Dave Evangelisti Authored By: Dave Evangelisti
College Admissions Consultants

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Updated: May 26, 2022

Getting into college is no small task, especially if you are aiming for a top tier college or university. More and more people are attending college, and with more students, comes more competition.

A college admissions consultant can help students navigate the difficult process of applying and getting into the best colleges in the United States.

Getting a good SAT or ACT score is important, but it is no longer the only metric used by colleges and universities. These schools are now considering many different factors including GPA, test scores, community service, extracurriculars, courses taken in high school, and the student’s application.

There are so many different options available to students who are looking for a college admissions consultant. Use our reviews of the best college admissions consultants to find the best choice for you.

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Best College Admissions Counselors Prep Expert Princeton Review PrepScholar Varsity Tutors
  prep expert logo Princeton Review logo PrepScholar logo Varsity Tutors Logo
Rating
95

91

85

79
Best For Most Personalized Most Affordable Options - -
One of Our Picks T-G Recommended T-G Recommended - -
Full-Service Plan Price $6,999 $3,199 $6,895 $4,700
Free Consultation
# of Options Offered 4 7 5 1
Personalized Experience Offered
1-on-1 Options
Junior + Senior Prep
Pre-High School Prep
Financing Options
Summary Review Review Review Review
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Our Picks for Best College Admissions Consultants


Most Personalized: Prep Expert

TG Recommended
Prep Expert logo

Score: 95

Visit Prep Expert

  • Best For

  • Students looking for a highly personalized option
  • Parents looking to stay involved throughout the whole process
  • Experience of admissions director Akbar Rahel

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Middle of the pack in terms of pricing. Around $250/hour for each of their packages.
  • Options

  • 4 different options to choose from. One of those is a completely custom package.
  • Other Features

  • Experience of admissions director Akbar Rahel is really nice.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Highly customizeable
  • Experience of Akbar Rahel
  • Involvement of parents throughout the process
  • Cons

  • Can become expensive
  • -
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Prep Expert is one of the top providers when it comes to ACT and SAT prep – it is no surprise that they also have an incredible admissions consulting program.

For starters, Prep Expert offers the most personalized college admissions packages out there. Students will have the opportunity to sit down, one-on-one, with their admissions consultant and devise the best plan to get into their desired schools.

Not only does Prep Expert offer the most personalized college admissions packages, but they are also very affordable. Prep Expert ends up costing around $250/hour for each of their packages.

The admissions consulting industry is not a cheap industry. This price point puts them in the middle of the pack in terms of cost per hour – a great deal for the amount of personalized attention the student will be receiving.

Prep Expert ensures that parents are kept in the loop throughout the whole process. Parents will be updated on what the admissions consultant and the student are working on. Parents are heavily involved at the beginning of the process.

Students will have the ability to work on whatever they choose with their college admissions consultant but some of the most common services offered include:

  • Planning - Students can plan out their high school schedules, summer programs, test dates, and extracurricular activities.
  • School Selection - Create a list of colleges and universities that best fit your needs.
  • Application Strategy - Craft the best possible application. Stand out from other applications.
  • Test Prep - Students will receive a FREE self-paced ACT or SAT prep course as part of the Prep Expert admissions consulting packages. Prep Experts ACT prep course and SAT prep course are legit. They were our #1 choice in both categories.
  • Essay Help - Ensure your essays are of the best quality. Students who use Prep Expert will go through 10+ revisions most of the time.
  • Anything Else - If there is something else you want to cover, Prep Expert will ensure you have the resources you need. Things like waitlist letters, interview prep, and letters of recommendations are some examples.

One of the best features of Prep Expert and their admissions consulting programs is their admissions director, Akbar Rahel.

Akbar has a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts from California Berkeley. Akbar has 22 years of college admissions consulting experience, 15 years of tutoring experience, 6 years of teaching experience, and has gotten his students more than $17,000,000 in merit scholarships.

Different Options

Prep Expert offers 4 different college admissions consulting packages. You can review those programs below.

Option#1: Flagship Package - $6,999

  • Prep Experts most popular package.
  • 25 hours of personalized admissions consulting.
  • Free ACT or SAT prep course.
  • Recommended for high school juniors and seniors.

Option #2: Gold Package - $9,999

  • 40 hours of personalized admissions consulting.
  • Free ACT or SAT prep course.
  • Recommended for high school juniors or seniors who want to spend some more time with their admissions consultant.

Option #3: Platinum Package - $13,999

  • 60 hours of personalized admissions consulting.
  • Free ACT or SAT prep course.
  • This package is recommended for students who are in 8th grade or beginning their freshman year in high school.

Option #4: Custom Package

  • Package for families who have unique needs.
  • This could include siblings, students with disabilities, and other special situations.
  • Prep Expert wants to help students in different situations succeed.

