Elite schools, such as the Ivy League schools, accept between 4-10% of applicants each year. Even top-ranked public universities only accept 10-20% of applicants in any given year.
If you aspire to attend a top-ranked university, you need more than just good grades and high test scores to stand out. You need an application that will highlight your best traits and position you as a can’t-miss student.
But navigating the college admissions process can be challenging, especially if you don’t know anyone who has attended an elite school. Some people are turning to college admissions counseling services, which are offered by companies like CollegeAdvisor, and others.
But it's an expensive service with unclear returns. In this CollegeAdvisor Review, I'll let you know how their platform might help you get accepted at top colleges.
- Personalized advisory service to help you look your best on college applications.
- Editorial services for admissions essays and personal statements.
- One-on-one coaching on the college application and admissions process.
College admissions services
One-on-One coaching, essay editing, online application portal, access to experienced admissions experts
Free service for low-income students (limited)
What Is CollegeAdvisor.com?
CollegeAdvisor is a college admissions service designed to help high school students improve their likelihood of being accepted to elite schools. The company is a subsidiary of U.S. News And World Report, which is a behemoth in the education research space.
CollegeAdvisor has over 300 admissions experts including many people who formerly worked in admissions at elite schools. Every year, they help students gain admissions into all eight Ivy League schools plus a huge number of top public and private universities.
CollegeAdvisor has programs for students in 9th through 12th grade and provides guidance on everything from what extracurriculars to focus on, to the tests and classes to take. Juniors and seniors receive more detailed coaching on the admissions process as they prepare personal essays and statements and decide where to apply.
What Does It Offer?
CollegeAdvisor is a college admissions service that offers high school students one-on-one coaching, help with essay writing, and more. They even have a free program for students who come from low-income families. Here's a look at some of the key services they offer.
CollegeAdvisor offers four packages, Premium, Elite, Platinum, and Ivy Plus, so you can choose the the level of support you need. The first tier, "Premium”, offers up to 10 hours of video chat support. During the video chat, you may be coached on how to select target colleges, how to bolster your resume for college admissions, which standardized tests to take, how to prepare for interviews, and how to assess fit with a specific college. You may even receive advice on how to apply for certain school-based scholarships.
With each tier, the amount of one on one coaching and support increases. The largest package (Ivy Plus) gives users up to 40 hours or more of support.
While one-on-one coaching is important, essay editing is critical for all college applicants. CollegeAdvisor.com admissions experts will edit your college admissions essays and personal statements. This support is one of the most important services CollegeAdvisor.com provides to clients. Your personal essay allows admissions personnel to understand why you could be a helpful addition to the university. A poorly edited essay will not reflect well on your academic or personal aspirations.
Online Application Portal
In addition to the coaching and essay help, CollegeAdvisor.com offers an online application organization system. It helps students who are applying to multiple colleges track their progress towards completing applications and gaining admissions. The online portal also helps facilitate communication about essay editing.
Many students have a manual process of using spreadsheets or documents to organize their college applications. But CollegeAdvisor's online application portal ensures that you’re actively working towards the necessary timelines. Organization is important in every area of life, and this tool can help you stay organized as you apply for colleges.
Free Scholars Program
The Scholars Program is designed to provide free college admissions advising to 80+ students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds. The program is closely aligned to College Advisor’s Premium program, which is its lowest cost program. However, some students may receive additional coaching or essay help for free.
If you come from a low-income background, applying for the Scholars Program could be a great way to help solidify your ability to choose from the best possible schools. You must apply for the program during your junior year to be considered for your senior year.
Are There Any Fees?
CollegeAdvisor.com does not publish its fees, but it has four different pricing tiers. You need to schedule a free consultation to get a true schedule of fees.
You can access articles and webinars on CollegeAdvisor.com. But the free content is just an advertisement for the site’s primary service, which is admissions counseling. Aside from the Scholars program (which is available to a limited number of people based on financial need), all people using CollegeAdvisor.com’s advisory services will pay for the service.
Its lowest tier (Premium) provides 10 hours of one-on-one coaching and essay editing for two applications and a personal statement. Its most costly level of service (Ivy Plus) includes 40 or more hours of video chats, editing for 12 essays, and help from a former college admissions professional.
With various levels of support, you should expect a wide range of costs. Sources outside of the CollegeAdvisor.com website quoted prices between $1,000-$9,000 for a one-year membership depending on the tier. While pricey, it is worth noting that an independent essay editor may charge between $100-$200 per hour, and they will not provide the one-on-one coaching that CollegeAdvisor.com offers.
How Does CollegeAdvisor.com Compare?
College admissions consulting is big business, and there are dozens of companies that offer similar services. For example, PrepExpert.com offers nearly identical admissions services, apparently at comparable prices. PrepScholar.com offers a higher level of service (weekly meetings and unlimited essay support) at a lower price.
However, only CollegeAdvisor.com guarantees that its two top tiers will get support from former college admissions professionals. Help from experienced professionals is an advantage that future applicants may not get from every college counselor, and it sets CollegeAdvisor.com apart from other college prep services.
Expert Support Guarantee
How Do I Join CollegeAdvisor?
In the upper right corner of the CollegeAdvisor.com website, select the “Get Started” button. Provide your name, phone number, email, and your graduation year (as a student) or your financial aid needs (as a parent) and submit the application.
After that, you’ll get free access to webinars, blog posts, and other digital content. You’ll also have the opportunity to schedule a meeting to learn more about the products and pricing.
Is It Safe And Secure?
CollegeAdvisor.com collects information from users for the purpose of developing new products and advertising. This is similar to most online platforms that collect information from users.
If you choose to use the paid service, you can use a secure portal to upload essays (for review), track applications, and manage your admissions process. The one-on-one coaching is typically done through Zoom or another third-party service.
Overall, the platform is secure, especially compared to the security of an independent editor (who may use shareable Google Docs) to assist with editing.
How Do I Contact CollegeAdvisor.com?
CollegeAdvisor.com’s customer support number is 1-844-343-6272. It also has an online chat hosted on its website that is operated Monday-Friday. Finally, you can request help through the Contact Us page where you can leave a message.
Is It Worth It?
Paying for college consulting is a personal decision. From a financial perspective, it could pay off if you’re able to get large merit-based scholarships from the school you ultimately attend. But it’s also possible that you would have been accepted into the school and received the scholarships without help.
Ultimately, college selectivity may be a big deal for you. You may network with future business partners or identify key contacts in the field of your choice. On the other hand, you can also be successful by choosing to go to community college before completing your degree at an in-state school.
It’s tough to make a financial case for hiring a college advisor, from CollegeAdvisor.com or otherwise. It's also tough to make the case for hiring a personal trainer, a speaking coach, or a private music teacher, but that doesn’t stop people from hiring these coaches too.
A coach is a great way to help you meet your goal. You need expert feedback to develop skill, and getting admitted to elite schools is at least partially a skill. If you’re dedicated to getting into an elite school, a private college counselor may be worthwhile for you. But only you can make that decision.
Products and Features
Tools and Resources
Pricing and Fees
CollegeAdvisor is a college admissions service designed to help high school students improve their likelihood of being accepted to elite schools.
- Coaching combined with practical help such as essay editing.
- Access to experienced college admissions professionals
- Online portal can help you stay on top of your applications
- Students from low-income families may qualify for free service
- Expensive service with no guaranteed return on investment
- Must pay extra to receive advice from a former admissions professional.
Hannah is a wife, mom, and described personal finance geek. She excels with spreadsheets (and puns)! She regularly explores in-depth financial topics and enjoys looking at the latest tools and trends with money.