Vantage College Advisors (VCA) has been in business since 1998. Yvette Amos, Founder/President has worked as a college advisor for over 20 years. VCA specializes in helping applicants gain admission into the top colleges and universities. Ms. Amos is an author of an upcoming book titled, “The Business of College Admission” and is a highly sought after presenter of “Ivy Prep” admission seminars at Chinese schools, high schools, and professional associations all across the country.


In the 2017-18 school year, our clients who applied Early Decision and Early Action were accepted into the following colleges:

  • Olivia-Princeton 
  • Andy-Princeton
  • Elaine-MIT
  • Emily-UPenn (Wharton)
  • Sally-Rice
  • Emily-Duke
  • Richard-NYU (Stern)
  • Matthew-Chicago
  • Kaiyu-SMU with 20k per year, 4-year scholarship 


Colleges are businesses; not educational institutions. Colleges are not looking for well-rounded students. What colleges really want is to earn revenue, increase their prestige, build a well-rounded, diverse class, and fulfill other institutional needs and goals. Consequently, as businesses, they make ‘business decisions’ - in regards to whom will be admitted and rejected. If you can help them achieve their one or more of their business goals/institutional needs, you will be admitted. If you cannot, you will be rejected.

Considering this, Vantage College Advisors uses a specific, unique business approach to college preparation and college admission and utilizes sales and marketing principles to “sell” the student which has helped our clients get into colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UPenn, MIT, Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, NYU Stern, and many more.

'Students rarely see the admission and scholarship process for what it is - a sales presentation. They become a salesperson and the product they are selling is themselves! Any good salesperson will tell you that you have to sell a customer on the benefits they will receive from the product and successfully differentiate yourself from the competition. Your child’s customer, the prospective college or scholarship organization, wants to know how the student will return their investment in them. “Making the sale” requires that your child does more than produce a laundry list of qualities about themselves, it requires that they truly understand their customer’s (colleges) goals, motivations and needs. Knowing this, they can sell, promote and market themselves in a way that will impress the admission and scholarship committees. When they make a positive impression, the colleges will absolutely want to accept your child.

Every college advisor/college counseling company pretty much offers the same services like Application Review, Essay Editing, Resume Editing, Interview Prep, etc. Any college counselor can recommend courses and activities, develop a study skills/homework plan, or check over applications and essays. Unfortunately, many college counseling services do not stress the selling and marketing aspect to college admission. Most of these companies provide no clear marketing plan for their clients when they apply to college. They just wing it and hope for the best. They rely on luck more than anything else and thereby set students up for failure and rejection. When it is time to apply to college, many private advisors often have students to focus on the wrong things. They either stress achievements exclusively (which will not get students admitted) or they will focus on communicating a student’s “well-roundedness”, activity participation, involvement, time commitment, hours earned, leadership roles, or duties, actions, and responsibilities performed, which will get students rejected. Ultimately, these companies really don’t understand what colleges are really looking and therefore do not know which of the student’s qualities they should be building up and communicating to the schools. 

Additionally, when many advisors assist students with applying to college, they use one marketing/application strategy for every student and for each school the student applies to. Instead of having students tailor their application materials to specific colleges, they have students to recycle the same message repeatedly, often to their detriment. Each college is different, so a different admission strategy is required for each school. Different colleges seek different types of students. What one college is looking for or prioritizes could be completely different from another, so you have to tailor your college preparation strategy and application message to match each college. You should never use the same strategy for every college.

Vantage College Advisors will show students how to successfully sell, promote and market themselves to admission committees - on paper, in person and online. We teach students the art of selling and marketing themselves so that they will be able to answer the college’s three big (but often unspoken) questions:

Question 1: “Why Should We Accept You?”

There's one question that strikes fear into the hearts of students everywhere, it is: "Why should we accept you?" Unfortunately, this also happens to be the one question which every admission officer needs an answer to. Admission is purely about selling yourself to the colleges. Think of yourself as the product. Why should the customer (college) buy? Here, the college is giving you a unique opportunity to sell your achievements, qualifications, talents, future contributions, uniqueness, interests, and personality among other things. Don’t sell features; sell benefits. Don’t talk about what you did; talk about what you’ve accomplished. Arguably, this is one of the most important questions you should be prepared to answer - on paper, in person and online. If you can’t make a case for why you’re the best candidate, why should the college think you’re the best applicant and accept you over others?

Vantage College Advisors will help you convince the admissions committee that:

  • You are the perfect and ideal candidate

  • You are uniquely qualified and accomplished

  • You can help them achieve an institutional goal or priority (i.e. increase prestige, move up in national rankings, improve their reputation and status, etc.) and that your record of achievements and qualifications will further their mission and aspirations.

