Opinions please on service academy college admissions coaches

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by bringbacknelsoncruz, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. bringbacknelsoncruz

    bringbacknelsoncruz Member

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    Hello.

    Does anybody have experience with a service academy college admissions coach/service?

    A quick search of the internet turns up a few companies. Go to their websites and one will feel as if one would be a fool NOT to use (and pay dearly for) their support and guidance.

    Or am I just a sucker for a well written pitch?
    "XXXXX COMPANY personally coaches the student, focuses on the individual, formulates a personally tailored strategy, and actively guides the student through the process to help them earn their Service Academy admissions...."

    It is a pretty grand goal that they have! On the one hand it is a bit ridiculous because the academies accept so few students and the kids will get in on their merit and not, I imagine, because an essay is tweaked and made better. On the other hand, we (I) feel pretty alone in this and confused.

    Would love to hear feedback.
     
  2. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    I have never heard of companies like this before, and would be interested to hear some of our experienced members' advice on such unconventional businesses.

    At the same time, though, I have to wonder: even if these companies' tactics are legitimate and reputable, why consult (and pay for) one of these instead of an ALO/BGO/etc.? I can't imagine that a company would be more current on admissions procedures than an actual admissions representative.

    Again, will be interested to hear others' opinions as well.
     
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    My first reaction is that candidates should work with their ALO, rather than pay for some (unknown) company that claims to provide some sort of benefit like this. The SAs provide info on what they look for and have ALOs to work with candidates...why pay for something you already get for free?
     
  4. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    ImageUploadedByService Academy Forums®1467938254.393325.jpg

    I just did a quick google search and found this. Honestly, and with all due respect, I think it sounds ridiculous. $2,500?!?! The service includes things like advice on taking the SAT/ACT (free advice: take it early and often), deadline adherence (or you could buy a calendar or app with reminders), guidance on nominations (it's pretty clear-cut and the MOC's have it all online for free) and a video series for interviews (also free on YouTube). Everything this service offers is out there for free. Just takes some work to find it.

    Applying to a service academy is challenging, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Many thousands of kids start an application and most give up before they complete it. Maybe their hearts weren't in it, or maybe it really was too hard for them to do.

    Just my two cents, but kids need to WANT this badly enough to do the work that's required to apply.
     
  5. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    I just wanted to mention that I did not mean to sound harsh. I was just surprised because if never heard of these "coaches", and my quick google search had me saying "WHAT?!"

    I do realize how overwhelming it all seems. My daughter just went through it this year (turned down by USNA). The best "Mom" advice I can offer is this:

    Let him own it. Let him do the legwork, the research and the application. (The only time I ever helped my DD was proofreading an essay or buying an interview outfit, etc.). If he breaks the application down into the steps (first do this, then do that), it really is not complicated.

    Don't fret yet about dodmerb or other issues, first he needs to get his application as complete as he can (he might need to wait for teachers to submit letters etc). Once he's done that, he should look up what district he lives in to find his congressman and senators (and it would be good for him to look it up himself, because many times along the way he will be asked what district!). Every MOC is different but he will have to find the three he's eligible to apply to and start those applications. Some are online, some are snail mail.
     
  6. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    This place and good ACT/SAT scores = recipe for a good chance. There's no guarantee, whatever anyone says.
     
  7. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    It seems to me that this "pitch" feeds on the anxiety experienced by SA candidates and (let's be honest) parents by implying that candidates who use the service will somehow gain a leg up on the competition. While the company may provide sound advice, EOD/SEALmom hit the nail on the head by pointing out that most of these "services" are already free if you look in the right places.

    And one more thing I just thought of: try explaining why you used Admissions Consultants in an MOC/ALO interview. If you (or your applicant) is able to come up with a solid answer to that question, he/she probably didn't need the service anyway. Just my $0.02019. :D Good luck to y'all and feel free to PM me if you would like. :thumb:
     
  8. time2

    time2 Member

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    ^^ I agree.

