Admissions Consultants and Application Advisors: Why Should You Ask Them for Help?. General Admissions.  

Admissions Consultants and Application Advisors: Why Should You Ask Them for Help?

 “Current situation”

I used to see a lot of articles saying that the value of higher education is decreasing and that these days, you don’t need college degree to achieve success.

However, if you look at the statistics for well-known schools, acceptance rates will show you a totally different side of the picture and offer you some insight into just how competitive admittance to university currently is.

For example, according to Harvard, the class of 2022 had an acceptance rate of only 4.59%. Compare that to the previous year’s rate, which was 5.2%. According to the University’s representative, “This year’s acceptance rate is the lowest in the history of the College. This year’s rate also marks the fourth consecutive year in which the percentage of applicants admitted has decreased.” The situation at Stanford is similar: out of 47,450 applications, only 2,040 high school students were enrolled, making the acceptance rate 4.29%. For Stanford, this is also the lowest rate in the University’s history.

When considering applying for graduate courses at business schools, you should prepare for the same situation: for the 2019 entering class Harvard has a 11% acceptance rate. Stanford’s is only 5.1%. This makes application to the higher educational institutions extremely competitive, and the smallest mistake could cost you your place. For this reason, when preparing for such an important move in your life, you should consult with professionals who know how to maximize your chances of being accepted.

Independent Consultant vs.School Admissions Consultant

There are two different types of consultants: external and internal experts. The first category comprises those external experts who can help you to build your admission strategy starting from the day you make up your mind to apply. These professionals belong to private consultant companies, and they advise you on to prepare the entire package of documents, interviews, and exams in a way that will be satisfying for the Admissions Office. Closely cooperating with the consultant, you will learn what should be mentioned in your essay, how best to present your thoughts, and how to convince the Admissions Officers that you are the student they need.

School Admissions Consultants, on the other hand, are professionals who are a part of the individual school’s Admissions Office, and their job is to help applicants and prospective students by addressing any questions they have. You can ask them anything regarding the university, the program, the teaching staff, finances, etc. – anything and everything that relates to the university you are applying to.

Both of these specialists are professionals whose job is to maximize your chances of acceptance. “So, what is the difference between them, and who should I address?” – you might ask. And here is the answer.

Independent Consultant

You should address independent (or private) consultants when you are in the initial stages of applying to an institution of higher education. Browsing the internet and studying the information about each university, then evaluating your profile and estimating your chances of success, is quite a complicated and time-consuming process. People who have worked for years as application advisors need only a glance at your profile to understand what schools are suitable for you. They have seen countless profiles, and witnessed hundreds of clients being admitted; they possess invaluable knowledge about what sort of student profiles are preferred by different schools.

Private education consultants can prepare the most accurate evaluation of your profile and help you identify the programs that are the best fit for you. Independent admissions consultants will create you a strategy for your next steps and give an honest opinion if it is the right moment your you to apply or it is better to spend a year on improving your profile.

Independent consultants can also closely cooperate with you when you start working on your application documents. For your CV, personal statement, and references, they can share their knowledge: how to prepare each document, what should be included, how to present the information, and how to impress the Admissions Office and make them believe you are the student they need.

What you should know

There are a many independent education consultancy offices, and all of them promise to help you maximize your chances of acceptance. However, there is no admissions consultant that can guarantee you 100% acceptance. Your acceptance depends on many factors, such as your GPA, that cannot be changed. This also applies to your GMAT test score, IELTS (for some foreign students), your reference letters, and your prior life and work experience. No consultant knows what other prospective students will be applying each year; there could always be so many outstanding applicants that they give no chance to those with slightly weaker profiles.

School Admissions Consultants and Application Advisors

School Admissions Consultants are the university’s representatives, and communication with them should be initiated only when you have diligently studied all the information on the university’s website but still have some questions. Do not neglect to browse the university’s website and read about its mission and main values. Check ‘Academics’ and familiarize yourself with all the information presented on the website of the program of your interest. This includes the study curriculum, class profile, admissions requirements, and prerequisites. Download a brochure, take a look at FA,Q and read the statements from recent graduates. Only after checking all of the information available should you contact the school consultant. If you live nearby and have the opportunity to visit the campus, you might consider meeting the Admission Officers in person.

Do not neglect to communicate with the admissions officers. As well as receiving answers about matters that were unclear, by doing so, you create a first impression about yourself and establish a relationship with the school. For the initial contact, send your CV and ask for a pre-assessment. Ask if the chosen program is suitable for you or if the Admissions Office can suggest something more relevant. Ask them about your concerns. Do you have a gap in your career history and are wondering if it is okay? Contact the Admissions Office. Is something unclear regarding the curriculum? Ask them to explain it to you. Is your Bachelor’s degree is not 100% relevant to the Master’s degree you have chosen? Consult them about whether it decreases your chances of acceptance. Is there some ambiguity about the application form? Clarify with them how to fill everything in correctly.

Importance of staying in communication with the Admissions Office

During MBA Strategy’s 15 years of education consultancy practice, there have been many cases when communication with the Admissions Office helped our clients. Here are a few recent examples:

Mr. A was targeting his dream EMBA program for the past six months. Aiming only for the Said Business School from Oxford University, he had already prepared all the required documents for the program. When he contacted the Admissions Office, the representative suggested that he take a look at the newly launched program for executives. After investigating the program, Mr. A found it to be “an ideal match”. He quickly adjusted his documents and was successfully admitted. He graduated and was very satisfied with the choice that he made according to the Oxford representative’s advice.

Ms. B had been dreaming of the London Business School’s EMBA for the past few years. When there was finally a sufficient ‘window’ in her work schedule for the program, it turned out that it was too late to apply for that year. Without hesitation, she contacted the Admissions Office, sent her CV, and explained the situation. Within a few days, she received a response: she was given an additional 6 days to prepare and submit her documents.

As you see from the examples above, communication with the Admissions Officers can help your cause significantly. They have access to ‘insider’ information that nobody else possesses. Contact the school advisors and make sure you are applying to the right school, and and won’t regret it later!

MBA Strategy is an admissions consulting company with over 15 years of experience assisting talented candidates to become students of the world’s top business schools. Our achievements:

• 1,000 customers with 700+ GMAT scores

• Over 500 students admitted to top US and European business schools


Anna Tokarieva is an MBA Strategy consultant. She is an expert in school selection, profile assessment, brainstorming, and polishing application essays.


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Author: Victoria Dudka, MBA Strategy Consultants Team Lead

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