How to Become an Admissions Consultant

Higher education applications involve essays, deadlines, interviews over the course of months or a year. Many busy students are overwhelmed by the process, unsure of what colleges and universities will give the best education and value. Applying to top tier colleges and graduate schools can be especially daunting, which is why higher education admissions consultants are hired to help students with the application process. These consultants work hard, especially in August through January, helping students to pick the best programs and improve their chances of being admitted to colleges. The admissions consultant career path requires a college degree and work experience, as well as a patient attitude and teaching aptitude. Read more to find out how to become an admissions consultant.


  1. Image titled Become an Admissions Consultant Step 1
    Obtain a bachelor's degree. Admissions consultants work with people applying for college, so it is a requirement that the consultant has successfully applied for a school of their choice. Consider a degree in business, psychology, counseling or human resources.
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    Obtain a graduate degree. If you know that you want to help students applying for graduate programs, then it is helpful to have experience in those programs. You can return to this step if you want to help people applying for bachelor's degrees in the beginning and move on to more stringent graduate application processes in the future.
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    Apply for a job working with students who are applying for college. Many high schools, community colleges and private firms hire people to help young students choose their college track. A few years of refreshing the different issues faced when applying for college will help you to qualify for consulting work.
    • Develop your communication skills. You should learn to be patient with students who are frustrated or unsure of their future. You and the student will need to develop a story about the student's life. You can help the student to develop a message that they will communicate in essays and in interviews.
    • Develop your teaching skills. Part of college admissions consulting is teaching a student to handle the process in a timely manner. Many consultants teach students to write college essays, which can help them throughout their college career.
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    Apply for a job in a college admissions department. Many admissions consultants were previously employed by colleges or universities. This experience may allow you to command a higher wage, because you are experienced in vetting applications according to college guidelines.
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    Join a professional organization, such as the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) or National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC). You will receive pertinent industry information and you can be connected to potential clients or training programs.
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    Take an admissions counseling training program. Organizations like HECA and the University of California run training programs on admissions counseling. A training program will cement the knowledge you have gained through experience and highlight the best ways to work with students.
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    Look for a job with an admissions consulting firm. More and more private firms are getting into the college admissions market. They may offer a number of positions, starting with lower degrees and moving up to law, medical or other specialized graduate degrees.
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    Consider becoming a contractor. Some admissions counselors work part-time and are self-employed. Check with HECA or NACAC to see if you can list your services on their site and consult local high schools about posting your services.
    • Choose several payment options. Some admissions consultants ask students or families to pay a flat fee for specific services. Your fee may total into the thousands if you are offering a complete admissions solution. You may also have an hourly fee for smaller jobs and provide a discount to low-income families.
    • Possible services you may want to include are interviews with families, college research, writing help, admissions essay proofing, deadline reminders, mock interviews and more.
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    Develop a referral network. If you plan to be a private consultant, then try to develop a relationship with families, schools and teachers. You can offer discounts to people who refer students to your business.


  • Never promise a student that they will get into a school. A college admissions consultant cannot guarantee placement into a specific program. Make sure that the students and families know that and apply to more than 1 school.

Things You'll Need

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate degree (optional)
  • College counseling experience
  • Communication skills
  • Job in college admissions department
  • HECA or NACAC membership
  • Admissions consultant training program

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Categories: Consultancy Freelance and Contracting