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Parents Countdown to College Coach: Is It Worth It?

Last updated 05/31/2022 by

Erin Gobler

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A college coach, such as Parents Countdown to College Coach, can help you navigate the college admissions process if you find it too complicated or confusing on your own. However, not everyone needs to hire one to get into a good school.
Preparing for college can be a daunting time for high school students and their parents. Good schools have become increasingly competitive, meaning students must do more to stand out when they apply. And given the rising costs of college, it’s no surprise the entire process brings anxiety to families all over the country.
Given the pressure put on students and their families to get into good colleges, many turn to professionals to give them a better shot. In addition to assisting the student, most coaches focus on helping parents navigate the college maze higher education has become. In this article, we’ll talk about what college coaches do, how much they cost, and whether they’re really worth it to help your teen — or yourself — get into a good school.

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What is a college coach?

A college coach — also known as an independent education consultant or college admissions consultant — is a professional whose job is to help students prepare for, apply to, and get into college. College coaches are usually very familiar with the college application process, whether because they’ve been through this themselves or because they worked in college admissions themselves.
College coaches can come in several forms. Some are individuals who work one-on-one with college applicants and their families. In other cases, a college coach might offer a coaching course or package that many families can take at once.

Parents Countdown to College Coach

One of the leading examples of this type of college coaching program is the “Parenting for College Crash Course” offered by Parents Countdown to College Coach. This course helps families with college prep by:
  • Walking them through the college admissions process
  • Providing templates and spreadsheets families can use to stay organized
  • Directing families to the best resources they’ll need along the way
  • Helping college-bound teens choose the right college
  • Helping teens make their application stand out among the rest
  • Teaching families how to navigate the financial aid process
While it may not be as personal as working directly with a coach, courses like these have helped to make the college coaching industry more accessible to families around the country.

What college coaches do

The job of a college coach is to help families through the entire admissions process, starting before they’ve applied to their first school and finishing once the student has decided which college to attend. They can help families apply to both private and public colleges, but some may specialize in a certain type of school.
Though the exact help you may receive differs depending on the coach you hire, college coaches can assist in three major areas of the college application process:
  1. Making the applicant stand out. One of the primary jobs of a college coach is to help college-bound teens stand out during the application process. But this goes above and beyond just showing someone what to highlight on their application. They may also help them find activities to add to their resumes, from volunteer activities to extracurriculars.
  2. Best schools to apply for. College coaches help students decide which schools to apply for. They can give students a realistic idea of what schools they can get into, as well as help them pick their reach schools versus safety schools. And once they’ve narrowed down their list of schools, the college coach can help students meet all the requirements for the application and admissions.
  3. Financial aid process. Many college coaches also help students navigate the financial process of paying for school. They are likely to be well-versed in the federal financial aid process, as well as where to find scholarships.
In many ways, college coaches fill some of the same roles as high school guidance counselors. Of course, school counselors have their attention split between many students and can’t give each one as much undivided attention. Because you’re personally paying a college coach, you can trust you’ll get more personal advice and attention.

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How much do college coaches cost?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how much you can expect to pay for a college coach. Primarily because the pricing of coaches varies so much.
On the low end, courses and toolkits like the ones we mentioned earlier are the most affordable option. Many cost less than $100, while others may cost a couple of hundred dollars.
But when it comes to hiring a one-on-one college coach, expect the price tag to be far higher. According to a study from the Independent Educational Consultants Association, hourly rates for college coaches range from $85 to $350 per hour, with the average being about $200. When it comes to comprehensive packages, costs can start at around $850 and go as high as $10,000.
In general, the more experienced your college coach and the more personalized the service they provide, the more you’ll pay to work with them.

Pro Tip

If you aren’t sure if a one-on-one college coach is right for you, consider starting with a lower-priced course to see if that provides you with all the information you need. If not, you can always enlist the help of a coach as well.

Why a college coach might be a good idea

College has become increasingly competitive, and some families might find that a college coach is the best way to ensure their child gets into a good college. It might be worth hiring a college coach if you don’t have the time, knowledge, or ability to research the college admissions process on your own. You may also decide it’s the right choice if you’ve never navigated the system before and want the help of an expert.
A college coach could also be worth the money if your child is planning to apply to high-profile schools like Harvard or Yale. Those schools are far more competitive than most state schools, and you can bet that many of the families applying will have help in their corner.

Pro Tip

If you’re considering hiring a college coach, don’t sign on with the first one you find. Research the best coaches to find out that’s familiar with the schools you’re applying to and feels like the best fit for you.

Why you may not need a college coach

The good news is that an expensive college coach isn’t necessary to get your child into a good school. There’s plenty of information available online about the admissions process, and much of it is either free or very low-priced. If you have the time and ability to research, you can find much of the information that a college coach will provide.
Whether you want to hire a college coach may also depend on how hands-on your high school’s guidance counselor is. Many schools have wonderful counselors who help students through this very process, making it unnecessary to pay for a coach.

How do I find a college coach?

You can find a college coach through a word-of-mouth referral, on social media, or even through a simple Google search. Many coaches have their own websites you can visit to get additional information on the services they provide and the expected costs you may have to pay.

Can college coaches help with admission?

Yes, college coaches can help students get admitted to schools. However, a college coach alone isn’t enough — the student must have a resume, GPA, and other characteristics that meet the school’s requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • A college coach is a professional who helps high school students and their families through the college application process.
  • Families can work with college coaches in many ways, including through one-on-one service or by purchasing an online course.
  • College coaches generally charge between $85 and $350 per hour, with packages often costing thousands of dollars.
  • A college coach may increase your chances of admission if you don’t feel comfortable doing the research yourself, but they aren’t necessarily for everyone.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a Wisconsin-based personal finance writer with experience writing about mortgages, investing, taxes, personal loans, and insurance. Her work has been published in major outlets, such as SuperMoney, Fox Business, and

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