Getting into college can be challenging. And with students applying to top schools in record numbers, getting into your dream school can be even more difficult. That’s where a college admissions consultant can help set students apart from the rest of the competition.
Spark Admissions takes the guesswork out of the college application process. Spark works with students to develop a tailored approach that increases their chances of getting into their top-pick school.
Is Spark Admissions right for you? We’ll dive deeper into the company, what it offers, and how it helps middle and high school students increase their chances of getting into top-rated schools.
- Boutique college admissions consulting firm that creates tailored plans for its clients
- Research-based approach to admissions
- Transparent about both its pricing and the college acceptance rates of its clients
Spark Admissions Details
Consulting packages range from $8,195 for 15 hours to $37,495 for 75 hours, with many options in between.
What Is Spark Admissions?
Headquartered just outside of Boston, Spark Admissions is a boutique admissions consulting firm that works with students and parents to provide guidance on the admissions process. The firm was founded in 2013 by Dr. Rachel Rubin and Rachel Blankstein. Dr. Rubin, a Harvard-educated researcher, uses data from large admissions studies to inform the advice Spark provides its clients.
The firm provides each student with a unique, customizable plan that’s tailored to their individual goals. This approach not only focuses on grades and test scores but also aligns a student’s interests, passions, and extracurricular activities with the profiles that top-rated schools are looking for.
The firm is a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.
Related: Where To Apply To College
What Does Spark Admissions Offer?
Spark Admissions offers a variety of consulting packages designed to meet students where they’re currently at in their academic careers.
Customizable Consulting Packages
The core offering provided by Spark Admissions is consulting services that start as early as middle school. The goal is to evaluate students early on to identify what makes them unique. From there, the team at Spark Admissions creates detailed plans for students to follow. This includes test plans, identifying summer internship or volunteer opportunities, and making sure students get the most they can out of their high school careers.
This process works well because it starts with the student rather than the admissions process. Spark Admissions uses the student as the foundation to build a highly tailored application. This allows the student to shine and represent the most authentic version of themselves to application committees at highly selective schools.
The main benefit of this process is the guidance Spark Admissions provides students and their parents. Rather than following a cookie-cutter approach to college admissions, each client is given a roadmap and application timeline to follow. This gives students invaluable practice in learning how to communicate, evaluate requirements, and manage a project. These are all important skills that students will utilize when they begin their college careers.
In addition to the standard consulting package, Spark Admissions also supports creative and athletic students who are applying to highly competitive programs. This is a differentiator compared to other college admissions prep companies - many of which simply focus on getting students into highly selective colleges.
For students looking to pursue art or film, Spark Admissions connects students with mentors who can help them develop compelling portfolios. For music and other creative fields, consultants help students evaluate the specific requirements of the program they want to pursue.
For athletes, Spark Admissions breaks down the recruitment process into key milestones. Student-athletes are evaluated against specific benchmarks to find schools where a student would be a good candidate. Spark also works with athletes to create a holistic application that showcases their leadership potential as well as academic performance.
Private School Admissions
Aside from college admissions, Spark Admissions also works with younger students and their families to apply to private middle and high schools. This support mostly focuses on helping identify attainable schools that the student should apply to, crafting strong essays, and preparing students to answer questions about their extracurricular activities during the interview.
Are There Any Fees?
Spark Admissions offers tiered pricing based on a student’s grade and how much support they might need. The packages are broken down by year and type as follows:
Year in School
8th - 10 Grade
11th Grade and BS/MD
Private School and Transfers
Spark Admissions’ fees average around $526 per hour. The larger the package, the lower the average rate, with the lowest average hourly rate being just under $500.
That being said, Spark does not offer services by the hour. Even if a student only needs a couple hours’ worth of support, they’ll have to buy a full package.
How Does Spark Admissions Compare?
College advising is a booming business. According to one estimate, the educational consulting space is expected to grow by about 4% by the end of the decade. The increased demand for consultants aligns with the pressures and expectations of students to get into a good school.
