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Brainstorming College Admission Essays

Frequently Asked Questions

QWhy work with a private counselor?
A.

Regardless of whether we start working with your student in 8th grade, in 12th grade, or anywhere in between, at Princeton College Consulting, our goal is to help your student maximize his/her potential, become a deeper thinker, and more self-aware while helping your student position themselves to maximize their probability of admission to their top choice colleges.

As your student moves through high school, and in particular, the college admissions process, our expert college admissions counselors deliver ongoing one-on-one tailored guidance that augments the support your student will receive from their school counselor. Your private counselor will work with your student to: determine their academic areas of interest; recommend, help develop, and evaluate extracurricular activities; develop a balanced strategic list of colleges that will be a great fit and where your student will be set up for long term success; help your student become a better writer while helping to brainstorm, review, and edit essays; help your student develop an activities list; help prepare for interviews; and work on all facets of your student’s application process.

At Princeton College Consulting, we work with families providing ongoing guidance through the entire college application’s process as we work to help your student craft their story that will demonstrate their character and who they are in the best possible way.

 

QWill my student have a one-on-one relationship with a counselor?
A.

Yes. At the outset of the relationship, Princeton College Consulting will match your student with a counselor that we believe will be the best fit based on personality and your student’s area of interest. However, it is more than that. While your student will have a one-on-one relationship with his or her counselor, because the college admissions process is so subjective, it is critical to have multiple perspectives on your student’s application profile. As such, our co-founders (Ben and Peter) work with each counselor to ensure that Princeton College Consulting is covering all potential perspectives on your student’s case.

QHow often do students meet with their counselor?
A.

For those students who have opted in to one of our comprehensive packages, students meet with their counselor on the following schedule: As a freshman and sophomore in high school we meet on a monthly basis. As a junior, meetings are accelerated to every three weeks, and as a senior, meetings are accelerated again to every two weeks. Sometimes between scheduled meetings, an issue at school may arise, or a program opportunity may result along with an application deadline, or perhaps a student may simply have a question. In these cases, you or your student should feel free to reach out to us. With our comprehensive packages, we do not watch a clock.

QDo counselors meet with students on nights and weekends?
A.

Yes. We recognize that during the school year students are typically occupied until 3 pm or later on weekdays. As such, we tend to meet with our students on weekday evenings or if necessary, on weekends.

QWhere are your offices located?
A.

We have two primary office locations:

Princeton College Consulting
252 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08542

Princeton College Consulting
590 Madison Avenue
21st Floor
New York, NY 10022

QIf I don’t live in New York or New Jersey, can I still work with you?
A.

Absolutely! Whether you are located in New Jersey, California, China, or anywhere else around the world, our counselors meet and work with our students over live videoconference. In fact, most students prefer videoconference over being in the same physical room with their counselor!

QIs there an application process to become a client of PCC?
A.

No. At Princeton College Consulting, we work with a range of students who are between the middle of 8th grade and 12th grade, and who come from many different cultural and academic backgrounds. Our counselors only work with a limited number of students from a given grade so we accept new clients on a first-come, first-serve basis.

QHow do you match a particular counselor with a student?
A.

Once a family decides to retain Princeton College Consulting’s services, we distribute brief questionnaires to the parents and the student. Once we receive the completed questionnaires, we match the counselor to work with your student who we believe will be the best fit interpersonally and based on any common areas of interest. Learn more About Our Counselors to find out more about who will be working one-on-one with your student through the college admissions process.

QWhen is the right time to begin working with a college admissions consultant?
A.

Today, families retain our services as early as the middle of 8th grade and as late as senior year. At Princeton College Consulting, our primary goal in working with students is to help them unleash their potential and to become the best version of themselves that they can become. Regardless of where your student wants to ultimately attend college, the more time we have to work with them, the greater the impact we can have on their personal development and growth as it relates to their future college admissions prospects. As such, the earlier the better!

QMy student is a rising senior, is it too late to benefit from your consulting services?
A.

There are two primary components to what we do when we work with students - 1. We provide developmental services to help students unleash their potential and to achieve significant personal growth, both of which have a direct correlation to any student’s future college admissions prospects; 2.  We begin the process, generally in January of junior year, to help navigate students through every step of the college application process.

Therefore, one way to think about what we do is that prior to senior year we help students to develop their personal story that they will ultimately tell via their college applications and then we help them tell it through the application process.

So while we may not be able to help your senior develop their future story, we will certainly help your student craft their story based on what they have already accomplished in the most compelling way possible in order to maximize your student’s probability of admission to top-choice colleges.

QWhen our student meets with their counselor, do we meet in person or over video?
A.

Our clients are all over the world and as such we meet with students over video. In fact, video has proven to be superior to meeting in person because our students are more comfortable with the technology. Therefore, they typically become more comfortable with their counselor at a faster rate which enhances the counseling process.

QDo you work in conjunction with my school counselor?
A.

Not all school counselors are receptive to working with a college admissions consultant. However, when a school counselor is open to collaboration, we often do and welcome the opportunity to work with the school counselor. When appropriate, family members will generally make that introduction.

