Reasons to Hire a College Consultant

Surprising Statistic
Would you believe that a third of college students at 4-year universities drop out or transfer? While there are many factors that play into reasons for transferring, working with Kiersten can help to narrow your options and zero in on what works for you, to ensure a great match. 

Did You Know?

There is still good news out there - the majority of colleges and universities admit more than 65% of their applicants.

Competition
The college admissions process has become more complicated recently with the huge shift in the nation's college-age population. What does this mean to you? Big competition. The bottom line is this – students need to start early and to be savvy in their college choices to ensure that they are not only finding colleges where they will be happy and successful, but also where they will be admitted in today’s extremely competitive market.
 
The 2015 application year hit record highs, with more students being denied and waitlisted than ever before. It is not just the top tier schools such as Harvard and Princeton that have seen skyrocketing numbers. Small liberal arts colleges and state universities have been affected as well. In 2009 our nation graduated the largest group of high school seniors ever. With more students graduating and higher volumes of applications, the competition will be extremely high for the same amount of spots in any given freshman class. Seniors will need to well-versed on what this means to them and to the colleges that they are considering.
 
The Economy
The recent economy has also impacted college admission. With budgets slashed and endowments drained, many colleges are being forced to take measures that will make the admissions process even more selective than anticipated by the growth in student population. This is especially true with state universities that were once considered “safe bets”.
 
What does this all mean to the college applicant? Competition to state universities will be fierce this year as record highs continue to graduate from high school coupled with more people needing to apply to public universities for financial reasons. State universities will begin to admit fewer students, driving up the level of competition, while budget cuts affect the quality of education that they can offer. As a student applying to college, it is very important to know how particular colleges have been affected and how that impacts your application and potential for financial aid and/or merit money.
 
A Big Investment: Your Child’s Education
According to FinAid.com, tuition tends to increase about 8% per year which means that the cost of college doubles every nine years. If this trend continues, this means that for a child born in 2009, the cost of college will be more than three times the current rate eighteen years from now. The advice of a college consultant generally increases the likelihood that an investment in your child's future will be well made.

Did You Know?

The cost of a private college could be similar to the cost of a state university depending on your financial need. Some colleges have even eliminated all loans to allow students to graduate debt-free.

According to College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2016, the average tuition and fees at private colleges across the nation rose 3.6% to $45,370. This is almost double the cost of tuition from 1990. Have your sights set on Stanford? The cost of attending will be $62,801, which includes tuition, room and board. Whitman College in Washington will charge $61,172 and Harvey Mudd College rounds out the list as one of the most expensive in the nation at $71,917 per year.

The average tuition at public universities for in-state students is up 2.4% to $20,090 and for out-of-state students is up 3.6% to $35,370. How does your state university rate? At the University of Washington, in-state residents will pay $25,948 for tuition/room/board and out of state students will pay $49,986. One of the most expensive for out-of-state students is the University of California Berkeley charging $61,654 this year. On average, the tuition at public universities has been going up more than twice the rate of inflation. Although state universities continue to be affordable for in-state students, for out-of-state students, the price tag can be far steeper and on par with the cost of many private universities.
 
The overall goal is to find the best fit so that this significant financial investment is sound.
 
Personalized Attention 
As guidance counselors wear many hats, it is difficult for them to give substantial time or individual attention to your child's college search.

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, public school counselors spend 23% their time on college advising. In extreme cases, where high school student-to-counselor ratios surpass 500:1, counselors may have less than one hour per year to devote to college counseling for each student.

According to 2012 statistics, the mean national student-counselor ratio is 491-to-1. In Arizona, the average is an astounding 941-to-1, in Washington 502-to-1, in California 822-to-1 and in Oregon 604-to-1. The National Association of College Admissions Counselors and the American School Counselors Association both recommend a ratio of 250-to-1 (only three states in the nation meet this recommendation). By contrast, most independent college consultants work with about 20-30 students a year. Having a small caseload allows Ms. Murphy to spend enough time with each student to be able to personalize a program to best suit individual needs.

Why not hire an expert?
Consider this: If you were selling your biggest investment, your home, you would probably hire a real estate agent. You do this because that person is an expert in selling homes.  So when faced with investing in your child’s education, why not hire an individual who is an expert at navigating the process? Yes, of course, information on schools is readily available on the web and in guidebooks. Yet, unlike a guidebook, Ms. Murphy can provide a highly personalized experience for your child. Your son or daughter will receive one-on-one interactions, guidance, and options that they cannot receive anywhere else.