10 Advantages of Admissions Advising

By Debra Felix

  1. Time - You understand the value of a solid college education, but you do not have the dozens of hours or up-to-date experience necessary to tackle the overwhelming and time-consuming process that applying to college has become.
  2. Comprehensive Services - You want your child to finish the college admissions process leaving no stone unturned, no opportunity missed, no regrets.
  3. Expertise - As a former Director of Admissions at Columbia University and a Consultant to other admissions offices around the world, I have decades of experience in all five major areas of the college admissions process:
    • Student Assessment
    • Managing Academics, Standardized Testing, Extracurriculars, etc.
    • Choosing the Right Colleges to Apply to
    • How to Complete Applications Most Efficiently and Effectively
    • Admissions and Financial Aid Offer Analysis
  4. Customization - I customize the advising process by identifying the aspects most likely to be challenging for your child, then support him or her throughout the process.
  5. A Fresh Voice - At times, teenagers will not take their parents’ advice, but they will happily listen to a coach. 
  6. Objectivity - Whereas parents may find it difficult to be objective about their children, I have no trouble doing so. I know the “pool” of applicants - the competition they are up against - and I can interpret the mixed messages schools often send.
  7. Life Skills - I am an experienced teacher. I have taught at seven high schools in the U.S. and Costa Rica, and I will teach your child important life skills in the areas of writing, time management, organization and critical analysis.
  8. A Catalytic Spark - Sometimes a teen needs a spark to get started with the college application process. I can provide that spark and be a catalyst throughout the process.
  9. Renewal - In many cases, parents who have been working through the college search process on their own find that it is time to give it a new life or direction, or at least some additional expertise and objectivity. When they do, their stress level typically falls, and family harmony increases.
  10. Return on Investment - You want your child to receive the best return on your investment, so you put his or her college search into the hands of the most experienced and dedicated advisor and cheerleader a family could want.
Here is an article I love about how difficult this process is, from GrownandFlown.com:  

11 Reasons Why College Admissions is HARDER Than You Expected

You thought college admissions would be challenging. You knew it would be difficult. You had no idea.

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1. Prepare for heartbreak

You are filled with confusion as you watch your kid prepare to leave. The frustration and sadness you feel is not about college admissions but about the inevitable change that is coming to your relationship and your family. You worry that this next stage in life may not be good, for you.

2. Rejection is coming

Your kid is going to be rejected by some universities and, if history is any guide, as a parent, that is going to sting. You know you have raised a great kid, but not every university in America knows it. When the inevitable thin envelopes appear, it is going to hurt her, and perhaps you, even more. We take our kids' disappointments to heart, that is what makes us parents.

3. 18 is not adulthood

Eighteenth birthday looming or not, despite what the calendar might say, you are looking at a half-baked adult. The law says that on that one day he will be an adult, that his decisions and responsibilities are his own. But what the law doesn’t know is that your kid is still a kid, and that he still asks you what you think of his clothes or what to eat for a snack, that he may look like a grown up but he is not ready for the big time yet.

4. Give her space?

Your kid is about to make the single biggest decision of her young life and you are supposed to back off. Step away, give her space. You are supposed to keep your mouth shut at college admissions information sessions, read her essays noting only typos and grammar mistakes and let her take control of the “process.” Well, the people doling out this advice do not know how naive your kid can be, or that she could compete, nationally, in any procrastination competition. They do not know that she is confused, overwhelmed, overtired and, despite standing at the crossroads of her life, just wants to crawl in bed and take a nap. You are scared to enter into the process and equally scared to back away.

5. College admissions is costly

Every single step of the college admissions process is more expensive than you could have imagined and you have not yet written your first tuition check. It adds up quickly: Road trips, application fees ($41 on average), SAT sittings ($52.20), SAT sittings (again), Subject SATs ($26.00 each), and APs ($89.00) and sending out all those scores comes at a steep price. Oh, and by the way, why don’t we try the ACT ($54.50) too? Hell, why not?

6. And the costs keep going up

And the corollary…you can throw any amount, almost any amount at the college admissions process. SAT tutoring can cost upwards of $500 an hour. Visits to five, ten, twenty schools can eat up thousands more. The litany of decisions on how to rein in these costs, even before your kid begins to write her first application, is not something you expected.

7. College is worth it, right?

You keep reading research that says college may not be worth the expense. Though you know the research is largely aimed at for-profit universities and kids who start, but do not complete a degree, while going heavily in debt, the question remains. Is there any chance you are shelling out over $100,000 for your teen to party for four years? It is a scary thought and not true.

8. Try hard not to be That Parent

You are pretty sure that your wonderful kid is not getting the attention that he needs from the guidance office at school. They seem to be overwhelmed with the number of kids they need to help and the typical, well-adjusted, middle of the pack kids don’t seem to be getting the attention. You want them to sit up and take note of your kid, but you don’t want to be That Parent.

9. This is not familiar, at all

You feel completely out of your depth, this is not college admissions as you knew it. You applied to one state school and got in. Or you applied to three private schools and went to the one that accepted you. You didn’t even study for the SAT. Schools that were not on your radar are now impossible to get into. Schools you thought might be great for your kid, elicited a chuckle from his guidance counselor. You had never heard of “a hook,” “a safety,” or “EA vs. ED”. You have entered a parallel universe and you cannot wait to get out.

10. Too much information

There is too much information. Life was easy just a few short years ago when a handful of viewbooks came through the mailbox and leafing through the pages of leafy college quads was a relaxing and largely uninformative process. Now there are websites with thousands of pages, emails and texts sent to your high school senior, rankings, blogs …. You know that it is important to make an informed decisions, life has taught you that. But you suspect that the torrent of college admissions information may be beyond the capacity of the human mind.

11. Were you a good parent?

You had no idea that the college admissions process could make you, not your kid, feel so insecure. You are not a pushy parent, but should you have pushed more? The SAT prep class seemed great, but should you have hired a tutor? His main essay topic seems a bit weak, but it’s his, should you leave it? Should you have urged more AP classes or made her try out for varsity basketball? Those overseas trips seemed like a scam, but what if they weren’t? Did you actually spend all the hours you meant to with your child? Were you even a good parent?  College admissions does not seem like a healthy process for a parent’s ego.

Finally, back to number one. The pain, frustration and even anger that the college admissions process engenders may have little to do with the process. One of the people you love most in your life, have loved beyond what you ever could have ever imagined, is getting ready to walk out your door. And if that isn’t hard, I don’t know what is.



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This was the best move my daughter made last summer. She ended up with an amazing essay. Having this piece of the college admissions process finished before senior year started was extremely helpful.

-Parent of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student (MD)

Email: Felix Educational Consulting

Phone or Text: (240) 305-4578

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