Application Essay Editing & College Advising with Brian R. McElroy (Harvard '02)
Read a partial list of Colleges and Universities where my College Consulting / Essay Editing students have been accepted.
As the acceptance rates at competitive colleges and universities continue to decline, it becomes even more essential for applicants to craft compelling admission essays, score well on their standardized exams, earn great grades, and and make wise academic / extracurricular decisions throughout their academic careers.
College & graduate admission is a very inexact science (not to mention a huge financial commitment), and the intricacies of this process can be overwhelming for all parties involved. It's tough to navigate this maze without a little professional guidance along the way.
I do not consider admissions consulting to be an entirely separate service from my test prep, essay coaching and tutoring services. Instead, I offer a hybrid of tutoring and admissions consulting services. The better I get to know my students, the more specific feedback I can provide them regarding the admission process.
Please rest assured that my list of clients is kept 100 percent confidential; the schools to which you are applying will never have to know that you had a little bit of extra help! I am efficient, too: most of my consulting clients only require a few hours of in-person admissions consultation services each year, although all-inclusive packages are available as well. Phone and email support is also available on an as-needed basis.
I am available year-round to help our students devise concrete test-prep preparation plans and timelines, choose and schedule their classes, review their extracurricular involvements, formulate a list of potential schools and prepare their applications for admission.
When it comes to acing the application process, one should never underestimate the importance of an informed second opinion. The essay feedback that you receive from your overworked English teacher, or the admissions advice you get from a family friend / overworked local counselor, may not necessarily be the best advice available.
High school guidance counselors will assure you that you don't need any help from private consultants. However, why not learn how to beat the admission odds from one who actually did so himself?
Here are some of the areas where we will focus our attention:
Application Help and Essay Review
Academic Tutoring and Study Advice
Summer Break: how to choose unique, productive, meaningful, and enjoyable summer activities
Building an impressive academic / employment resume
Preparation for Standardized Tests such as the SAT, ACT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.
Filling out applications and writing a memorable admission essay. How do I avoid writing the same old essay as everyone else?
Interview Coaching - how to make a great impression in person
The Importance of Campus Visits, and how to properly correspond with school representatives, athletic coaches and/or admissions officials
Extracurricular Activities and Community Service
Scholarships and Athletic Recruiting
What specific Colleges/Universities are really looking for from their applicants each year
Ignoring the hype and finding the school that is the best fit for you emotionally, academically and financially
A Special Note for Parents of High School Students (Grades 7-12):
Please keep in mind that my college consulting services are not intended to replace the services of your high school's guidance counselor. (These counselors are a vital part of the college admission process and should be treated as such.) Instead, I work behind-the-scenes to give your student the type of individual attention that most guidance counselors only wish they had the time to provide.
It is also important to remember that your high school's best interest and your son/daughter's best interest are not always one and the same. We have all heard the tales of local guidance counselors who do not allow their "lesser" students to apply to schools to which they have "better" students applying! Unlike high school guidance counselors, who are beholden to the schools, and thus are are more concerned with the school's overall admission rates than the success of any one particular student, I will work for you and you alone. You'll be surprised how enlightening my "second opinions" can be.
I will be the first one to admit that there are some excellent guidance counselors working in our local schools, and that these counselors are often serve as important (and free) resources for both students and parents. However, when it comes to something as important as your child's education, it never hurts to seek an informed second opinion. And just because your student goes to a expensive private high school such as Francis Parker or Exeter doesn't necessarily mean that your guidance counselor is qualified or competent--I can certainly speak from experience on that matter. Ultimately, students and parents will always be free to decide whom to trust on such essential matters as college applications and SAT/ACT preparation.
In many cases, especially at public high schools, guidance counselors are simply overbooked and underpaid by their schools, and despite their best intentions, these counselors simply cannot find the time to give you the type of customized advice that a private consultant can provide. This is why I only accept a maximum of 30 full-time college consulting clients per year.
Many high school guidance counselors are more than happy to work alongside private college consultants such as myself. However, it is important to keep in mind that certain guidance counselors (especially those at private high schools) resent the involvement of independent consultants, seeing it as an intrusion into their territory. Thus, if you retain my services, then I would advise you not to mention this fact to your high school's guidance counselor. That way, you can be sure that your counselor won't treat you any differently as a result.
UPDATE: Read my article about the recent "tutor bans" at prominent San Diego private high schools.