You’re bombarded with information – and sales pitches – from colleges, and from services insisting they can help your child get into college. Your inbox is overflowing; the e-mails seem breathless: VISIT NOW! APPLY NOW! SIGN UP NOW!
We get it. We’re bombarded with information and sales pitches too. I was on a webinar last week with a company that was trying to sell me their essay-writing app. I watched and listened for a half hour or so as they talked about how their app worked. The personality quiz, the essay outlining tool, the extra fee for essay review.
And finally, the app developer told us about the student who used their system who was admitted to UC Berkeley “with a full-ride scholarship.”
And that’s when I knew he was full of bologna.
The UC system gives some small scholarships to students based on merit. But the vast majority of the money that the UC system offers is given to students with high financial need.
So the essays she wrote had very little – if anything – to do with the scholarships she received.
And yet, this company is using her as an example as they try to sell me – and you – their product. You may or may not know the ins and outs of which colleges give money, and why, and when you are being sold a bill of goods. We do, because that’s our job.
I’m not mentioning the name of the company because it doesn’t really matter. There are tons of them, and they’re coming at you from all sides. The universe has discovered that you, parents, are willing to spend money – sometimes LOTS of money, to help your teen get into college. And they will pretty much go to any length to separate you from your money – including, basically, lying to you about the real value of their service.
Magellan College Counseling is not a franchise, or a VC-backed corporation. We’re a small shop of seven independent college counselors with small caseloads. We approach this as a two-phase process: the college SEARCH comes first, and college APPLICATIONS, second. Our service isn’t for everyone. It’s for people who want to have expert, personalized guidance through both phases. A concierge, if you will, to advise you and your teen through every stage of the process.
We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach. We don’t believe that there are any apps, quizzes, online personality surveys or corporate checklists that can learn about your child, help them think about their strengths, priorities, hopes and dreams for college, and spit out the perfect college list. Our approach is personalized. It’s one-on-one. It takes time. It’s the reason we like to start working with students at the very beginning of 11th grade – and why we like to have the first conversation with parents when the student is in 9th or 10th grade. It’s the reason we spend weeks on the road each year, visiting colleges all over the country – so we can investigate in person many of the college options – not just the names you know, but the names you don’t – to see close up what kind of students succeed at each of them.
Because in the end, we want what you want for your child’s college experience – we want them to be happy and successful.
We hope this gives you a little bit of encouragement as you deal with the daily barrage of high-pressure e-mail sales pitches promising perfect applications and essays. The process is very individual. If you decide you’d like some help, we published a post awhile back with some questions you may want to ask an independent counselor before you hire them. And if you’d like to talk to us about how we can help your son or daughter get into college – focusing on finding the right college experience where s/he’ll be happy and successful – feel free to get in touch.
The phone number listed is my cell phone – I’m the founder of Magellan – and the message you send goes straight to my inbox.
Let us know if we can help reduce your stress and anxiety related to this “get into college” stuff.