I was super-stressed about applying to business school: I had a relatively low GPA from a non-elite undergraduate college, and I worked for a tiny start-up company.

It felt like everyone I knew was hiring admissions consultants, so I did too. I had seen an expensive firm’s ads everywhere, they were very active on certain message boards, their founder had been interviewed in a ton of articles, and sadly, I mistakenly thought that was an indicator of quality. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, I “invested” $10k into this firm’s comprehensive admissions consulting package for five schools.

What a waste.

It was a waste of money, but also a waste of time.

I ended up getting rejected from every school I used them for.

Devastated, looking ahead to Round 2, I stumbled upon ApplicantLab and gave it a chance. I figured it was only a few hundred bucks — so what was the worst that could happen?

I only had a few weeks to pull together a R2 app, so I needed good help, and I needed it fast.

Within minutes, the Lab was giving me guidance on what my perceived weaknesses were, with actionable advice on how to face them head on. I also started going through the Career Vision module, and quickly understood, thanks to the videos and exercises provided, that the career vision / why MBA rationale I had originally applied with were terrible. I’ll never know if that’s what got me dinged, but you’d better believe I was frustrated that my super-expensive admissions consultant had never brought up any of these issues to me!

The rest of the Lab was great: I work super-intense hours at a start-up, and so instead of needing to wait around for my consultant to be available, I could simply log in to the Lab and power through the steps.

Each step of the way, there is advice on what to do next. There is also advice on what NOT to do, what things to AVOID, with samples provided. The “good interview / bad interview” examples were not only useful, they were also funny.

The whole way thy rough the Lab, I’d curse under my breath as I’d see an amazing tip or insight that my expensive so-called “expert” had never thought of. I felt like I was getting BETTER advice — from a website! I think it’s because of all of the videos of Maria; you really feel like someone is sitting with you, helping you.

Long story short: I ended up getting accepted into Tuck and MIT!

If you are reading this, you might be considering shelling out thousands for one of these so-called “elite” firms. You might fall for their fancy marketing or their 30-minute “free consultations” (which are really just sales pitches where they butter you up to take your money). Don’t do it!

When I was at Tuck’s “Welcome Weekend”, I ended up chatting with LOTS of people who hired admissions consultants, and almost everyone was underwhelmed and felt that they had been swindled. I know the feeling — my initial consultant swindled me too.

Don’t tell Maria I said this, but seriously she could raise the price of ApplicantLab to a few thousand dollars, and it would still be the best deal on the market.

I paid $10k for a firm with fancy marketing and got nothing.

I paid a small fraction of that for ApplicantLab, and got two acceptances, including to my dream program.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

BUY IT, USE IT — you won’t regret it!