Spark Admissions stands out due to the tailored support it provides students who need extra help. This includes students applying to creative programs, athletes, and students with learning challenges. And for the flexibility, level of detail, and research-based expertise that Spark Admissions provides, it’s reasonably priced.
That being said, Spark Admissions isn’t the cheapest option on the market, and it doesn’t provide all the services you can get from other admissions consultancies.
The Princeton Review offers less expensive college admissions advising services, including a $299 strategy session and an Ultimate Admissions Package for $3,499. The Princeton Review also offers SAT tutoring and test prep for Advanced Placement exams, which Spark Admissions does not offer.
Unlike some of its competitors, Spark Admissions does not offer graduate admissions support. IvyWise is another college admissions consulting firm that offers services similar to Spark Admissions but with the added benefit of counseling for competitive graduate programs, including business schools and law schools. However, their pricing is more expensive.
Overall, Spark Admissions is best suited to students looking for highly individualized support. Spark’s goal is to help students identify what makes them compelling candidates and to craft an application around that rather than just focusing on grades or test scores.
Not Yet Rated
$500+ per hour
$299+ per hour
$1,000+ per hour
Consulting for artists, athletes, and students with learning challenges
SAT tutoring and AP test prep
Graduate school consulting
Years in Business
How Do I Open An Account?
Book a free consultation through Spark’s contact form. No online portal is available; accounts are managed individually by a Spark Admissions advisor.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Spark Admissions does not maintain a client portal for students or parents to log into. It doesn’t collect payments through its website or store payment information there either.
Spark Admissions does go an extra step to maintain client privacy. It offers a number of case studies on its website that highlight real students who have worked with Spark, but those students are not identified by their real names.
How Do I Contact Spark Admissions?
The best way to contact Spark Admissions is via the contact form on its website, by phone at (617) 379-2535, or by email at email@example.com.
Spark Admissions has received high praise from its clients; it has five stars based on 72 Google reviews and a full 5-star rating on Yelp as well (albeit based on only seven reviews there).
However, there are not many other reviews about Spark Admissions, including on Reddit and other forums.
Is It Worth It?
Spark Admissions is a good option for students who need highly individualized support during the college admissions process. The team at Spark gets to know students personally to develop a high-quality application package that highlights their unique attributes.
Spark is also one of the most well-regarded admissions consulting service providers available, and it has the results to prove it. Spark publishes its acceptance rates annually on its website, showcasing which schools its clients applied to and its admissions rates for those schools compared with the national admissions rates. Based on these stats, Spark Admissions clients appear to have a far better chance of getting admitted to a top school than those who do not work with Spark. Compared to other college admissions prep services, Spark is one of the most transparent.
That said, Spark Admissions isn’t a good fit for students looking for support beyond college admissions, like AP test prep.
And while Spark Admissions is competitively priced, it isn’t the cheapest option. There are other college admissions consulting firms that offer à la carte services — like essay reviews — that students can pick and choose from instead of purchasing a comprehensive consulting package.
Spark Admissions Features
Average hourly rate is $526. Packages are set by number of hours.
Custom Packages Available
Experience of Counselors
Most have prior experience in admissions at Ivy League universities
Customer Service Number
Variety of Packages
Experience of Counselors
Spark Admissions offers a strong track record for getting students into top undergraduate programs.
- Consultants have extensive backgrounds in admissions and higher education.
- Customizable programs are available to meet the needs of each student.
- Google and Yelp reviews praise Spark effusively
- The minimum package is for 15 hours of consulting.
- Spark doesn’t offer à la carte services like essay reviews.
- Test prep services aren’t offered.
Amanda Claypool is a writer, entrepreneur, and strategy consultant. She’s lived in the Middle East, Washington, DC, and a 2014 Subaru Outback but now calls Asheville home. Amanda writes about money, crypto, emerging tech, and the future of the economy on Medium.