Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Can I call you by phone to talk about my situation?
A: To save you time and money, we ask that you email us. This keeps costs down and allows us to respond more quickly to queries, as email is so much more efficient.
Q: How do I know that admissions coaching and assistance will do any good?
A: Studies by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and various educational organizations have demonstrated conclusively that systematic test preparation results in higher test scores. Even the most accomplished professional athletes know that a skilled coach can improve their performance. That's why Tiger Woods, among many others, has a coach. The benefits of admissions coaching and assistance are indisputable.
Q: Wouldn't we be able to do everything ourselves that you could do for us, if we were just willing to make the effort?
A: Without an expert level of knowledge and years of experience, it is highly unlikely that your results would be comparable. Valuable time that should be devoted to laying the groundwork for success would go toward learning and experimentation. That being said, we encourage you to do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Q: Can't we just rely on high school guidance counselors to get the help we need, for free?
A: High school counselors only have the resources and "mandate" to help in basic ways. As wonderful as high school counselors can be, if what you want is expert assistance with college admissions or college funding, you will need to seek that out elsewhere.
Q: Can you guarantee admission to a particular school?
A: No. What we can guarantee is that any student we assist will have a substantially greater likelihood of acceptance than would otherwise be the case.
Q: What's unique about your service, relative to others?
A: First, the credentials and experience of the director, who works personally with each student and family. Second, the ability of clients to purchase time at an affordable hourly rate on an as-needed basis, rather than commit themselves to a program with a price tag that is thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Third, the availability of a college funding solution, in addition to college admissions assistance, for qualified families.
Q: Where is the evidence that others are charging thousands of dollars for college admissions coaching packages?
A: Just Google "college admissions coaching" (type in these three words, without the quote marks, or a similar phrase) and click on some of the search results.
Q: What are your rates and fees?
A: Please email, describing your situation, for a custom quote.
Q: Can't we just get whatever financial assistance counseling we need from the financial aid offices of whatever colleges we are applying to?
A: Relying on the school's financial aid offices to assist you is analogous to asking the IRS to help you with your taxes. There is a definite conflict of interest. Just as the IRS would like you to pay more in taxes, so a college's financial aid office does not want to give you any more financial aid than absolutely necessary.
Q: You talk about negotiating with the school after we get an offer of financial aid. Is that really possible?
A: Absolutely, although the schools don't want you to know about this. In order to achieve maximum results, it's important that your academic applications be closely coordinated with your applications for financial aid. As the only service that addresses both the college admissions and college funding aspect, CollegeSolutionsUSA is uniquely positioned to help you with the total package.
Q: We as a family are almost certainly too affluent to qualify for scholarship money. Can you still help us?
A: The more affluent the family, in fact, the more we can help you. We will show you how to take care of tuition requirements on a tax-favored basis and pay for college without going broke.
Q: How many years of experience do you have with providing admissions assistance services?
A: More than 25 years. Time does fly!
Q: In general, what kind of success rate have you had?
A: Our success rate has been excellent. The level of client satisfaction is evident in the high rate of referrals we get.
Q: What sort of creative strategies are you able to employ?
A: We have a special program, for example, to help high school students get articles published while they are still in high school. This goes a long way toward making them stand out from the competition. (It also does wonders for self-esteem and encouragement.) Very few students are able to include a list of publications on their college applications. We have many more special techniques that we share with our clients.
Q: What are some of your success stories?
A: All client information is held in strict confidence. Unlike other high-profile admissions coaches, we do not ask any of our clients to accept media interviews, for the benefit of our own promotional efforts. Our high rate of word-of-mouth referral gives us all the clients we need.
Q: Can you provide me with references?
A: When we previously gave references, we encountered two main issues: First, clients were understandably reluctant to be identified as college coaching clients. Second, the people who insisted on references typically did not ultimately work out as clients. We will, however, be happy to provide you with the link to numerous reviews on Yelp. Just ask.
Q: What are your privacy and confidentiality policies?
A: Client information is not shared with anyone else and all information is held in strict confidence. We do not give out client information, nor do we pressure clients to serve as references.
Q: What services exactly do you offer?
