Frequently Asked Questions
We carefully screen the students we work with, because we strongly believe that the "fit" between student and advisor determines whether the coaching does any good (for either of us).
As a result, we only work with students who:
- are enthusiastic about life (though not necessarily about the admissions process)
- are excited to work with us
- have interesting stories to tell, but don't quite know how to tell them in the admissions process
Not sure whether that describes you? Book a meeting with us, and we can see. If you're not a good fit, we will let you know and point you toward someone that can help instead of us.
It's never too early (well, ok. If you're 6 years old, then it's too early). But seriously, it can't hurt to meet us in person and ask that question. We would rather tell you to wait a year or two before working with us than to have you sign up too late and for us not to have enough time to make a difference with you.
When do most students sign up with us? If they are applying to:
- College - most students sign up during junior year or the summer before senior year.
- Med School - most students sign up with us 6 months before they plan to apply.
- Grad School - most students sign up with us 3 months before they plan to apply.
We can't guarantee you'll get in. But we can guarantee that we will be there for you if you don't.
Our guarantee only applies to the Unlimited and Ultimate Packages (the idea is that if you only work with us for certain parts of the admissions process and not for others, we can't guarantee that you will be satisfied with where you get in).
For medical school and graduate school:
If you don't get in (or are unhappy with where you get in), then we help you reapply the following cycle for free. Usually, that means another 2 meetings with an advisor (1 for a game plan, and 1 to make a new school list) and another 3 meetings with an editor (to help you draft a new personal statement and tweak the other essays).
If you are unhappy with where you get in, then we help you apply to transfer within 2 years of starting college. Usually, that means another 2 meetings with your advisor (to make a game plan and school list) and 3 meetings with an editor (to go over the essays for where you plan to transfer).
Obviously, we don't write the essays for you (we say the word "obviously," but you would be surprised what people have asked us to do. Then again, maybe you wouldn't be that surprised...).
The essays have to preserve the student's voice - not only because that's the ethical thing to do - but because it's what works best for admissions. The admissions officers know your verbal scores on your standardized testing and your grades in your English classes, so the essays need to match the rest of your profile and your voice.
With that in mind, we will push you to put the very best essay you can onto paper. We help you brainstorm, revise, and edit. We help you put the finishing touches on each essay so that it represents you well.
We meet as often as we need. For our students who are right up against an application deadline, we might meet 2-3x per week. For our students that we are counseling longer-term, we might only meet every 3-4 months.
For medical school, we have a massive (269-columns) spreadsheet that Rob has put together over the years with every piece of useful data he could find on medical schools. It contains obvious stuff like MCAT and GPA numbers, and less obvious stuff like which schools are open to out-of-state students, which schools are the most research-oriented, which ones have global health tracks (or any of the other 20+ tracks med schools have). We take all of this knowledge and combine it with your strengths to help find the schools that are most likely to accept you. Then, we share a part of this spreadsheet with you (the part that you need to know about for your applications).
For college, the exploration process is much bigger. We have helped students apply to roughly 400 different schools (out of the 2300 4-year colleges in the US), and we have excellent working knowledge of what types of students these colleges are looking for and where you might be happy and successful. We combine that knowledge with your preferences about what you want from colleges to help generate a list of schools we think you'll love. Then, we work with you to help you research those schools using the wonders of the internet. While it would be great for you to visit every college we suggest, that's unrealistic for most students, so we use the tools of modern technology to explore and decide where to apply.
For grad school, it depends on where you're applying for whether we can help you put together a school list. Just tell us at your first meeting, and we will let you know whether we can help.
Lots of things. The following 7 verbs cover most of what we do:
- Set goals
- Solve problems
- Check deadlines
Meetings are designed to help you make progress on your goals, whatever those may be.
Usually, 1 hour = 1 meeting. We like to use the hours with you (in-person, by phone, by Skype) so that we can make the most progress and preserve your voice. Sometimes, we will use some of your time to do research between meetings or edit your essays when you're not there.
Yep. It doesn't make sense to us to pay for something all up front if you're going to use it over several months or years. We allow our students to break up their payments into 1-5 chunks spread out evenly over their time working with us. Because we are a small business, we don't have a full-time billing department. As a result, all payment plans must have a credit card on file so that we can just charge your card and don't have to chase you down for payment.
Success is hard to judge, because it's not clear whether someone would have gotten in without our help. What we consider our success is that:
a) the vast majority of our students come from referrals from former students, and
b) our previous students have said really nice things about us.
We have also documented where our students have gotten in, but again, that can be tough to judge why they were successful in getting in.