    Paying some consultant on how to apply to an SA is a big waste of money. Applicants need to take their own initiative when applying. Those companies have no inside 'secrets' to getting an appointment, regardless of what their website sales pitch might claim. I also think it could backfire on an applicant if they say during their MOC/ALO interview that they paid some company to 'coach' them about how to apply (i.e. can be interpreted as a 'lack of initiative'). They can't possibly guarantee you get any better results than just doing this on your own and making use of all of the free information already available including the SA websites which contain comprehensive info about how to apply.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  9. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

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    I know of few wealthy international high school students & American students in boarding schools use college consultants/agencies. These agents guide students & their families with college apps, interview skills, SAT/ACT/AP tutoring & most importantly help build solid resumes. Ex. find research labs to intern, volunteer work in foreign countries, enter big company's science or computer fairs/ Olympiad competitions, & art portfolio/ music lessons with famous instructors etc., My friend paid over $15,000 for the whole package, so I guess $2,500 is not bad. But honestly, if you are bright & a true leader you can do it yourself!
     
  10. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    I wouldn't even consider it. You're probably going get to more "insider information" on these forums for free than anyone charging $2,500 out there has to offer. Additionally, having to complete the application process on your own (the student applying, not the parents) makes you realize how bad you really want it. Part of my job during 1st BCT is speaking to basics who want to quit basic and leave USAFA, and guess what? 3/4 of the time the basic wanting to quit says their parent(s) filled out their application for them and they only accepted because they felt pressured to.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I'm thinking *I* should start one of these businesses myself and buy fencersfamily a lake house, cash.

    To this mom's mind, your money is better spent HERE, where the info is free, and generally, well-considered, cautious, and even occasionally, wise. Plus, it's FREE. I have seen "consultants" who offer similar services to those seeking admission to ivies and some other elite schools.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    What a waste of time and money. But what is worse than such services being offered, is that there are people who will actually pay for such service. Obviously out of ignorance. I will say hover, that only about 1% (100) of academy applicants come to this forum. Therefor, there's about 99% (10,000-12,000) who apply on their own. So, for the leeches that are looking to prey upon desperation, I can see why there are such services available.

    Now, having said all that, if you are reading this post, that means you are part of the 1% club. Thus, you have absolutely no excuse for even considering such scams. Visitors to this forum are not ignorant. They are also usually more motivated and determined. Usually more applicants where the academy is their #1 choice. This is not true for most who do not visit this forum. If you look at the threads each year around March and April where people post who received an appointment, you will discover that the success rate of applicants on this forum is much higher than the acceptance rate overall. I.e. If the academy has an acceptance rate of around 10%, 1200 out of 12000 initial applicants, you'll find that there's probably a 30,40,50% acceptance rate among applicants or their parents on this forum. Sometimes even higher.

    The application is very simple. It's a basic checklist. When an item is completed, it's checked off with a completed date or remark. So WHAT needs to be done, shouldn't be confusing. WHEN it needs to be done by is also pretty clear cut. But most of all, HOW to fill out the application, what info, questionable info, etc. can all be searched or asked about here. "Always use the search first. It will save you a lot of time".

    There is absolutely nothing, zero, 0%, of anything about the academy, the application, the process, etc. that can't be found on this forum. When I say zero, I mean zero. And if you were to use a paid service, no one like your alo, moc, or admissions would even know you used them. So you don't even get points for effort. On the other hand, if one of my applicants told me they used a paid service, especially after informing them of this forum, I would think of them as an idiot for spending such money.

    This forum is made up of present and past applicants, cadets, parents, ALO's, military members, and interested parties. If the assistance you are looking for isn't found here, then it doesn't exist. ANYWHERE...

    Caveat.... I always have a caveat. If you're the type of person who is accustomed to having someone else do or prepare for you, and you want a service that is going to write your resume, fill out the application for you, do your essays, and prep you to sound sincere in your interviews, then you're probably not a good fit for the academy or military anyway. It will show and you'll be miserable. If you were appointed, you'd probably not last long anyway. Now this is most likely not applicable to anyone reading this. As I said earlier, if you are reading and /or posting on this forum, then you are part of the 1% of applicants. You're more motivated, determined, and compassionate about the academy and the military. You wouldn't waste your time on this or any forum if you weren't.

    So apply for the academies. Keep track of your process and deadlines. Search this forum to answer questions or concerns about the academy, application, process, etc. and if you still have questions, post your questions. You'll have a much better chance than anyone using a paid service. Best of luck.
     
