Private college admission counseling to a political envoy? On ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” tonight, Diane Sawyer announced that Caroline Kennedy is the likely choice to be the next United States Ambassador to Japan. This doesn’t come as a big surprise to us. Caroline Kennedy has been looking to get into the political arena of late, especially after the death of her uncle, Ted Kennedy. While there is a Kennedy in Congress now with Joseph Kennedy III representing his district in Massachusetts, the overall absence of Kennedys from public life clearly doesn’t sit well with her. As an early endorser of President Barack Obama when he was running against then-Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidency, the timing of her appointment is also no surprise. Secretary of State Clinton is no longer in office — there was, presumably, a bit of a grudge. But we’re not a political blog. We’re a college admissions blog. So why are we writing about Caroline Kennedy?
Because it was also announced on “World News” last night that Caroline Kennedy has been helping students of late as a college counselor. Presumably Caroline Kennedy doesn’t charge for her services. But exactly what experience does Caroline Kennedy have in helping students gain admission to the colleges of their dreams? She’s certainly rather accomplished (hey, we’re Kennedy fans), but college admissions counseling? How exactly does she know the ins and outs of the highly selective college admissions process? Simply by attending a great school doesn’t make one an expert (we’ve seen many parents over the years seek to be private college counselors after we helped their kids gain admission to top colleges).
Anyhow, we thought it was a bit weird. Caroline Kennedy is obviously a great philanthropist and she should be applauded for any of her (presumably) pro bono work. It just gave us a bit of a giggle that John F. Kennedy’s daughter was working as a private college counselor prior to being named the Ambassador to Japan. It’s a little funny, no? And this is NOT an April Fool’s!Categories: College Consultant Tags: Private College Admission Counseling, Private College Counseling, Private College Counselor, Private Ivy League Admission Counseling, Private University Admission Counseling
Originally posted on January 28th. Reposted because, well, we like it:
By Brian Taylor
Growing up, I was always a little embarrassed that my mom helped high school seniors get into college as a private college counselor. I was never embarrassed by her day job as a high school college counselor on Long Island, where she helped her students gain admission to highly selective colleges for a salary. I suppose I was embarrassed by her booming private business for a couple of reasons: (1) I was aware that many people looked down upon private college counselors and (2) I didn’t want anyone to think that she had a hand in my gaining admission to a highly selective college when that time came around. Now can I say for sure that she didn’t have a hand in this in spite of my not allowing her to review my applications and essays? No, because I grew up hearing about the ins and outs of the admissions process during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. It was very much ingrained in my DNA. Literally. My mom encouraged me to swim competitively and I’ve still got the shoulders to prove it. But I tell you now — and this is meant in support of private college counselors and their kids everywhere – that insecure teenager was wrong to be embarrassed.
In the years since I was a kid, my mom’s business has taken off from a moonlighting side gig into the premiere private college counseling business in the world. It’s a business I’m immensely proud of. My mom is at the top of her field and the business she founded, The Ivy Coach, has become a brand name with clients hailing from around the world. These clients have included royalty (as in crowns) as well as the homeless. A couple of years ago, she helped a student who was expelled from West Point because of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” gain admission to one of America’s top colleges in spite of low grades. As a member of the LGBT community, this made me very happy. It also makes me very happy that she works with many members of our military each year on a pro bono basis to help them gain admission to the college(s) of their dreams.
To all qualified and good (yes, there are bad ones like in any profession) private college counselors everywhere — as well as to their children — you should be proud to have created successful American businesses that happen to help make students’ dreams come true. You should be proud to be entrepreneurs in pursuit of your American success story. Sure, you charge a fee for your expertise but so too do lawyers, plumbers, and dentists.
To any high school guidance counselor or college admissions counselor in this nation who criticizes a private college counselor for charging a fee for their expert work, I dare to say that this spirit is anti-American. It is against small business, the building block of our country. It belies the economic principles of supply and demand. It is against the American narrative as I understand it. To any high school guidance counselor or college admissions counselor in this nation who criticizes a private college counselor for providing feedback on college essays, I dare to say that you don’t know how to write well. Because good writing is about rewriting. I should know. I’m vp of Kelsey Grammer’s company in Hollywood; I work with some of the greatest authors and TV as well as movie writers in the world, a couple of whom I idolized as a kid for their seminal works. Their first drafts so often are terrible. But not their final drafts, not after notes are addressed. Yes, these big writers with sometimes even bigger egos take notes — save for Aaron Sorkin and a couple of others.
