These are the most common questions we receive. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
How is Synocate different from other college counseling services?
Synocate stands apart from the crowd on the strength of our team and our relentless pursuit of hard facts using admissions data. The Synocate team has been built from the ground up to provide the solutions you need. From our managment team of Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley graduates who have been through the process before to our experienced counselors and the former admissions officers who provide support and advice, we make sure you have the resources you need each step of the way.
All the experience in the world can't make up for incorrect or incomplete information, which is where our data team comes in. We sift through mountains of data to confirm which strategies work, determine what can hurt your chances, and find new insights that experience alone cannot replicate. Find out more about what makes Synocate right for you by scheduling a free consultation
How do I know the Synocate program works?
We believe the results speak for themselves. But don't take our work for it - Synocate helps hundreds of students navigate college admissions each year. See what our students have to say, attend an event, or schedule a free consultation to learn how Synocate can work for you.
Where does your data come from?
We work with a combination of publicly available and proprietary data sets, including 55 years of Common Data Sets and FERPA requests filed by our attorneys in Palo Alto. We are constantly updating these data sets with new CDS data and insights from each batch of acceptance our students receive to ensure we evolve along with the ever-changing admissions landscape
How do I get started?
The first step is to schedule a free consultation with our enrollment team. These are 30 minute meetings conducted in person or online designed to introduce you to the Synocate program and provide an overview of how Synocate can help you. If you have already had your consultation we are excited for you to join the Synocate family. You will receive a more detailed email from our enrollment team, but the basic steps to signing up are:
- Complete the counselor matching form
- Complete your online registration
- Choose your counselor (we will help with this step)
- Confirm your pacakge and start date with the enrollment team for final payment
When is the best time to sign up?
Today! We'll admit it is a bit self-serving, but the earlier you start the more time you have to develop yourself as an applicant or work on your applications. In general, the summer before freshman year of high school is the best time to start. Packages are based on the academic year; while June is our most popular start month, packages are automatically prorated for students starting at another time.
How are students matched with counselors?
The right counselor can make or break your experience, so we are careful to match each student with the counselor most suited to the background and goals discussed during the free consultation. We try to pair students with counselors who are a good personality fit and share similar academic interests. In the past our students have found it especially useful to have someone who understands their interests and can point them in the right direction to further explore a subject.
Don't worry if you didn't start as early as freshman year. While an early start offers the best results there are still important milestones during 10th and 11th grade, and of course the actual applications during senior year. Synocate can help no matter which stage of your admissions journey you are in.
Can I meet my counselor before I sign up?
Given the importance of a strong relationship between a student and their counselor, we understand the desire many students have to meet with their counselor before joining the program. We are often able to arrange introductory meetings, so be sure to ask during your free consultation.
Do you offer payment plans?
We offer a number of different payment options and plans for your convenience. We can discuss the options that are best for you during your free consultation.
What discounts are available?
We offer a number of discounts including multi-year and sibling discounts, as well as a number of seasonal promotions. Be sure to ask the enrollment team what discounts you qualify for during your free consultation.
How does the program work?
Check out our program page to learn more about the Synocate program and view case studies of past students.
Do you help with scholarships and financial aid?
Our counselors are happy to offer general advice on scholarships and financial aid, particularly on scholarship essays. More in-depth financial aid assistance is available for an additional fee.
Do students work with one person or multiple?
Students meet solely with their counselor. However, the Synocate program includes a number of resources to help students and counselors along the way. Students have access to our team of researchers and editors to help with summer program or college essays and research requests. Our counselors also frequently coordinate with the research team, other counselors, and former admissions officers to ensure we find the right plan for your needs.
How frequently will I meet with my counselor?
We have found that regular meetings are one of the keys to success. Meeting frequency varies by grade, with freshmen meeting roughly once a month. 10th and 11th grade students meet twice a month, and seniors working on applications generally meet weekly.
This schedule has worked for most of our students in the past, but of course we know there are natural cycles in the year that will affect your meeting frequency. For example, many underclassmen take more frequent meetings while working on summer applications, and our packages are designed with this in mind. If you need more frequent meetings for the duration of your package, these can be arranged for an additional fee.
How do I meet with my counselor?
All counseling meetings are conducted online via video chat. Each counselor has a private video chat link for conducting meetings. Simply select a time that works for you from your counselor's calendar and follow the link when it is time for your meeting.
Can I meet with my counselor in person?
All counseling is done via online video chat to enable us to offer the best counselors to our students no matter where they or their counselor live. Prior to moving to online-only meetings, we found no difference in expected outcome between students who met in person and those who met online.
Can I switch counselors after starting?
We take pride in matching you with the right counselor for your needs, so switches are rarely necessary. However, we are happy to accomodate any request for a counselor change. Please email email@example.com with your concerns as well as your preferences for a new counselor. A case manager will help your child transition to a new counselor.
When are counselors available?
Availability varies from one counselor to another, but we have counselors in a number of different time zones and most are available for evening and weekend meetings. If you have strict schedule requirements, please let our enrollment team know and we will find someone who can accomodate your needs.
How are your counselors trained?
Before being hired our counselors are subjected to a rigorous review process where they are vetted for experience, interpersonal skills, personality, and passion for education. Only ~10% of applicants are accepted.
After being accepted, new counselors are trained by senior management following a curriculum that introduces them to the Synocate program, teaches them to properly leverage Synocate's resources, and covers the most important insights from our team of former admissions officers. Senior management also hosts a biweekly meeting with counselors to cover timely topics in admissions and address common roadblocks that students may face.
How many students does each counselor have?
Our counselors average 5 students at a time to ensure enough time and attention is dedicated to each student's needs. One important factor in our matching proxess is eliminating the counselors who are too busy to take on new students without the quality of their work suffering.