College Consultants Help Students Navigate Their Campus Search

For many high school juniors, starting a college plan and getting ahead of the curve can be intimidating. It’s one more task to accomplish for students who already have many demands on their time including academics, school activities and social life. This is where College Connectors can help.

As independent educational consultants, Emily Crawford and co-owner Jenny Buyens help high schoolers navigate the college application process and find the right match. Their tagline, “our process, your success,” sums up their mission.

These consultants lead students throughout the entire process, providing guidance and resources as they put in the work to finding schools they’ll enjoy attending. “Schools are looking for students with an interest in what the college offers, who are excited to be on that campus and who will make a difference,” Buyens says.
Crawford and Buyens know what schools are looking for because they travel to schools across the country all year. The college connectors visit on average 20 campuses, providing for an extensive knowledge of exactly what’s out there.

The consultants start by having conversations with students and parents about their goals. “There’s a lot of self exploration,” says Crawford. “We do a full process with them, searching for the right fit. It involves many meetings to get to know them and discovering the college campus qualities that will make them super happy. Students get to think about themselves for a change.”

Consultants take on students as early as middle school but recommend starting the whole process at the end of their sophomore year. In the end, it’s all about the right fit for students. Factors like field of study, location and school size are important, along with the thought, “Can I get in anywhere?”

“The number of applications per school, almost across the board, are going up,” Buyens says, and notes the fear doesn’t represent reality. “Everyone is freaking out, so instead of applying to three schools, they apply to 15. If a school gets 10,000 applications, how many of those are actually qualified?”

While many students have their eyes on upper-eschalon schools, the consultants look for the best fit for each student, no matter their academic standing.

“We do the understanding, screening, process and research up front,” says Buyens, whose clients typically apply to five to eight schools, and no more than 10, and with encouragement from Buyens, have everything turned in before Thanksgiving. “Our students get into most of the schools they apply to because they have done the work to understand what they would bring, and the college understands that too,” Buyens explains.

These consultants are guides and it’s important to note they don’t complete any of their students’ work. For example, they can help students identify skills and experiences to write their admissions essays, and what the colleges they’ve visited are looking for in essays. Often an awkward task for students used to writing book reports and not about themselves, it’s the best opportunity to speak in their own voice about their particular worth.

The self-professed “college geeks” have seen a steady growth in their practice. Most consultants hold a masters degree, and all maintain a commitment to professional development, along with continued college visits. In other words, they just might know more about the national college search than Google.