5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Medical School Admissions Consultant — Savvy Pre-Med

By: Ryan Kelly

Full disclosure – we offer our own medical school admissions consulting, so we’re admittedly a little biased towards our services at Passport Admissions.

But whichever company you choose, we would urge you to consider these important questions when selecting a medical school admissions consultant. 

Question #1 – How much experience does the consultant have? And in what capacity?

Some consulting companies boast that they only have physician advisors – those are the people who review your application, so they should be the ones helping you prepare your application, right?

Physicians aren’t the only people who review your application, and they only offer one perspective. Sure, physicians might be helpful, but that title does not necessarily lend itself to admissions credibility. 

In our opinion, the breadth and diversity of the consulting experience are the most important factors. You want consultants who have seen it all and helped a wide variety of applicants succeed.

Our advisors have decades and decades of experience, with credentials ranging from:

  • Former regional vice president at the Princeton Review

  • Pre-health advising at MIT

  • Graduate medical education at UC San Diego

We’ve helped every type of candidate out there – immigrants, parents, military veterans. But even if you think you’re “average,” we’re confident we can help you tell your story. 

We take umbrage with any consulting company that brags about having no editors on their staff.

Our editors are an admissions think tank of creative power. They’re published authors in travel, non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Who better to help you craft the ins and outs of all your application essays? They can help you stand out and be memorable to the admissions committees.

We equip you with a TEAM, an advisor and editor, so that you have the best expert for each task you’ll face.

Question #2 – What is the consultant’s success rate? And how transparent are they about this success rate?

Most medical school admissions consulting companies will publish their success rate on their websites, but it usually comes with a caveat:

  • Success rate is limited to candidates “who purchased a Comprehensive Package”

  • Success rate only includes applicants “who worked with a Master Advisor “

  • 90+% of our students “enjoy medical school admissions success”

Often, there’s no distinction as to whether the success rates were for MD, DO, or Caribbean schools. 

What Makes Passport Admissions Special? 

We have nothing against DO schools or international schools, but our success rate makes an important distinction about MD acceptances, which is the more common and competitive goal for most of our applicants.

We think our 89% MD acceptance rate is pretty darn good.

Our only caveat is that our data comes from students who completed our program.

Question #3 – Does the consultant offer any kind of guarantee?

MedSchoolCoach offers a promise of acceptance to those who choose the largest, most expensive package ($8,000). Same goes for Med School Insider, whose guaranteed acceptance is limited to the Diamond package ($9,000). It also includes an asterisk that the guarantee is “contingent on qualifying criteria.”

Shemmassian’s White Coat package has an acceptance guarantee, but the price is unavailable without getting a consultation first. Some companies like MedEdits don’t list any guarantee at all. 

If you manage to find a guarantee, it will cost you a hefty fee.

What Makes Passport Admissions Special? 

We offer a Get-In Guarantee on both our Ultimate ($4,500) and Premier packages ($7,000). And yes, that means if you don’t get in, we’ll work with you for FREE the next cycle. 

Good luck finding a better deal on a guarantee. We’re able to offer this to students because we’re THAT confident in our ability to help our candidates succeed.   

Question #4 – Does the company offer a free consultation? Is it with an advisor or a salesperson? Is it the person you’ll actually be working with?

Most companies will offer a free consultation, but they’re not all built the same.

Some only offer you 15 minutes. Some don’t let you choose the date when signing up, so you have to wait to be contacted by them. Others are limited to phone calls.

The websites are usually vague about who you’ll be meeting with: “Discover how our enrollment team can help you transform your application.”

What Makes Passport Admissions Special? 

Our free consultation is different in several important ways.

We don’t limit you to 15 minutes, we’re flexible about the date/time, and you choose the advisor you want. You get to meet with the person you’ll actually be working with if you decide to enroll.

We’re clear and transparent about what’s covered at the free consultation:

  • Kick the Tires and Discuss Your Goals

  • Highlight the Parts of the Application You Need Help With

  • Get All of Your Burning Questions About Admissions Answered

  • No Hard Sell, We Promise!

The agenda is pretty simple. We talk about your goals, decide what you need help with, and answer your questions about the admissions process. It’s a get-to-know-you session, and after the meeting we can decide if we’re a good fit to work together.

Our free consultation is the most useful and user-friendly test drive you’ll find on the medical school admissions consulting market.

Question #5 – What do you get for what you pay? How much time do you receive, and how much of the application does the consultant help with?

Most consulting companies will offer an expensive, comprehensive package alongside other smaller, more flexible ones. 

The price point is important, but you should also consider how many hours of help you’ll receive, and whether the package will satisfy ALL of the many requirements for your application.

For example, secondary essays are one of the most time-consuming and challenging components of your application process. Some consulting packages only cover five schools’ worth of secondaries.

Some companies list “unlimited help” under certain categories, such as personal statement edits.

However, from our experience with applicants, a personal statement draft takes about seven hours for the brainstorming, outlining, and editing process. Consulting companies can charge more for packages with “unlimited edits,” knowing full well that most applicants will only use a certain amount of hours of labor.

What Makes Passport Admissions Special? 

With our Ultimate Package, we offer a total of 27 hours, with a careful breakdown of how that time will be allocated based on the average hours of past successful candidates.

That way, you know exactly what to expect. You’ll know how much time you’re paying for, and you’ll only pay for the actual time you use with our staff.

We also offer a few bonuses that you don’t typically find in other consulting companies, particularly in their cheaper or middle-tier packages. 

Mock Admissions Committee – When your primary materials are finished, they are reviewed by an outside advisor (beyond your normal team) so that you can get a crucial, objective second opinion that simulates a real admissions committee.  

Monthly Admissions Classes – We offer webinars that typically cost $25 to outsiders, but you get them ALL for FREE under our Ultimate Package – these events cover everything from personal statements to interviews. 

Whether you choose Passport Admissions or not, we hope that this guide was helpful for you in making your consulting decisions!

Have any questions about Passport Admissions or medical school admissions consulting in general?

Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally. 

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