I used to have the wrong impression about admissions consultants. Before I started working as a member of the admissions committee for Dartmouth undergraduate admissions and as the Associate Director of Admissions at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, I assumed that advisors gave generic advice and perhaps even engaged in unethical practices like writing essays for their clients.

Over the past 9 years, I have radically revamped my opinion.  It is now incredibly clear to me why people hire consultants, and just how much value an experienced and ethical admissions consultant can add.  I am most passionate about advocating for people and helping them wind up at the best possible institution.  My strength as an admissions officer and as a consultant is combining the knowledge and the passion to work on your behalf, so that you have an expert ally who will help to propel you toward your future.

The daunting fact is that elite institutions can fill their classes many times over with “perfect” applicants – people with 3.9 GPA’s, standardized test scores in the 97% percentile and above, stellar work experience at Fortune 100 companies, glowing recommendations and robust extracurricular activities.  How can anyone stand out within this pool?  Especially people with fantastic personal qualities, experience and potential but a somewhat less than “perfect” profile?

Helping candidates for college and business school understand their individual strengths and weaknesses, what makes them unique, and how to strategically communicate this to admissions teams is my core mission as a consultant.  I believe that every applicant, no matter what their background, can benefit from this advice.  I understand exactly what admissions committees are looking for, having adjudicated thousands of applications.  I know why people get in, why they are offered scholarships and what they could have done better. In addition to making admissions and scholarship decisions, I gave feedback to hundreds of candidates who were hoping to strengthen their applications and reapply in the future.  The most heartbreaking conversations were with people who simply didn’t understand what they brought to the table, and who told us what they thought we wanted to hear instead of sharing what truly motivated and shaped them. An additional layer of candor and depth would have made the difference between a yes and a no in many cases.

I also understand how stressful the admissions process can be and I will mitigate that anxiety. For so many questions – like who to use as your recommender and what topics to highlight in your essays and when to visit a school – I can help you figure out the right answer.  I can help you understand WHY schools ask certain questions, both in interviews and essays, and to assess whether your test scores are where they need to be.  I can also help you to select a balanced range of target schools, and to enhance your chances of receiving any available scholarships.

The bottom line is that collaborating with me will enable you to know for sure that you are submitting the strongest possible application.  Given the level of competition and the investment required it just makes sense to maximize your potential.

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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
North Star Admissions Consulting