  • You will fit in beautifully with the campus culture and will be a great fit and match for the college

Question 2: “What Makes You Different From Other Applicants?”

Make no mistake about it, this is a competitive posturing question. How are you different? This question should be the opening for your Unique Selling Proposition or USP, a common term in marketing, sales, and advertising. Your USP is your capsule description of what makes you stand apart from others. With competition for college fierce, many colleges are in the enviable position of having numerous highly qualified candidates applying for limited spots. Yet, admission officer do not have an easy task. Most candidates have similar achievements, qualifications, skill-sets, and backgrounds which makes it hard to find someone who is unique and stands out from the crowd. What’s more, you have no way of knowing how many other candidates you are up against, how good they are, and what aces they have up their sleeves to differentiate themselves. All you can do is prepare to impress, and this is where being different and interesting is what is going to give you the competitive advantage.

Vantage College Advisors will help you convince the admissions committee that:

  • You can fill in a hole or gap – that your unique background, skills, personality, talents, and passions will fill a specific need in their effort of building a well-rounded freshmen class

  • You possess a combination of skills, expertise, and experience that clearly separates you from the pack

  • You have a unique background, qualifications, or talents that align with the college’s own mission, goals, and institutional priorities

  • You possess one, two, or multiple qualities that are unique, or more difficult to find, in other candidates

Question 3: “What Will You Contribute to the College?”

Embrace this question as an opportunity to emphasize your value to the college. The admission officer’s job is to choose the best person who will bring something of value to the college campus – colleges want a good (ROI) return on their investment(you). Most of the candidates who apply for admission are “qualified”. The winning candidate must be more than qualified, especially in a very competitive admissions market. Every admitted student is a risk for the college. The admission officer will be taking a personal career risk in recommending a particular candidate to accept. If the candidate performs well at the college in the future, Mr. Admission Officer looks brilliant and gets a pat on the back (and maybe a bigger annual bonus). If the candidate turns out to be a dud (isn’t successful, doesn’t add anything to the college classroom/campus life, etc.), the admission officer could look like a dummy and his professional reputation suffers. Every admission officer wants to be assured that you'd offer a good return on investment. They want to mitigate risk and avert choosing someone who will not make an impact. This is your chance to use bottom line examples of how the college will benefit from admitting you. What can you do that would make the college better? What can you do to bring the college more prestige or enhance their reputation?

You have to make their job easier and emphasize your value to the college by convincing them that:

  • You will bring something to the table that others cannot - your own talents, passions, and achievements will benefit the college environment in a way they may not have experienced previously

  • You have a proven track record of making contributions and that your contributions helped your high school/class/club in a big way, and that you could similarly make a significant impact on the college campus.

  • You can solve a problem and welcome the opportunity to provide a solution to any potential problems that the college might be facing (i.e. student apathy, lack of diverse viewpoints in class, research funding, etc.) Come across like you are the answer to their prayers.

  • You will be a great investment and your skills, abilities, experiences, personal qualities, etc. will be important assets to the college

You may be thinking that all of this sounds great and is good advice but there is just one problem: “I just don’t know how to sell myself!”

This is one of the most common complaints that we hear in our consulting practice. We love hearing these words because we know we can help these students make a dramatic improvement in their ‘personal selling abilities’ pretty quickly. They tend to be students who are successful and accomplished, but are just a bit too modest when it comes to talking about themselves. Many candidates are too humble or just aren’t comfortable articulating what makes them great.  Others lack the self-awareness about their marketable strengths and do not have a clear sense of who they are. Still others lack confidence in themselves. Most students just are not used to talking about themselves, let alone “selling” themselves. This is particularly true for introverts and/or people who never really had to “sell” themselves before because things always fell in their laps in the past.  In daily life, we are rarely called upon to list our strengths or detail our accomplishments. In fact, many of us grew up with the conditioning that it’s obnoxious to brag or call attention to our achievements. That may be good manners when it comes to social situations, but will definitely hold you back in the admission process. If you can’t talk about yourself and your accomplishments, your future college will have no idea and you will be making their job harder by not sharing this information. Great candidates often get passed over for people with worse qualifications but better abilities to sell and market themselves. You have to get over any hesitation to say nice things about yourself and to sell your achievements and talents. You can do it in a way that feels comfortable and authentic if you get the right help. VCA will show you to sell, promote and market yourself to admission success. 

Call us today at 713-212-0168 or email us at collegeplanning@hotmail.com to schedule your free, no-obligation, initial consultation.