What’s a College Preparation Service?

A college preparation service is a specific type of counseling or guidance service that focuses on helping high school students successfully navigate the college admissions process.

For high school students, applying to college can be overwhelming and stressful and that’s not surprising. Not only is the college application process long and confusing, but it is also very precise. One seemingly insignificant mistake can cost a student admission into the school of their choice. College preparation services guide students through every step of the admission process.

What Does a College Preparation Service Do?

What college preparation services do is help students understand their strengths, skills and potential while empowering them to make sound, objective decisions. They also help students put together strong applications that increase their chances of getting into a college that’s a good fit for them. Students who have used a college preparation service develop important critical thinking skills and learn to make informed choices based on research and facts instead of emotion.

What a college preparation service does not do is get students into college. They do not have any connection or clout with any college’s admissions committee, and they do not guarantee that students will get admission into any specific college.

What Can You Expect from a College Preparation Service?

College preparation services offer their services through a series of presentations, group classes, personalized sessions, and workshops. They are all aimed towards helping students succeed personally and academically.

While every college preparation service offers a different set of services, most cover some combination of these services:

  • College exploration workshops
  • One-on-one advising sessions
  • Comprehensive assessment of academic record and test reports
  • Evaluation and assistance with regard to extracurricular activities
  • Evaluation of every student’s personality, aptitude and learning style for tailored guidance related to best-fit majors and career potential
  • Help create a balanced shortlist of safety, reach, and match schools. Built based on student’s academic profile, interests, and overall fit
  • Enrichment opportunities
  • Essay writing coaching with essay reviews
  • Resume development and presentation with resume review and feedback
  • Individualized application time-lines with milestones and deadlines based on the schools the student is applying to
  • College interview prep

Most college preparation services invite parents to meet up with them to discuss their child’s progress.

Are College Prep Services Worth It?

The transition from high school to college is a huge leap and it can be especially overwhelming for students who are the first in their family to go to college. If you don’t have older siblings who have gone to college, then a college preparation service can help you make this transition more smoothly. It’s not just limited to college application. You’ll also learn a lot of valuable soft skills along the way such as organizational, critical thinking, and time-management skills.

Start by exploring the various college preparation services in your area and find how much they cost and what’s included in their fees. Ultimately, your decision will come down to whether or not it is affordable.

If you aren’t sure you are ready for a college preparation service, but want to explore colleges, our College Match Tool is a great place to start. Start building your list of criteria of what you want in a college. Then you can determine and compare a comprehensive list of schools that are right for you.