The opinions of admissions officers at selective postsecondary institutions on the appropriateness of independent consultant services in the college admissions process
This study determined the opinions of admissions officers at selective postsecondary institutions on the appropriateness of independent consultant services in the college admissions process. In addition, it ascertained differences in such opinions when the admissions officers were classified by their employing institutions' funding (i.e., private versus public), size of undergraduate enrollment (under 6,000 versus over 6,000), and academic emphasis (liberal arts versus university). Five research questions and three hypotheses were developed in this study pertaining to the opinions of a sample of admissions professionals regarding the appropriateness of the independent consultant providing services in five areas of college and university admissions: information gathering, list creation, personal presentation, application and client representation. Data used to address the research questions and to test the study hypotheses were elicited in June of 1991 from the admissions officer with the most responsibility for interacting with the independent consultant on admissions matters at each of the 157 selective postsecondary institutions. One hundred thirty (82.8 percent) instruments were completed properly and returned. Data analysis entailed the compilation of frequencies and percentages of admissions officer respondent opinions as they pertained to each of five research questions. Three study hypotheses were tested through the use of the t-test statistic. The.05 level was the standard set for significance. The 130 admissions officer respondents said that nine of the thirty-seven services considered (24 percent) were viewed as "appropriate." This seems to warrant the conclusion that the independent consultant's role in college admissions is not fully endorsed by college admissions officers. The opinions of admissions officers on the appropriateness of the independent consultant providing the set of thirty-seven services when classified by institutional funding, size of undergraduate enrollment, and academic emphasis were not found to be significantly related. While the data did not support the view that admissions officers employed by either small or liberal arts institutions are generally more agreeable as to the value of the independent consultant in the admissions process than are their counterparts at large or university institutions, it indicated that admissions officers at private institutions value the services provided by the independent consultant more than do their counterparts at public institutions.