QDo you help students apply to colleges other than to Ivy League schools?
A.

Absolutely! At Princeton College Consulting, our primary goal in working with students is to help them unleash their potential and to become the best version of themselves while also helping them maximize their probability of admission to their top-choice schools, where they can thrive and be set up for long-term success. Also, when we build a college list for students, we always build a balanced list of dream, reach, target, and likely schools - any of which would position your student for success beyond college.

You will find our various college acceptances by state at: https://www.princetoncollegeconsulting.net/about-us/student-acceptances

QWill you get my student an internship?
A.

At Princeton College Consulting, our primary goal in working with students is to help them unleash their potential and to become the best version of themselves that they can become. In keeping with that, we will help identify internship or research opportunities, but in order for any student to achieve personal growth, it is essential while we will navigate and guide the student through the process, that they pursue opportunities so that they learn what it takes to convert opportunities into victories. In any college admissions process, it is through this experience that will better position your student for successful college admissions outcomes. There is an old saying, ”Give someone a fish and they will eat for a day; teach them how to fish and they will eat for life.”

QWill you help my student earn scholarships?
A.

Earning merit scholarships is typically a function of your student’s grades and test scores. From school to school and from year to year those qualification thresholds may vary. When we build a college list, we will always include schools where your student may qualify for a merit scholarship. Additionally, depending on family need, we may place more emphasis on identifying additional schools where your student will qualify for merit scholarships. We also provide resources for additional non-school specific scholarship opportunities.

QWill you help plan my student’s curriculum?
A.

When families retain services from Princeton College Consulting in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade, we begin the consultation process by building a curriculum plan for the remaining years of high school based on your school's graduation requirements and program of studies. Then, each year we will revisit and update the plan based on any changes in your student’s area of interest.

QDo counselors make recommendations for extracurricular activities?
A.

All the time! When we meet with your student and are discussing extracurricular activities, there are a number of different areas of focus for us:

  1. Is your student engaged in the right activities?
  2. Do we need to recommend, add, modify, or delete any activities?
  3. And most importantly, is your student achieving a meaningful level of depth in his/her various activities? If not, under our guidance, we help your student achieve deeper and deeper levels of meaningful involvement.
QDo you limit the number of applications that will be reviewed?
A.

If you retain our services to work with your student through one of our Comprehensive packages, your student can apply to as many colleges as you like - although, there are some practical limitations. First, generally speaking, the optimal number of schools to apply to is 8-12. Beyond this point, your student will begin to enter the land of diminishing returns because if he/she gets into one school at a certain level of selectivity, they will be likely to gain admission to another school of equal selectivity. Ultimately, at the end of the day, they can only select one to attend. Furthermore, with each additional school, your student will need to write additional essays that will only add to stress levels and likely affect the quality of his or her applications.

QHow many essays will you review?
A.

When we work with your student through one of our Comprehensive packages, we do not limit how many college application essays we will review or how many times we will review each one in order to get your student to demonstrate his/her best writing.

QHow many times will you review any essay?
A.

When we work with your student through one of our Comprehensive packages, we do not limit how many of your student’s college application essays we will review or how many times we will review each one. Our goal is to get your student to his or her best writing regardless of how many times we need to review each essay.

QWill you help prepare my student for interviews?
A.

Absolutely! With the exception of one or two questions you will be asked in any interview, your student’s responses will come from his or her life experiences. Our job is to help prepare your student to provide clear and compelling responses to any of the 30-40 different questions your student may be asked in any interview. By the time we have completed our interview preparation, your student will be prepared for any question and will be armed with some key questions to ask the interviewer that will be viewed as insightful.

QWhen is the ideal time to build a college list for my student?
A.

We will build your student's initial college list at the end of sophomore year. Under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to develop preliminary lists earlier. If you start working with PCC beginning in 11th grade (or later), one of our first steps will be to build your initial college list. This is done once we get to know your student and have honed in on his or her area of interest.

QHow do you help my student determine which colleges will be best for him/her?
A.

Once we have developed an initial college list based on match and fit, we will commence a qualitative and quantitative college research process. On the qualitative front, we will provide you with a list of tasks to complete when you visit any college. On the quantitative front, we will teach your student how to evaluate any school along with all the key attributes to review in order to understand why a given school would be an ideal place for your student. As we step through the research process with your student, we will help him/her narrow down the list based on key learnings derived from both the college visits you make and from the online research we will navigate your student through.

QWhere have your students been accepted?
A.

You will find our various college acceptances by state at: https://www.princetoncollegeconsulting.net/about-us/student-acceptances

QDo you provide admissions statistics?
A.

93% of our students are gaining admission to at least one of their top three choices of colleges.  You will find our various college acceptances by state at: https://www.princetoncollegeconsulting.net/about-us/student-acceptances

QDo you provide admissions statistics by particular counselor?
A.

We do not, because at Princeton College Consulting it is a team effort. While your student will have a one-on-one relationship with a counselor, it is the collaborative behind-the-scenes teamwork and additional perspective that we provide to each other that plays an important role in our students’ outcomes.

QMay I speak with a reference?
A.