A: In additional to admissions consulting/coaching on an hourly basis, we offer editing and revision of essays and personal statements (at both the graduate and undergraduate levels). We do thesis/dissertation consulting and revision. We offer interview training, for both academic admissions and employment scenarios. And we offer a complete range of services relating to college funding solutions: FAFSA & FAP answer keys, EFC calculation, SAR interpretation, financial award evaluation and negotiation and much more, as described elsewhere on this website. Most recently, we are involved in placement of international students in educational programs, at the high school, college and graduate levels.
Q: Do you offer any kind of career counseling and diagnostic tools, for helping students arrive at an idea of what they might like to do in life and set their goals?
A: Yes. We have an online interactive system that combines career counseling with college selection. This user-friendly program helps a student identify potential careers, based on skills and interests. This career profile tool is linked with a school selection tool, to match potential schools with a student's tentative career profile, factoring in a variety of other considerations, including geographic region, school size and more. It may be accessed at the student's leisure from any computer terminal with Internet access, using the account ID and password assigned to the student. A subscription may be purchased separately or included as part of a package. This program helps to round out our range of offerings, making it a truly complete set of college solutions.
Q: Isn't what you're doing, this kind of "gaming" the system, unethical?
A: This is an argument that is not entirely without merit. Is it fair that a student whose parents are more affluent and sophisticated has access to better resources than a student whose parents are less affluent and sophisticated? In our opinion, however, that is not so much a valid argument against the merits of college admissions coaching as it is a truism about life in general.
Q: Can you be available on evenings and weekends?
A: Yes, for the most part.
Q: Will you meet individually with just the student, no parents present, if requested?
A: We encourage parental participation in the process and prefer that at least one parent or guardian accompanies the student during all consultations. This serves a number of purposes, not the least of which is that it enables the parents to participate fully on an ongoing basis. On those occasions when the director meets individually with a student, a female aide is always present.
Q: How do I know your credentials are legitimate and how do I know you have a clean record?
A: Anyone is welcome to check academic credentials directly with the educational institutions in question. To be able to assist clients effectively with certain aspects of college funding, the director has obtained licenses as a notary public, as well as from the California Departments of Insurance and Real Estate. These various licensing processes all call for thorough background checks, through both state and federal agencies, including the FBI. This may be verified with the appropriate departments at the State of California (URLs to the online databases will be provided upon request).
Q: Will you accept as clients everyone who approaches you for your help or are you selective at all in choosing your clientele?
A: It would be a mistake to presume that everyone in a certain category is necessarily a good fit for a particular service, whether that be admissions coaching or something else. There are times when we come to the conclusion that the level of compatibility is not high enough to achieve a sufficiently successful collaboration. We reserve the right to make that decision.
Q: What are your criteria with regard to client selection?
A: We like to see students who seem internally motivated, rather than pushed by their parents, against their will. We like to see families with realistic expectations. We like to work with people who believe in mutual respect and understanding.
Q: What is your philosophy or approach with regard to the students you coach?
A: It's an educator's job to help bring out the best in a student, to help the student fully realize his or her own potential as a human being, and to protect the best interests of the student.
Q: How many clients do you have?
A: One advantage of the system we have implemented is flexibility. We don't take on students for a four-year term at $50,000 a head, like some other services. Therefore, there is no fixed number of students to whom we have specific ongoing commitments. Time is offered when it is available. In order to guarantee availability during peak seasons, appointments can be pre-scheduled.
Q: What about your college funding service: How exactly does that work?
A: For detailed information, please refer to the Financial Aid & College Funding page.
Q: Our son's grades are not very good and neither are his test scores. Is there still hope that he can get into a good school?
A: The simple answer to the question is, quite possibly, yes. An initial evaluation would probably be a good idea, to provide you with a professional assessment.
Q: Where are you physically located?
A: The standard location for in-person meetings is at our location in San Jose. The address and related instructions are given out after a meeting time has been set. Many meetings are conducted "virtually" (online), using a combination of Google Drive and a voice connection. So it doesn't really matter where you happen to be physically located.
Still have a question, not answered by this FAQ? You are welcome to submit it by email, for possible inclusion in the list here. Email us at: info@CollegeSolutionsUSA.com.
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