Sometimes when a dad calls me, he says "Seriously, why does my wife want to hire a college advisor? What do you people do? Why do we need you?" I explain to dads that they don't NEED me to apply to a college. I am a nice-to-have in the process with the goal of helping them get their teen into the college that fits them best at the best price.
What these dads remember is that they applied to a college or two and got in when they were teens twenty years ago. They wonder why their own kids ask for help completing what they remember to be a simple process. They say they don't remember even having to write an essay.
I explain to them that competition in higher education is MUCH higher for their children and that the process is much more complex. Missing a step or not following the right timetable can be expensive.
College advisors/counselors/consultants know what students and parents need to do and when. They are also aware of differences between colleges and which colleges are looking for which type of student. Families who have worked with a college advisor often indicate that the fee they paid their college advisor was small compared to the money they saved on college costs. A second benefit of using a college advisor is that the process goes more smoothly and with less anxiety and family disagreement.