passions. With most Ivy League applicants boasting nearly flawless academic records, extracurricular activities become the differentiating factor. Command Education kicks off its program as early as grade seven, emphasizing that every decision and step taken during school years affects college applications. This proactive approach is paired with continuous mentorship. Each student is assigned a dedicated mentor, an Ivy League or top-tier college graduate, ensuring personalized, round-the-clock support.

“I just followed my passions and my interests. That authentic story is what I think resonated with admissions officers.”

While many college counseling services operate on a standard checklist methodology, Command Education offers a tailored experience. Its results speak volumes. In 2021, every student from Command Education who applied to Harvard was accepted. An impressive 90% of students secured admissions to at least one of their top three choices. The high satisfaction rate among parents, despite a significant investment, further solidifies the program’s efficacy.

“The entire purpose of Command Education is to help students identify and develop their passions and interests. It has to be authentic and cannot be manufactured.”

But the realm of elite college admissions can be full of unexpected twists. Take Kelsey Hoskin, for instance. By the time she whimsically applied to Harvard, she had already been accepted into her preferred schools. Yet, she was accepted into Harvard College, the undergraduate program of the renowned Harvard University. While her academic achievements were notable, she credits her acceptance to her application essay’s compelling narrative about her passion for music and her leadership role as a violin teacher at a non-profit arts academy.

Hoskin’s story, shared on TikTok, stirred some skepticism. Questions arose about her academic records, background, and the relevance of her advice in the increasingly competitive admissions landscape of 2023. The world of elite college admissions is nuanced and complex, often influenced by a mix of genuine passion, academic achievements, and sometimes, a sprinkle of luck.

Kelsey Hoskin
Image: yourtango.com

“Is she the one who also won that native american scholarship and like how native american students attend institutions of higher learning the least allowing her to have this crazy hook which makes her story even more unrealistic/unreplicable for those who seek her out?”

“Nothing wrong with helping others make their college application better to increase their chances. People can give advice regardless of their college outcome even if they do not have many years of experience.”

“There are soo many scammers like this on TikTok and Instagram. I have a feeling that I cannot trust her.”

“I do not know a thing about her story but I know for sure that she is charging a lot for her service.”

By and large, personalized services like Command Education play a pivotal role. They help students harness their passions and craft compelling narratives, ensuring they stand out in the crowded field of elite college admissions. However, as always, a blend of authenticity, preparation, and strategy is key to opening the doors to one’s dream college.

Top 3 Extracurricular Activities That Can Make Your Application Shine

In the fiercely competitive arena of college admissions, extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in distinguishing applicants. These activities, more than just hobbies, shed light on a student’s passion, leadership skills, and commitment. Among the myriad of extracurriculars, three particularly stand out in their ability to elevate an application.

Firstly, Research Projects often top the list. By engaging in research, be it in the sciences, humanities, or any field of interest, students demonstrate a deep-rooted curiosity and a proactive approach to expanding knowledge. Collaborating with professionals, professors, or even undertaking independent projects showcase not only academic dedication but also maturity and initiative. Successful projects, especially those that culminate in published papers or presentations at symposiums, are tangible proof of a student’s ability to contribute to scholarly discussions.

Secondly, Community Service and Social Initiatives have a profound impact. Long-term commitment to a particular cause, especially if it leads to tangible positive outcomes in the community, paints a picture of a socially responsible and empathetic individual. For instance, students who establish their own non-profit initiatives, or who take up leadership roles in existing organizations, underscore their dedication to giving back and making a difference. Such experiences cultivate crucial skills such as project management, team coordination, and public relations, which are highly valued in any academic setting.

Lastly, International Experiences, like exchange programs or international internships, can be game-changers. Immersing oneself in a foreign culture indicates adaptability, global-mindedness, and the courage to step out of one’s comfort zone. When a student engages with diverse groups, learns a new language, or contributes to a project abroad, they not only gain a broader perspective but also exhibit traits of independence and resilience.

Extracurricular ActivityPros 👍Cons 👎
Research Projects 🔍– Demonstrates deep curiosity- Showcases initiative and academic dedication- Enhances scholarly contributions– Requires a significant time commitment- Potentially limited resources or guidance
Community Service ❤️– Highlights social responsibility and empathy- Cultivates leadership and management skills- Demonstrates dedication to a cause– Results may be slow to manifest- Can be challenging to balance with academic pursuits
International Experiences 🌍– Indicates adaptability and global-mindedness- Enhances cultural awareness- Builds resilience and independence– Might be costly- Potential cultural or language barriers- Requires adaptation to new environments

While grades and test scores remain fundamental, it’s the extracurricular engagements that provide a holistic view of a student’s potential. Research projects emphasize intellectual rigor, community service spotlights altruism and leadership, while international experiences highlight adaptability and a global outlook. Engaging deeply in these activities, thus, not only enriches a student’s personal growth but also makes their application truly shine in the eyes of admissions officers.


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