  13. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    YES ! I do !! Below, is a link to the absolute BEST Service Academy/ROTC Admissions Service in the US !

    I can personally attest that this Group Service will be able to provide you with a complete understanding and advice instruction for completing the key requirements needed for getting thru the long application processes of the Service Academies and/or ROTC programs.

    The information you get will not only be detailed, it will be real-world, timely and accurate. It is supremely affordable, too ! They give you a realistic set of expectations to the probabilities of success for your DS/DD when you use the service; no high-pressure sales contracts or sale hype. (maybe a bit of drama once in a while, but that's all!)

    This Service provided our family with key information that turned out to be materially responsible for our DS obtaining an Appointment to USNA Class of 2020 + a full 4-year NROTC scholarship offer !

    Service Academy/ROTC Admissions Service
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Murf, you sea dog.
     
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  15. Humey

    Humey Member

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    There are paid college counselors that help you get into colleges in general and others that help you get into the Ivy Schools or equivalent. I cant see why there wouldnt be coaches that help you get into the Military academies. I also know that some are better than others and there is no guarantee no matter how much you pay. I know lots of kids that hired professional counselors outside of the school system in order to help them get into their school of their dreams. And yes, they arent cheap
     
  16. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    These are the duties of an ALO.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Of course there are paid counsellors to help you get into a traditional college, Ivy League, and yes a military academy. That doesn't make them any less a scam. All of them.

    Personally, I feel, that if you aren't able to read through and fill out an application, and do some basic research to make yourself competitive for a particular school, then you probably aren't ready for college in the first place. Maybe you should be checking out a local community college or your state university; where acceptance is pretty much guaranteed.

    I find it ironic, that a student/applicant, with the type of grades and sat/act scores required to get into an elite school like Harvard or a military academy, is incompetent to fill out an application, do an essay, and the other administrative requirements for applying to a college or university. Amazing.

    Anyway, if a person wants to waste their money, on a service which is guaranteed to not provide any benefits vs free services and guidance designed specifically for that particular school; in this case the academies, then that person is definitely free to do so. After all, this is America. Where people are free to be stupid if they choose.
     
  18. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    ^^^^^

    I think OP's question was reasonable from someone who (as they admitted) has very limited knowledge about the whole process. I know you weren't doing this, but I just want to make sure the OP doesn't feel flamed.

    OP, you could always PM flieger or Christcorp for more help with the process (after reading many threads/stickies/etc. :cool:) instead of inadvertently falling for a well-written sales pitch, as you called it. They are both Admissions Liaison Officers (ALO's) and are extremely knowledgeable about the application process. Of course, your own ALO would be a great resource as well. There is a tool to help candidates find their ALO on the Academy Admissions website, in case you don't know who this person is.

    Also, feel free to PM me if you have any questions that you would like a cadet's perspective on. Good luck! :thumb:
     
  19. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Like any position or job, not all ALO's are created equal. Some are passionate and while others do the bare minimum even when you ask a lot of questions. As in you wonder why they do it because their heart isn't in it. Our son was extremely impressed with one passionate ALO and not nearly as much with another (2 different branches of the service). We had some interaction with both. The ALO's had vastly different levels of interest, passion, levels of push to get missing answers (i.e. getting DQ info and using the best approach), etc.

    Similarly, we found our high school counselors to be semi-worthless on college advice. Yet some private high school counselors have relationships and expertise with Ivy's (for instance) that produce incredible results. I can show you a MN private that gets into the who's-who of colleges (70% of the student body). In life, doors open doors which open more doors. But I would agree that hiring a coach for SA goes against the desired principle of being a self starter.

    Oh... I'm way too cheap to pay $$ for a SA "coach". :eek3:
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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  20. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    So now you know OP. This place has been the best to give advice. If you haven't done so already use the 2500 to go on a trip hitting the East Coast Service Academies, Colorado and possible colleges with ROTC.

    We went to a parent meet and greet before R DAy, I Day... A couple of the kids we met never visited x, y, or z service academy and is standing in hand with multiple appointments and has no clue which one they will show up to, which service they like better, or if they are interested in the majors being offered there. . It's not cheap to make those trips but it is money well spent.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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