Most families do not ask for references because nearly 70% of our business comes via referrals. Having said that, in the event you would like a reference, we are more than happy to provide it once you sign an agreement to work with us. Then, before we send an invoice, we will provide a reference.

If for any reason you do not want to proceed after speaking with the reference, then we will cancel the agreement. While this may seem counterintuitive, there is a very specific reason that we do this. We understand that as part of your decision-making process you may want to speak with a reference. However, our past clients, while they are more than happy to provide a reference, do not want to be bombarded with multiple calls while families are still shopping around for a consulting firm. This is why we ask families to get to a point where pending the outcome of a reference check, they want to retain Princeton College Consulting. In the meantime please feel free to review our extensive list of testimonials.

QWill you discuss my child with any other clients?
A.

Absolutely not! Client privacy is sacrosanct. We adhere to the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Principles of Good Practice.

QDo you guarantee admission?
A.

No. It would be unethical of us as independent educational consultants who adhere to the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Principles of Good Practice to guarantee admission to any school. There are some firms that provide guarantees, but those guarantees are typically accompanied with extremely high fees and the admissions decision is still not guaranteed.

With the exception of the recent college admissions scandal, where illegal guarantees were made, it is virtually impossible to guarantee someone will be admitted to any given school. You should be wary of anyone who promises to get your student into any college, particularly into ivy league colleges. No one can guarantee admissions and this violates the ethics of the profession.

QDo you provide test preparation services?
A.

While working with your student, we may administer an SAT and/or ACT diagnostic in order to determine which test is better suited for your student and to determine when your student should begin test preparation. That being said, we are not test preparation tutors. Rather, after years of experience working with various test preparation companies, we have identified one or two "best of breed" test preparation companies that have achieved results for our students that have far exceeded any other test preparation companies we have worked with in the past.

QAre your counselors full time?
A.

Yes. Here is a link to learn more About Our Counselors.

QHow many students are assigned to each counselor?
A.

We limit each counselor to no more than 10 students per grade. At this level, it ensures that each counselor will be able to spend all the time that is necessary to navigate your student through a successful college admissions process.

QWhat is the parent’s role in the process?
A.

Our objective is to develop a one-on-one relationship directly with your student. Most meetings will be between your student’s counselor and your student.  Our goal in helping your student to maximize his or her potential is to be accountable for their work throughout the consulting process.

However, we also understand that while your student is our client, you are making a significant investment, so we are always available to speak by phone or email to address any questions or concerns.

QHow often do you meet with parents?
A.

Via our platform, parents have access to everything we will be doing with your student. You will be able to see all scheduled meetings and meeting agendas, to-do lists, deadlines, college lists, essays, documents, etc. In short, you can always keep your finger on the pulse of the work we are doing with your student by logging into your account.

Beyond that, we like to schedule meetings with parents about once every six months in order to keep you up-to-speed on progress to date and direction. Of course, we understand that from time to time issues or questions will arise that you will want to discuss with us and when they do, you should feel free to reach out to your counselor.

QAs a parent, should I participate in meetings between my student and their counselor?
A.

In almost all of our client meetings, we prefer that parents do not participate in meetings between their student and their counselor because generally, the parents' presence inhibits the student from feeling comfortable enough to be completely honest with our counselors. An essential part of understanding your student is having the student be vulnerable enough to say exactly what is on his or her mind. Learning who he or she really is will be tantamount in the college admissions process.

QDo you work with students who are applying to arts programs or to play collegiate sports?
A.

Yes. We help students prepare portfolios for fine arts, architecture, and fashion. We also help students prepare for auditions in music and theater. Additionally, we work with student-athletes across all collegiate sports and help them navigate the college recruiting and application process. For more information, go to: https://www.princetoncollegeconsulting.net/athletic-recruitment 

QDo Peter or Ben work with students?
A.

Yes. Peter and Ben (our co-founders) work with a limited number of students. However, families generally book with them one to two years in advance of commencing the counseling process. If you are interested in working directly with Peter or Ben, please contact our Director of Client Relations so we can check availability.

Even when working with other counselors on the PCC team, you will still benefit from the experience and expertise of Peter and Ben. They both work with each of our counselors to provide an additional layer of perspective in the highly subjective college admissions process.

QWhat happens if I am not satisfied with your service?
A.

In the unlikely event that you may be unsatisfied with our service, we encourage you to first reach out to our Director of Client Relations so that we may have the opportunity to make adjustments to the extent appropriate.  However, if at any point during our relationship you are unsatisfied with our service, you may terminate our agreement and you will not be responsible for any future payments.

QCan I afford to work with PCC?
A.

At Princeton College Consulting we offer different packages and payment plans to fit your budget. Review the various packages we offer here.

QDo you help students with graduate school admissions?
QDo you help students with prep school applications?
QHow do I get started with PCC?
A.

If you are interested in learning more about Princeton College Consulting, you can fill out our contact form here to speak with our Director of Client Relations to arrange a time for an initial consultation with our managing partner. You can also reach us directly at 609-454-8520 in New Jersey or at 646-530-8420 in New York.