1. Do students who work with CCA counselors get in to their #1 choice?

When counselors meet students and families they create a balanced list of Reach, Target, and Probable (Backup) colleges based on the student’s credentials. They help students and parents understand what a student’s chances are at the colleges that interest them, and what they can do to enhance their chances of admission. Deciding which colleges are at the top of a student’s list, and what their realistic chances are at these schools, is a process that evolves over time. At the end of the process over 90% of the students who work with CCA counselors have gotten into a school that is one of their top choices.

2. How do you determine a student’s chances at a college? On what do you base your qualifications of Reach, Target and Backup?
At CCA we maintain our own database of colleges across the country and update the statistics, such as average GPA, test scores, and percent accepted, according to recent information published by the colleges. To this we add our years of anecdotal experience working with students. We maintain our own Naviance account where we keep track of over ten years of data of accepted students—to watch trends and offer comparisons to applicants. We also help families interpret the Naviance scattergrams from their own high schools—an important tool for the student to directly compare their scores and grades to applicants from their high school.

3. What is unique about College Counseling Associates?
With four counselors in the same office, each family can find their best fit while benefiting from shared office wisdom. Our counselors have been working in this field for many years and have experience helping all types of students—with different academic needs, levels, and expectations. We draw from our experience to help our students formulate their best approach to the application process.

4. What is the difference between hourly counseling and the comprehensive program?
For students on the program, we manage the overall process, whereas with hourly students we act as consultants. We can work on any application element during an hourly appointment, but the aspect of overall project management is what defines the comprehensive program. Students who work with us on an hourly basis contact us when they want to come in for fine-tuning and troubleshooting of specific areas. At the end of the appointment our counselors let them know what they still need to work on. Program students have appointments on a regular basis and we closely monitor their progress to make sure they are on track. They also receive priority scheduling during the busy fall season.

5. Do students work individually with the same counselor each time they come in?

6. Do you have experience with the essays?
Each counselor works with her own students on the writing process. This is one of the most complex aspects of the application and we help students understand and navigate their way through it. We spend time brainstorming topics that will highlight a student’s best attributes and guide them through the editing, evaluation, and polishing stages. Because of our experience we are familiar with the expectations and philosophies of each college and help students keep these in mind as they address the prompts.

7. Do you write essays for kids?
We do not write essays for students. We help them step by step as they brainstorm, edit, and polish their essays.

8. Do you work with home-schooled students?
We understand that, while homeschooled students have taken a different path, their high school credentials must still meet the standard requirements. We can advise these students about what additional steps they may want to take to be strong applicants, including Subject and AP tests, and extracurricular involvement.

9. Will CCA counselors write students’ letter of recommendation?
No, that has to be done by high school personnel.

10. Do your counselors visit colleges?
Our counselors have visited and are familiar with schools all over the country; we have seen over 350 campuses. Additionally, we can guide students to certain international options.

11. My teen is anxious about the application process but reluctant to seek help. How would you handle this?
We understand the challenges of this process; it is a time of transition and many teenagers find it very stressful. In our experience, once students meet with us and witness CCA’s welcoming atmosphere and safe environment, they realize that, with our help, this is a manageable process. All of our staff, from our office managers to our tutors and counselors, are focused on helping our teenage clients feel comfortable.