There aren’t enough high school guidance counselors with expertise in the highly selective college admissions process to go around. Heck, through no fault of their own, many aren’t even trained about this process as they instead receive training in crisis intervention and case management for home-instructed students. Many college admissions counselors don’t fully get the process from the other side either. The Ivy Coach interviews plenty to find the great ones. There is a need for good private college counselors — that’s why people seek them out year after year. The good ones relieve stress and help fix mistakes that can negatively impact one’s candidacy. It’s why the siblings of past student-clients of The Ivy Coach become clients as well. But rarely do parents refer friends because nobody wants to admit that they had a little help along the way. And that’s ok!
So to any high school guidance counselor and/or admissions officer who looks down on private college counselors (like the one who called my mom the “Hannibal Lecter” of college admissions in a comment to an online article — hilarious by the way!), you’ve got that right. But so too does my mom and all of the college counselors at The Ivy Coach — as well as all of the good private college counselors around the country — to be proud to be in the profession. I’m proud of her too.Categories: College Consultant Tags: Private College Counseling, Private College Counselor, Private College Counselors
If you are a current or former college admissions officer at a highly selective university, we’re interested to hear from you as we’re hiring at The Ivy Coach. Maybe you worked at Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Penn, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Caltech, Amherst, Williams, Tufts, Middlebury, Vassar, Wesleyan, MIT, or another highly selective university. Maybe you’re tired of reading thousands of applications every year and deciding who and who should not gain admission. Maybe you want to earn more money than you’d make as a college admissions officer. Maybe you’d like the chance to be able to work from home. Or maybe you’d like the chance to be able to travel. We know, this sounds like an infomercial. But it’s true — this is what we can offer you at The Ivy Coach.
So give us a ring at 212-600-0312 or send us an email as we’d love to hear from you!Categories: College Consultant Tags: Admissions Officers at Colleges, College Admissions Officer, College Admissions Officers, Hiring Admissions Officers, University Admissions Counselors
A college admissions counselor doesn’t want to read an essay about your trip to India. Why not? Because a college admissions counselor doesn’t make a ton of money and their schedule may not afford them the chance to travel as well. If you’re seventeen years old and you get to travel the world and see the great sights of India, how do you think it’ll make someone older feel when they don’t have this same opportunity? It’s simple psychology. It causes resentment. Do you think a college admissions counselor is likely to go to bat for a candidate they resent or rather one they like? It’s a no-brainer.
Similarly, a college admissions counselor doesn’t want to read your essay about sports. Do you know how many applications they have to read? Do you know how many college essays they have to read? Do you think the vast majority of these college essays are original? Do you think most of these essays inspire college admissions counselors and get them to do a happy dance on their desks? Most college essays submitted to highly selective colleges are just awful. Parents and students may think they know what they should write about, but in our years of experience they are almost always wrong. Writing a college essay about being down three goals to two in the final seconds and scoring the goal that ties it all up at the buzzer is not interesting. And besides it will only hurt your chances for admission because it is trite.
At The Ivy Coach, we help you get inside the head of a college admissions counselor. We don’t suggest that you write what you think a college admissions counselor wants to read. Because they don’t want to read what you think they want to read. We help you come up with ideas that will lead college admissions counselors to say — this is the best essay I’ve read all day. It happens all the time for our students. Know how we know? One student received a rubber-band in the mail from an admissions office. Her college essay was about a rubber-band ball. One student was pulled aside by an admissions officer after being admitted as a transfer and told that his essay was the most powerful they’d ever read in their careers. It’s these kinds of stories that our students experience quite often.Categories: College Consultant Tags: College Admission Counseling, College Admission Counselor, College Admissions Counseling, College Admissions Counselor, College Admissions Counselors
Throughout the year, we offer free 20-minute phone consultations to students and their parents as they seek advice on getting into highly selective colleges. But it’s crunch time right now as our students who’ve come to us in the last couple of weeks finish up their applications due very soon. So for the next week, we’re not going to be able to offer free 20-minute college admissions consultations. A number of folks tend to call us directly after coming to our website. The best way to reach us is by filling out our free consultation form. We’ll still get these forms this week and our services are indeed still available, but we just don’t have time to offer any of our services for free this week — even for twenty minutes. We want to devote that time instead to those who are already our students.