Key Features

  • 4 different options to choose from
  • Experience of Akbar Rahel
  • Includes everything from planning extracurriculars to choosing the right school
  • Includes major discounts on ACT and SAT prep courses

Key Differences From Other College Admissions Consultants

  • Highly customizeable
  • Work directly admissions director
  • Discounts on prep courses
TG Recommended
Prep Expert logo

Score: 95

  • Why Choose Prep Expert College Admissions

  • Highly personalized experience
  • Experience of Akbar
  • Discounts on ACT and SAT prep included

Visit Prep Expert

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Most Affordable Options: Princeton Review

TG Recommended
  • Best For

  • Students looking for different options based on their needs
  • Students who may be earlier in the process

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Have some very affordable options for students looking for specific things.
  • Options

  • 7 different options to choose from. Broken down by grade you are in.
  • Other Features

  • Includes things like virtual meetings, messaging with college coaches, and written essay edits.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • # of different options
  • Affordable options for specific things
  • Cons

  • Not as customizeable as Prep Expert
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Princeton Review offers some of the best college admissions consultants. They offer a ton of options for students looking for college admissions counseling. Some of their best options are:

Option 1: On-Demand Admissions - $799

Princeton Review recommends this option for students that are freshmen – seniors in high school. This college admissions counseling packing is completely online. Some of the features include:

  • 120+ videos and articles that outline the college admissions process
  • 25 direct messages with a college admissions consultant
  • Written feedback on essay prompts
  • Activities list and admissions planner tools
  • College research and application tracker tools

Option 2: Ultimate Admissions Package - $3199

This is Princeton Review’s most popular college admissions consultant package. It is the most comprehensive and involves the most student to counselor interaction. Some features include:

  • 7 meetings with college admissions counseling team
  • 2-3 rounds of written edits on your personal statement
  • 2 rounds of written edits on your admissions essay
  • Guide you through interview process, deferrals, waitlists, and choosing your final college
  • Personalized college list of 20-25 schools – customized to your interests and personality.

Option 3: College List Building - $479

Students can sign up for this program and get help in choosing the best colleges and universities for themselves. This is recommended for high school juniors who already have taken the SAT or ACT at least once. Some features include:

  • One hour long virtual meeting with a college admissions counselor to discuss preferences
  • A list of 20-25 schools that fit your interests and personality
  • Access to interactive tools like the school tracker and activities list

Option 4: Sophomore Edge - $549

This college admissions counseling course is tailored specifically for high school sophomores. Some of the features include:

  • Virtual meeting with your college admissions counselor
  • Virtual meeting with your college admissions coach
  • Look over your transcript and map out the best plan for courses to take in high school
  • Review extracurricular activities and create a plan to include summer activities and leadership opportunities
  • Create a testing plan for the ACT, SAT, and PSAT.

Key Features

  • 7 different options to choose from
  • Options are affordable and can choose specific packages based on your needs
  • Can start the process earlier with some of their programs

Key Differences From Other College Admissions Consultants

  • Number of options offered
  • Options broken down by grade in high school
TG Recommended
Princeton Review logo

Score: 91

  • Why Choose Princeton Review College Admissions

  • Number of different options
  • Can start the process early in high school

Visit Princeton Review

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PrepScholar Review

PrepScholar
PrepScholar logo

Score: 85

Visit PrepScholar

  • Best For

  • Someone looking for unlimited counseling time

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • The full-service plan is expensive but you do get unlimited counseling hours.
  • Options

  • 5 different options offered. Can choose based off your needs.
  • Other Features

  • The unlimited counseling time is a really nice feature we like.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Unlimited counseling time
  • Interview prep
  • Cons

  • No prep products/discounts included
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

PrepScholar offers a couple of different college admissions consulting packages. Each of their packages is tailored to specific needs of students. The packages they offer are:

Option 1: Grade 9-11 Mentorship - $4895

This package is perfect for students who are freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in high school. This package is designed to help students in the years before they submit their college applications. Some of the features of this course include:

  • Detailed 12-month application plan
  • High school coursework planning
  • GPA improvement strategy
  • Customized test prep strategies for SAT and ACT
  • Extracurricular management
  • Unlimited counseling time

Option 2: Complete Package - $6895

PrepScholar’s complete college admissions consultant package. Everything you need to guide you through the whole college admissions process. Features include:

  • Complete student review – getting to know you, what drives you, and what your passionate about.
  • School selection strategy
  • Tracking of deadlines and requirements
  • Full essay service for every school
  • Full application review
  • Recommendation letter strategies
  • Interview prep
  • Financial aid negotiation
  • Final school decision
  • Unlimited counseling time

Option 3: College Essay Services - $195 or $595

PrepScholar has two difference services they offer for students looking for assistance with their college application essays.

The first service is their essay editing service that is available for $195. This service is tailored for students who know what they want to write about but want a second set of eyes to review their style, tone, and message.

The second service is their full essay service that is available for $595. Students who choose this service will receive help from start to end and will be coached through the essay step-by-step.

Option 4: Application Review Service - $495

This service is for students who have finished their college application but want an expert to review it before they submit it.

