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# Admission Consultant vs. Campus Visits (Where to spend $$?)  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics Author Message TAGS: ### Hide Tags Intern Joined: 28 Jun 2012 Posts: 2 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0 Admission Consultant vs. Campus Visits (Where to spend$$$?) [#permalink] ### Show Tags 28 Jun 2012, 21:06 Hi all, I'm contemplating whether to hire an admission consultant (eg Veritas Prep or Stacy Blackman or MBA Mission). If you had to choose, would you rather invest money on one of those, or spend on quite a few (say, 5-8) campus visits across the country? Here's my thinking: a consultant will probably cost like$5-7k and I may well get my money's worth! But I also wonder if I could simply rely on the wisdom of others and use, say, half that amount toward visits where I can build up a credible roster of on-campus experiences to draw upon in my essays (vs essays that, while professionally edited, draw upon tidbits sourced online, via emails with students, etc.).

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08 Jul 2012, 11:19
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As others have stated, it depends.

The number of people who use consulting services at top business schools is suprisingly high. Speaking with a few Tuck alums, they did an informal poll with a number of their classmates and found that roughly 50% of the admitted students used some form of consulting services. I imagine many of those who did not had insight from friends/peers as to the admissions process and what works well.

I think campus visits are an absolute must to find the schools that are good fits for you. I also think a good consultant can help ensure that you are telling your best story possible at the schools you want to apply to. If I had to do the admissions process over again, I would have used a consultant. I have no doubt my acceptance rate would have been higher and I likely would not have applied to certain schools.
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02 Jul 2012, 02:56
Campus visits without a doubt.

Nothing will help you understand a school as well as a campus visit will. Apart from the standard info provided during a campus visit, which in any case is useful, the real gems will come out from your interactions with current students. These finer points will really help you craft your applications better.

Besides, the feel of the school that you get from a campus visit will help you develop a lot of clarity as to whether or not you would like to join that school if offered an admission. Having this clarity before applying is much better than getting accepted to a school and then having the dilemma of whether to attend the school or not.

Working with an admissions consultant will not help you in any of these things. If you're confident of the content of your essays and are only apprehensive about the grammatical quality, you could easily hire an essay editing service that will cost you far far lesser than a consultant would.
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05 Jul 2012, 11:30
This is piling on, but I would definitely recommend campus visits. I'll add some value by recommending that you thoroughly research the school and come prepared with thoughtful questions for the tour. Talk to students, observe a class, pick up a copy of the school newspaper, and take plenty of notes. This is all great material for your essays. I went on several tours and very few people actually do any of this stuff. To the extent there were questions other than mine, people asked about stupid stuff like grade nondisclosure.

You may also come away with a totally different impression of a school than you had before. I crossed a very highly ranked school off my list after visiting because I just really didn't like anything I saw there.

Finally, my personal opinion would be to spend your money on a trip to Vegas before giving it to an admissions consultant.
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Re: Admission Consultant vs. Campus Visits (Where to spend $$?) [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 Jul 2012, 12:33 Hello, I created an account just to answer this question! So my answer: well it depends. If you have a number one school that you HAVE to get into, then I would say spend the money on a consultant. Particularly, if that school is Harvard or Stanford (assuming you have the type of profile they like). If you have a list of schools that are mid-tier and you aren't sure which ones you like then I'd say the school visits. A lot of schools like Columbia and Haas are concerned about their yield, so they want to admit students who are very keen and show some understanding about that school's peculiarities (i.e. profs, classes, etc.). H+S don't care about that stuff so much since their yield is high already. However, if you can find alumni to talk to or you do enough web research, you can skip the visits. This website recently had a thread on impressions after school visits that was very detailed (sorry, I don't know how to link threads). I did both school visits and the consultant. The school visits pointed out things I didn't like about schools more than things I did like. But that's pretty useless for the application where you want to talk about what you do like but it did help me re-evaluate my order of pref. My no. 1 & no. 2 still stayed in place however. The consultant was very useful. (I used Sandy). He basically told me what it is about MY specific profile that my no. 1 school would like, which is what made all the difference in my apps. Frankly, I found that more useful, than visiting the school and trying to extrapolate what they like based on what I saw. Also worth noting, you can visit the schools after an admit and then decide. Personally, I felt that with the web, there are so many resources available that school visits aren't always necessary. A nice to do maybe but they won't make or break you. A GOOD consultant, on the other hand, can guide you if you don't have a lot of MBA-types around you that can help. Senior Manager Joined: 15 May 2011 Posts: 277 Location: Costa Rica Concentration: Healthcare, International Business GMAT 1: 710 Q42 V45 GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V42 GPA: 3.3 WE: Research (Consulting) Followers: 13 Kudos [?]: 107 [0], given: 134 Re: Admission Consultant vs. Campus Visits (Where to spend$$$?) [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2012, 08:14 alphabear1 wrote: Hello, I created an account just to answer this question! So my answer: well it depends. If you have a number one school that you HAVE to get into, then I would say spend the money on a consultant. Particularly, if that school is Harvard or Stanford ............. nice to do maybe but they won't make or break you. A GOOD consultant, on the other hand, can guide you if you don't have a lot of MBA-types around you that can help. I would agree more with alphabear who takes more a devil's advocate approach. Also, I'm an international student but am combining a trip the firm is paying for to the US, taking a break after, and paying for my domestic travel/hotel myself (I know that doesn't help most international students out, but it took a lot of maneuvering!) I'm in the exact same position right now, deciding on consultants VS visits. Some insights I've gleaned from a friend in Wharton and 4 alumni I've spoken to within McKinsey & Co. regarding this topic: 1) 2 out of 5 used consultants - HOWEVER, the one's that did not had very strong peer review support. And by that I mean peers/family in the industry who could spend quality time editing those essays. I personally do not have that. On the contrary, a Haas alumni mentioned that schools can "smell tailored essays from a mile away", just to keep that in mind. 2) Get one done - My plan since I have very low savings: Get one (MAXIMUM 2) essays paid for, even that's a ton. Save the rest for campus visits. 3) Free half hour consult - Both StacyBlackman and Precission Essay have free half hour consults. Register and speak to a consultant and have very specific questions to ask them. I did both. Ask for that consultant again if you really liked them and decide to pay. 4) Reference for discount - Not so important, but every$ counts, get referred by a friend who's used that service, I'm getting 15% off. I know, on like $3000 not exactly big savings, but why not.. The Wharton fellow paid for 5 schools with Stacy Blackman, that's a crazy$15K I think. I don't have that kind of cash, but he said it was definitely worth it as they really helped him crack essential points to better understand his essays where as his prior effort was shallow.

Good luck my friend, I'm beginning the campus visits in September and will apply in R2 to all my schools. Would love to know any body else's insights on this topic and if they would like to connect in the US, message me!
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