You can read about the college admissions counseling services that we offer on our website. Our most popular package that parents and students are signing up for this week is the twenty hour package. A number of students who weren’t our students when they applied Early Decision and/or Early Action but became our students thereafter have selected this package. The first thing that we do with all students who were deferred or denied in the Early round is to diagnose what went wrong. We look to find the mistakes that were made in the application to correct these mistakes going forward in the college admissions process.
Have a question about our college admissions counseling services? Have a question about our packages? Let us know your questions by posting below. We’ll try to answer them during one of the busiest weeks in the college admissions process for our company.Categories: College Consultant Tags: College Admission Consultations, College Admission Consults, College Admissions Consultations, College Admissions Consults, College Consultations
As a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we share tons of advice on the highly selective college admissions process with our readers. That’s part of our goal — to share our college admissions expertise with the world. But do know that we’re very careful about what we blog about. Many points of admissions expertise we choose not to post on our blog because they’re part of our college counseling services. Do you really think we’ll post all of the secrets of Ivy League admissions on our blog? No. At the end of the day, we’re a business. But we’re a business that does like to offer advice to everyone — client or not.
We hope if you’re one of those folks who read through every blog (and we do know you’re out there) that we entertain you at times and we do hope that our tips are helpful to you (or your child) as they apply to highly selective colleges. Follow our tips and it will indeed help your (or your child’s) candidacy. But know that there are a lot more tips that we’re not sharing with you because these tips we’re not willing to give away for free. We are not a non-profit. We are an American business.
So keep on reading our blogs (and if you really do read every one, we apologize for sometimes being repetitive). We do write a blog every day. Every single day. Including weekends and holidays. In fact, if you go through our old blogs, you won’t find a day this past year that a new blog wasn’t posted on our site. We’ve got over 800 blog entries. So read away. You’ll learn lots. But know that it’s far from all and that is intentional.Categories: College Consultant Tags: College Admissions Expert, College Admissions Expertise, Expertise on College Admissions, Ivy League Admissions Expertise, University Admissions Expertise
There was a great piece written by Lynn O’Shaughnessy about college admissions consultants and how highly selective universities like to deny their effectiveness as a group. Are there college admissions consultants who aren’t effective? You bet. Just like in any industry, you’ve got good companies and you’ve got bad companies. Some college consultants have an actual expertise and track record for helping their students gain admission to highly selective colleges and others, well, just don’t. It’s that simple.
But it’s ironic that deans of admission at highly selective colleges have a habit of not acknowledging that college admissions consultants can help students gain admission. And why would they? Why would they acknowledge that the system they partake in, one they work at each and every day, is a system that students can do better in with strategic, expert help? It just wouldn’t make sense for them to do so. It would be a blow to their egos. Here they are trying to put forward to the world that they are doing excellent work, trying to find the best and brightest, the most diverse students for their incoming class. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing for them to acknowledge that college admissions consultants can help students win in the system they work to foster? You bet.
It’s particularly ironic that these very deans of admission, as Ms. O’Shaughnessy points out, contribute greatly to making the highly selective college admissions process more stressful and more competitive. After all, they’re the ones who send out brochures to students (essentially recruiting them to apply) even if they know full well these students have no shot of ever getting in. Ms. O’Shaughnessy even quotes Yale’s Dean of Admission Jeffrey Brenzel: “I believe that most of the funds expended on independent counselors are simply wasted. We do not believe they have much, if any, effect on who we accept.” Uh huh. Do you really think he actually believes that? Not a chance. Mr. Brenzel recently stepped down as Dean of Admission. It wouldn’t come as a great surprise to us if he, too, became a private college admissions consultant. It would be no great surprise at all — no matter what he says he’s going to do professionally after his tenure.Categories: College Consultant Tags: College Admission Consultant, College Admissions Consultants, College Consultants, College Consulting, Ivy League Admissions Consultants
A private college admissions consultancy is making headlines — and it’s not for good reasons. As we’ve said many times before, in any industry there are good and bad apples. It’s true in real estate. It’s true on Wall Street. It’s true in academia. Private college admissions consulting is no different — there are good and bad apples. A bad one seems to have revealed itself. His name is Mark Zimny (we’ve never previously heard of him). The fact is that there are thousands of private college admissions consultancies and some of them are great, some good, and some just awful. It appears Mark Zimny’s was — without question — awful.
