The In Advantage

Our Comprehensive Approach

We find tremendous value in having one consultant handle all aspects of a student’s college process from start to finish. We carefully curate each of the five main admissions elements (academic achievement, standardized testing, extracurricular involvement, recommendation letters, and essays) into a cohesive application package specially tailored for each student and every college on the student’s list. In many cases, essay prompts ask students to write about high school activities or college majors, elements which require knowledge of the entire application process.

Managing all aspects of a student’s process, including essays, allows us to ensure consistency and quality. We advise against a la carte services, such as “editing an essay” or “looking over resumes” because a piecemeal approach does not allow us to provide the same level of service that accompanies our comprehensive philosophy. To provide our students with the personalized attention they deserve, we limit the number of students we take each year.

Starting Early

What do the colleges want? The Answer:
It’s different for every student!

We meet with students as early as freshman year to discuss topics such as choosing curriculum, extracurricular/summer activities, and standardized testing options. The earlier a student starts working with our team, the more impact we can have on elements that will later become part of a college application package. Building a strong high school record tailored to students’ individual interests allows them to proactively position themselves to secure college options they perceive as desirable.

However, we do not advise students to engage in activities or take certain classes solely to “look good” in the admissions process. There is no single path into any college. We recommend that students follow their interests and chart their own distinctive paths rather than striving to fulfill perceived criteria. There are simply no assurances in today’s highly competitive admissions climate, and a vast number of factors influence admissions decisions. While we cannot guarantee admission to any institution, we help students accentuate their strengths and recommend strategies geared toward maximizing successful outcomes.

Integrating Essays

Essays allow students to show colleges who they are, in addition to showing what they’ve accomplished throughout their applications. College essay writing is unfamiliar to most high school students, even confident writers. Without guidance from the beginning of the brainstorming process, students often encounter pitfalls such as selecting cliché topics, neglecting to consider essays in the greater context of an entire application package, attempting to anticipate the colleges’ “expectations,” packing too many ideas into a single essay, and/or “telling” rather than “showing.” Well-crafted essays are an excellent opportunity for students to bring life to their applications by highlighting their distinctive qualities and showing colleges how they will add value on campus.

Admissions officers say that some of the most effective essays are about seemingly “ordinary” topics such as eating ice cream or taking a shower.

Beth has a gift for making an essay come to life by guiding students to find their own unique voices.

Glencoe, IL parent

Rather than carving out the essay piece to separate writing coaches or specialists, our consultants are all experienced writing experts who work directly with students on this critically important application component. Our holistic, one-on-one approach allows us to capitalize on the individual relationships we develop with our students and extensive knowledge of students’ entire applications. As seasoned experts in both essays and the college application process as a whole, our consultants assist students from brainstorming through crafting original, thoughtful essays to fit each prompt. We specialize in bringing out each student’s unique voice and helping our students leave a lasting impression by crafting authentic essays that stand out in a sea of applications.

We ask parents to be mindful of the fact that students are in the driver’s seat when it comes to essays. We guide students in selecting topics that excite them, address the prompts, showcase their individual attributes, and fit within the context of each entire application. Because multiple eyes and editors dilute the student’s voice and perspective, we do not collaborate with anyone other than the student in the essay-writing process. Outside involvement detracts from the authenticity of the writing process and leads to unnecessary back-and-forth and less genuine essays. We are hands-on so parents do not have to be.

“...a veteran application reader will tell you that there are enough clues in the application to know when the essay has been re-engineered to the point of losing the connection to the student.”

Amy Jarich, former Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Undergraduate Admissions, UC Berkeley, Huffington Post

Informed pricing

Because the college process is as unique as students themselves, we offer a customized pricing structure that enables families to make informed choices when building college lists. Our distinctive hybrid fee structure provides our students with the comprehensive services that are uniform for all college applicants and the flexibility to build a personalized college list with complete transparency of the costs involved.

How It Works​

The Essentials…

We provide a comprehensive counseling package to all students. This package includes all advising, application support, and assistance with a personal statement essay (required by the vast majority of colleges).  

The Extras…It’s Entirely Up to You!​

Many colleges require supplemental essays and/or specific information, and preparing this material can be complex and time-consuming. With the guidance of iCC consultants, students/parents compile a customized college list with full knowledge of the costs involved in applying to each school. Our “a la carte” pricing model empowers students/parents to make informed decisions and build a balanced, realistic list of schools.

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For answers to frequently-asked questions about our pricing model, please click here

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