You’re likely looking for a list of the colleges and universities our clients plan on attending this coming year or a longer inventory of where they’ve been accepted.  The information is plastered on nearly every educational consulting website.  

An acceptance to a dream school is the direct result of a journey that started sometime in middle school, maybe much earlier.  Developing study habits and communication skills, learning to balance extracurriculars with academics, and dedicating time for wellness and personal enrichment are components of this journey.  

That virtuoso likely started building his profile when he was roughly 8 or 9, taking years of music lessons, performing at recitals, and doing homework in the car.  The softball player that has dreams of being a doctor spent hundreds of hours throwing the ball each year and conducting science experiments in the garage.  Consultants cannot change the events and experiences that eventually become components of an applicant’s profile.  We work diligently to compile information, with a particularistic focus on each school, and help students package it for submission.  The luckiest consultants, like us, get to work on the only component of an application where students truly get to shine and convey the remarkable people they are.  The essay.

Our clients have matriculated at  D1, D2, and D3 athletic schools.  We’ve sent them off to the actual Ivy League, as well as the public, hidden, and little ivies.  They have attended small, private, liberal-arts schools, and some of the most respected research institutions.  We don’t draw attention to this information because it reduces a student’s efforts to a byline while simultaneously appropriating their accomplishments.  It simply doesn’t feel right.  Is it our accomplishment or theirs?  Can you find it on our homepage?  Sure.  Are we going to boast about it?  No.

Don’t fall into the trap of mistaking correlation for causality.  Simply put, having those colleges on our website does not guarantee acceptances for any of our future clients.  The only thing the list reveals is that we work with some pretty remarkable teens, who have some mix of good grades and standardized test scores, strong letters of recommendation, and interesting extracurriculars.  And their essays were on point.

The truth is, consultants play a rather significant role in an extremely small portion of this undertaking.  We enter very late in the process and cannot fix academic blunders, change extracurriculars, or rewrite recommendation letters.  These young adults have spent years evolving into a whole person, who is entirely different from any other client we have…past, present, or future.  

Our former clients gladly serve as references and speak to potential families about our methodology, the experience of working with us, and their outcomes.  To us, connecting former and potential clients allows parents, caregivers, and students the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of what we do, how we do it, and why our services are so vital in a process that is riddled with unknowns and complexities.

Everyone has heard stories of the local brainiac that scored a 1450 on the SAT, has a 4.2 weighted GPA, and didn’t get into the big state school, while others, with a lower SAT or GPA, did.  The reason this happens is because of a number of factors, many of which are left shrouded by curtains hanging in the ivory tower.  

Imagine putting a puzzle together that comes in a box with no picture on the front to use as a frame of reference.   The puzzle, when completed, fits 15,900 pieces, but 43,090 came in the box.  These numbers are equal to applicants and admitted students of UGA‘s class of 2028. You unpack the pieces inside the box, flip them over making sure they are all face-up, and they are without design.  

For obvious reasons, the border of the puzzle is the easiest to put together, and it represents each school’s maximum number of admits.  Because there is no image on the front of the box to use as a guide and the pieces are also blank, puzzlers must engage in the arduous process of piecing everything together based on fit.  Piece by piece, and certain pieces just don’t fit with others.  Clusters of pieces begin forming in different areas of the puzzle.  Your student is one of the puzzle pieces being looked at for how well they fit with the other pieces.  

Each institution also has parameters within which its incoming student body must, as a whole, fit.  Again, this is the border of the puzzle.  Perhaps one school is focusing on endowments and increasing enrollment in particular departments, while another is working within the constraints of state funding cuts, decreasing enrollment in a particular department, with a focus on building a better athletics program.  In this sense, your student is assessed based upon how well they fit within the border of the puzzle.  

Many people disregard that fit is also relative to the rest of the students applying at the same time.  A student might be accepted one year and declined the next simply because of something unknown to the applicant.  Where a student sits in relation to other applicants based upon their GPA, SAT, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and essay cannot be understated.  This process is organic and alive, with dynamics that change over time.  

Remember, schools are building a student body, which is an organic and living entity.  They are not admitting singular students.  The reality of today’s college admissions landscape puts significant pressure on students to have the best grades, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation.  Just be the best, which is a pretty abstruse goal.  But what about you?  What’s best for you?  

Before families have stepped foot on a college campus, some have already picked a dream school.  They are focused on nothing but that coveted acceptance letter.  It becomes an object of obsession.  Tucked away in their heads is this notion that a specific acceptance is the end-all-be-all, and many will reject all other offers for admission based solely upon their perceptions, which is a huge mistake.  

Because society equates a person’s worth with the academic prestige, exclusivity, or athletic recognition of the school they attend, students and families disregard subjective aspects of this process.  They rule out schools that could provide a remarkable education simply because it’s not the place they’ve dreamed of.  It is essential to consider learning styles, faculty-to-student ratios, campus technological integrations, class size, vibe of the campus (yes, vibe), location, proximity to areas and people of significance, religious practices and preferences, culture off campus, mental and physical health, neurodivergence, personality, food choices, transportation and living arrangements, crime statistics, graduation rates, debt upon graduation, return on investment, and so much more.  

The financial cost of matriculating at the wrong school is as hefty as the toll on time, resources, and the mental and physical health of all involved. In simpler terms: make all-encompassing choices, based on the whole student.   This process should not be about being offered admission at a specific school; it should be about finding and attending the right school.  Fit goes both ways.

Where do you fit?