Students will submit their common application, activities list, all short answers, and any additional supplements to a PrepScholar college admissions consultant.

The consultant will return their evaluation and revisions for the student to review. The student will then submit their final college application with peace of mind that everything has been reviewed.

Key Features

  • 5 different options to choose from
  • Unlimited counseling time
  • Includes everything from reviewing yourself as a student to negotiating financial aid

Key Differences From Other College Admissions Consultants

  • Unlimited counseling time
PrepScholar
PrepScholar logo

Score: 85

  • Why Choose PrepScholar College Admissions

  • Unlimited counseling time

Visit PrepScholar

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Varsity Tutors Review

Varsity Tutors Review
  • Best For

  • Someone looking for a complete package
  • Someone looking for a dedicated financial aid specialist

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • $4,700 for the program. Pretty solid offering with basic features within the course.
  • Options

  • Only 1 option offered. It is a complete option though.
  • Other Features

  • Includes mostly everything that the other courses include but does lack some features.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Tailored writing exercises to improve your writing
  • Application review by a whole team
  • Cons

  • Only 1 option offered
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Varsity Tutors keeps their offerings very simple - they offer 1 complete option. This option is available for $4,700 and is a complete option that includes mostly everything you will need.

First, you will fill out an information form. The point of this form is to match you with the proper college admissions counselor. Everyone is different and has different needs, so Varsity Tutors has you fill out this form so they can match you with the best potential counselor.

Once you are matched with a counselor, you will have access to things like:

  • Guidance on crafting a compelling narrative
  • A timeline to keep you on track
  • Help selecting schools
  • Writing exercises to improve writing
  • Personalized essay feedback
  • Mock interviews

One unique thing about Varsity Tutors is the emphasis they place on financial aid. You will work with a dedicated financial aid person to help maximize your financial aid opportunities. This specialist will also help you with completing financial aid forms and submitting documents.

Key Features

  • 1 comprehensive option
  • Financial aid specialist
  • Final application review by a whole team of experts

Key Differences From Other College Admissions Consultants

  • A dedicated financial aid specialist
Varsity Tutors
Varsity Tutors logo

Score: 79

  • Why Choose Varsity Tutors College Admissions

  • Someone looking for a complete package for a decent price
  • Someone looking for a dedicated financial aid specialist

Visit Varsity Tutors

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How to Choose a College Admissions Consultant

Selecting the right college admissions counselors can be the difference between getting into your top school of choice or not. There are many important factors to consider when choosing the best college admissions consultant. The most important thing is to consider your own individual needs.

What to Consider When Purchasing A College Admissions Consultant

When considering your own individual needs, it is important to be honest with yourself. Do you or your child need help with the whole college admissions process or just part of the process? Do you or your child only need assistance with the financial aid aspect of the process? These are questions you should be asking yourself before purchasing a college admissions program.

Price

Price is going to be a factor when purchasing college admissions counseling. Most programs are not going to be cheap. You should look at this as an investment in your future. You will pay some money up front, but will reap the benefits down-the-road when you accepted into a top school.

Features

The features within these different college admissions courses will vary. Some programs include everything, while other programs only include parts of the college admissions process. Prep Expert was one of our top choices due to the flexibility and ability to customize your program.

Other Factors to Consider

Some other factors to consider include:

  • Financial aid- if this is a big part of your admissions process, you should find a program that will assist you with this.
  • Essay assistance - if you need help with all of the writing that is included during the college admissions process, make sure the program you choose includes writing assistance.
  • Customization - find a program that works for your specific needs. Many of these providers include a free consultation - ask questions during these consultations to see what they offer and if they are willing to adjust the program to your specific needs.

Do I Need a College Admissions COnsultant?

A college admissions consultant may not be for everyone. While a college admissions consultant may make the process easier and help you get into a better school, they are certainly not necessary. Plenty of students are able to get into top school with a consultant.

Here are some alternatives to consider:

Methodology: How We Tested College Admissions Consultants

We looked at 10+ different college admissions consultants before narrowing it down to the best 4. We chose 4 providers because we did not want to overwhelm our users. Each of the 4 providers we chose (besides Varsity Tutors) has multiple different packages and offerings.

After spending time researching these providers, we gave the providers different ratings for 5 different criteria. Each of those criteria are assigned a weight which helps us arrive at a final weighted score.

For more details, read about our independent review process.

FAQs About College Admissions Consultants

Is a college admissions consultant worth it?

College admissions consultants are great for students who need additional help when applying to colleges. Consultants can help you with all the steps involved in the college admissions process and can even help you get some additional financial aid.

Which college admissions consultant is best?

After reviewing numerous consultants, we found that Prep Expert and Princeton Review were the best options. These 2 companies have a ton of different options for students looking for college admissions assistance.

What services does a college admissions consultant offer?

College admissions consultants offer a ton of different services. They can assist students with their college essays, college applications, finding your best fit colleges, and working through the financial aid process.

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