By Kofi Kankam, Admit Advantage
As we enter the season of your favorite schools releasing their applications, many of you may be asking a question we hear frequently: “Why do I need an admissions consultant to help get me in?”
You may be surprised to hear my response: “You don’t need one. But you probably would benefit from using a good one.”
Do you absolutely need a coat in the winter? Nope. But, you know that knowing smile that someone wearing a super-warm goose feather has in a full-on winter storm? That person is never unhappy. And applicants who use an exceptional admissions coach usually have that same smile of inner peace.
Seriously, here are few reasons to consider finding yourself a good admissions consultant to help you get on campus at your dream school.
Knowledge and Muscle Memory
A coach who has seen hundreds or thousands of candidates from a variety of backgrounds, professions, nationalities and perspectives can offer an applicant a true compass on effective structures of persuasion as well as ones that fall on their faces.
Knowing how to leverage stories, accomplishments and personal characteristics into a cohesive narrative across essays, letters of recommendation, resumes, and data portions of applications takes time. Good admissions consultants have built-in muscle memory you can tap into.
Honesty in Ways Nobody Else Has
Don’t expect your mother, your best friend, your partner or your Friday night crew to be critical (enough) of you in this process. Especially when they know the odds of getting into your dream schools are statistically tough.
But the honest critique of a paid supporter will compel you to address weaknesses that give you a viable shot at getting into your dream program as opposed to excusing blemishes that will likely keep you out.
While it can be hard to give objective and sometimes harsh (and accurate) feedback about someone you have known for awhile and care deeply about, admissions coaches have no such qualms. It’s not that we don’t love you. But tough love is our business. Literally. And administered correctly, it can be quite good for you.
Structure for Days
For days…a good…er…great admissions consultant will be equipped with a robust process that will exhume your finest points and mitigate your most crippling weaknesses. He will focus on how to harness the 20 minutes you have during a weekday, while giving you the undervalued ability to avoid writer’s block of any kind.
He will give you a compass (and a shove) to start along a well-lighted path and ensure you don’t falter or quit in the dark of indecisiveness.
How? Because the process will be outlined. It will have been architected before you even started. The good ones will know where you’re most likely to get a bit wobbly and they’ll be there to steer you through this period.
You’ll have peace of mind in the security that you’re putting your best foot forward in an admissions world of great opaqueness.
And the benefit of working in a modular manner with a leading advisor will help you be efficient and get your applications out to more programs for round one and round two alike.
Intuitive Knowledge, Personal Relationships
The base of inner knowledge on a business school program is three-pronged and quite helpful for you if used correctly.
Your admissions consultant likely went to a top-tier MBA program, has friends who are attending or are alumni of many of your target schools, and has placed candidates there.
So, she’s got a little “inside baseball” that can make your application more reflective of the culture and give the admissions committee more confidence that you’re actually going to matriculate if you’re accepted—and have an outsized impact there.
That foundation can yield a better result than your hours of looking through the website and speaking to a few current students a few weeks or months before you apply.
These reasons partly explain why great admissions companies like ours with AdmitAdvantage have consistently helped candidates gain entry into great MBA programs and often with scholarship money.
I’m not remotely stating that you need an admissions consultant to get into an MBA program. Walk away—in fact, run away—from anyone who dares engage in such stupidity. However, I am suggesting that the correct selection and usage of one can give you a decided admit advantage (see what I did there? So impressive) when you do make that push.
Think I’m crazy, insightful or just plain fascinating? Let’s discuss your admissions candidacy (or swap stories about the craziest thing you’ve seen in the admissions process).
Never Apply Alone.
Kofi Kankam is the cofounder and CEO of Admitadvantage.com and Admit.me. An alumnus of Harvard (AB, MEd) and Wharton (MBA), he is excited to have paid off his loans before he turned 100 years old. A member of recruiting and leadership efforts for both universities, he is often found rooting on his Cavs and trying to re-assemble things he should have never dared taken apart before his wife finds out.