It appears that Mark Zimney, a former lecturer and visiting assistant professor at Harvard University at both the undergraduate school and in the Graduate School of Education, is being sued by a Hong Kong couple for taking over two million dollars from them and promising to funnel it to schools like Harvard and Stanford, so their sons would gain admission to the colleges of their dreams. Zimney allegedly claimed that he had connections with development officers at these universities and for the couple to give the money directly, it just wouldn’t work because of “embedded racism” against Asian applicants. So he had to be “the middleman.”
Parents of college applicants be warned — college admissions consultancies should never serve as middlemen for donations to universities. If you want to make a donation to a university, donate to the university. If any college admissions consultant guarantees your child admission to Harvard if you give them over two million dollars to funnel to a university, turn around and walk away quickly. Mr. Zimny’s unethical practices are a black eye to private college admissions consulting and we hope he never advises another family ever again. Parents — always look to see if a college admissions consultancy is a member of IECA and NACAC. You’ll see the logos for these organizations on the company website (the NACAC and IECA logos are at the bottom of every page of The Ivy Coach‘s website). Members of these organizations abide by rules of good practice.Categories: College Admissions, College Consultant Tags: College Admissions Consultancies, College Admissions Consultancy, College Admissions Consulting, College Admissions Consulting Firm, University Admissions Consultancy
As we approach the beginning of the new school year, the time is just around the corner for seniors to be applying to colleges. And many students and their parents are looking for help, overwhelmed by the highly selective college admissions process…and uninformed (or misinformed). As parents and students seek out private college consulting, they need to be sure to hire a private college consultant who will successfully help them in the stressful process. Not just any private college consultant is a good one. Frankly, the vast majority aren’t. So we’d like to help point out to you some warning signs to look out for when seeking private college consulting.
Always hire a private college consultant who is a member of NACAC and IECA. NACAC is the National Association for College Admissions Counseling. IECA is the Independent Educational Consultants Association. These logos for the two organizations should appear on the consultant’s website. If you don’t see those logos, you should indeed start to become a bit suspicious. Like in every other industry, there are hacks in the admissions business, too. It should be noted that The Ivy Coach is a member in good standing of both NACAC and IECA. These logos appear at the bottom of our homepage — which you’re welcome to check for yourself.
IECA lists some other warning signs that the private college consultant you’re considering hiring isn’t the right choice for you. Let’s share a few with you. “They tell you not to worry about all the details on the application forms…they’ll take care of those for you.” It’s all in the details! Oy vey. “They indicate that their background, training, and years of experience are unimportant details not worth getting into.” Uh huh. “They promise to use their ‘pull’ or ‘connection’ to secure admission to a particular school or college.” Right. Get the idea?Categories: College Consultant Tags: Private College Consultant, Private College Consultants, Private College Consulting, Private University Consultants, Private University Consulting
The stressful college admissions process isn’t always that much fun. If you’re a parent, it’s not fun to have to remind your child every summer day that she should start writing her college admissions essays. And when the fall rolls around and she still hasn’t made progress on this front, it will only get more stressful. Children — especially teenagers — simply don’t want to listen to their parents. They’re rebellious. They know better. To be reminded every day by a parent to write college essays may even only encourage them to put them off even longer!
There are so many mistakes that parents and students make in the college admissions process. Many of these mistakes are made because they simply don’t know better. They don’t fully understand the game of college admissions. They don’t understand how one box checked wrongly on an application or one word in an essay can mean the difference between an acceptance and a denial. But beyond the potential pitfalls of the highly selective college admissions process, parents and students often just can’t deal with each other during this most stressful time in their lives.
And that’s where we come in. When a teenager slams a door on a parent because they don’t want to talk about college essays, that parent is frustrated. We take the frustration away. We become the reminders. We bug your children to do what they need to do and when they need to do it. We get them to put that video game away. We get them to sit down and write. There’s no yelling. There are no shouting matches. We take that away. We make your relationship with your child better by serving as buffers. While there’s a whole lot more we do than merely serving as a buffer, being a buffer you’ll find is rather important!
And check out this video on Parental Stress and College Admissions.Categories: College Admissions, College Consultant, Parents Tags: Stress and College Admissions, Stress and College Applications, Stress and College Apps, Stressful College Admission, Stressful College Admissions