You’re not alone if you have a lot of questions about college planning and the college admissions process.  The good news is that, regardless of your year in school, the more you know about what colleges are looking for in applicants, the greater your chances of success down the road.  Asking questions about the firm that you’re considering hiring to help you is an important part of the planning process, too.

Check out the list of questions below – they’re the questions that our clients ask us most frequently.  You’ll probably find what you need to know here, but if not, feel free to give us a call (585-233-3357) or send us an email (click here).  We’ll be happy to respond in detail to whatever questions you may have.



1. Is it really more difficult to get into college now than ever before?

The college admissions process is getting tougher.  More and more students are applying to colleges.  Increased use of the Common Application has sent application numbers soaring.  Greater numbers of students are applying to more of the same schools at the top of the scale, too, making it even tougher to get into the “best” schools.  The growing gap in lifetime earnings potential between college and non-college graduates -- now estimated at more than $1 million -- has heightened the competition for coveted spots.  That being said, there’s a school for you, and the vast majority of colleges in the country admit most of the students who apply to them.  Competition is heaviest at the schools that have the highest rankings, and are perceived to offer the “best” education. 


2. Why hire a consultant to help me with the college planning and college application process? 

Good firms can improve your chances of getting in to the schools you’d really like to attend.  High school counseling offices just can’t cope with the demands of in-depth, individualized college advising:  cuts in staffing over the past 15 years have made 1/300 advising ratios common.  There are places you can go to school where you’ll be happier, more satisfied, and more successful than at other places -- and you need to know what they are.  Choosing a college has a lot to do with the options you’ll have later.  And paying for college is a huge investment, so you and your parents will want to make sure that the investment pays dividends:  since 2000, college costs have risen by more than 40% at public institutions, and nearly 20% at private four-year colleges. 


3.  Why should I choose Upstate College Planning Services over some other firm?
We know colleges from the inside out.  We’ve been there – in influential positions at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country.  We’ve run and helped run colleges.  We’ve been recognized nationally for our knowledge and understanding of higher education.  Our background includes experience at every level and in every segment of college life:  as a faculty member, counselor, dean, and executive.  Very few firms in this industry have direct knowledge of the executive-level decisions that determine college admissions practices and priorities.  We have that knowledge.  Our comprehensive understanding of college campuses means that we can help you achieve success not only in the college application process, but thereafter.


4. How do your services differ from my school counseling office, or online?

We’re customized.  We provide individual attention.  We’ll help you figure out exactly what to do for your situation.  We’ll spend lots of time on you alone.  We have the knowledge and expertise to help you evaluate the confusing and sometimes contradictory information you might obtain online, or in college guides, or by visiting schools.  We don’t have to rely on what admissions offices choose to reveal about their admissions goals.  We’re experts in college stuff, rather than high school stuff.


5. How will you help me – how do you work?

Everything we’ll do is based on who you are and what you want.  All of it is individual.  And active – we’ll come to you.  After you contact us to select a service, we’ll spend time getting to know you.  We’ll learn about your background and interests, your goals and achievements, and your dreams about college.  If you purchase one of our Bronze, Silver, or Gold packages (see Fees for Students and Families), we’ll work with you over as much as a four-year period to increase your chances of getting admitted to the school of your choice.  And, during each consultation, you’ll receive something that only Upstate College Planning Services can provide:  “the view from the top on what it takes to get into college.”


6. What is your mission?  Why are you doing this?

We founded Upstate College Planning Services because we know that going to college is one of the most meaningful things you’ll ever do.  We want to help you with that choice.  We also want to reduce the stress associated with the planning process by providing you and your family with services and information that will help you achieve your goals.  Because we’ve spent many years on college campuses, we know what aspects of your high school preparation truly matter to colleges and universities, and which do not; knowing that will help you focus your efforts.  In the end, if you’re able to make an informed decision about your future as a result of working with us, we’ll have done an important part of our job.


7. What does it cost?

Our fees are based on an hourly rate that’s similar to the rate you’d pay for other professional services (e.g., lawyers, accountants, counselors).  The total cost for any Customized Consultation or Additional Service takes into account the time we spend conducting research and preparing materials on your behalf, as well as the time we spend meeting with you.  We offer a variety of packages and fee structures to meet your needs (see Fees for Students and Families):  our most economical plans are our Bronze, Silver, and Gold packages, which include all three of our Customized Consultations, and cover your fees for as long as you work with us.


8. Do you specialize in helping a particular kind of student, or focus on a particular set of colleges?

We’re happy to help anyone, anywhere, find the school that’s right for them and get admitted to it.  If you happen to live in Upstate New York, where we’re based, we’ll come to your home to do it; but if not, we’ll help you over the internet, by telephone, fax, or mail.  Many of our clients are interested in selective or highly selective liberal arts colleges or Ivy League institutions, and we know quite a lot about those schools – but we’ve helped just as many students get into state university systems, comprehensive colleges, and regional universities.


9. What do you recommend if I’m undecided about which services I need?

Generally speaking, we recommend that all new clients begin with Customized Consultation #1,Getting Started”.  This consultation includes a customized inventory of your background, grades, test scores, and interests, and provides an important foundation for your future work with us.  Clients who are completely undecided about which package or service is right for them might wish to schedule a one-hour consultation (see Additional Services).  You’ll learn more about the college planning process, and you can apply the cost of the hour towards the cost of any package you subsequently select.


10. How do I get started?

When you get done reading this, simply send us an email (click here) or call us at 585-233-3357.  Tell us who you are and what you want to talk about, and we’ll take it from there!


Home | The UCPS Advantage | About Us | FAQs | Services | Fees | Helpful Websites | Important Dates | UCPS Articles |
  Books and Guides | Additional Resources | Contact Us