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Cialfo - Is It Worth it for Educational Consultants?

In the competitive realm of college admissions consulting, Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) are consistently in pursuit of methods to enhance their offerings and deliver thorough assistance to students navigating the intricate application process. Whether just beginning their career journey or seeking to broaden their existing practice, tools such as Cialfo present indispensable resources tailored precisely to the needs of IECs. By leveraging platforms like Cialfo, IECs gain access to a wealth of information crucial for guiding students through every facet of the college search and application process.

The availability of assistive software can significantly increase the capabilities of IECs and streamline their operations. For experienced consultants looking to expand their business, edtech resources can play a significant role in maintaining efficiency and staying aware of the latest developments in higher education. In both scenarios, platforms like Cialfo emerge as invaluable assets, aiding IECs with comprehensive college search capabilities and insights into the details of the application process.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the intricacies of Cialfo, exploring its features and functionalities tailored to meet the needs of college admissions counselors. From its AI technology assistance to its extensive database of college information and application requirements, we’ll break down how this tool has the potential to streamline the approach of consultants in college admissions counseling.

What is Cialfo? 

Cialfo is an educational technology platform designed for streamlining the college admissions process, assisting international students, and simplifying recruitment efforts. Cialfo is designed to help college counselors, students, and colleges and universities themselves. On the student-facing end, your clients can research schools, attend virtual college fairs, complete their application work, collaborate with you, and in some cases directly submit applications all in one place. For colleges and universities, admissions officers can lead informational and recruitment events, identify high-talent applicants, and network with high school counselors. 

Looking at the benefits for IECs, college counselors and admissions advisors can streamline their advising work through features such as task assignment, student communication, research databases, and auto-generated reports on your results. Let’s walk through some of the most helpful features for IECs and admissions advisors. 

What features does Cialfo offer for admissions counselors? 

  1. Direct Apply and college portal integration Around 1,000 colleges and universities worldwide are paired with Cialfo. For many schools, this means that you’ll have access to recruitment and informational events. However, for all colleges in the UK and Australia, your students can submit their applications through Cialfo under their Direct Apply feature. Functioning similar to the Common App, after filling out the application in Cialfo, students can send their application off to the schools of their choice without reentering their information on another platform.  Though this feature is unfortunately unavailable for schools in the US, you can still benefit from Common App and Coalition App integration, where your students can automatically export the work they’ve done on Cialfo into the analogous sections of the official application platforms. Since copy-pasting essays and resume entries into another platform can run the risk of formatting issues or other mistakes, this ensures that the work you approve is exactly what your student will ultimately submit.

  2. College research Though you’re likely knowledgeable about the admissions world as an IEC, it’s hard to keep track of each data point — acceptance rates, tuition costs, supplemental prompts, due dates, and average SAT scores are constantly changing. Cialfo provides a database compiling all of this information for schools across the world, meaning that you’ll always have up-to-date statistics at hand. 

  3. Statistical analysis of your work Cialfo can auto-generate reports on your success as a counselor, comparing your students’ admissions results with their test ranges, application likelihood, and the strength of application essays and recommendation letters. Through this feature, you can demonstrate the strength of your skills to potential clients while simultaneously gaining insight into your successes and areas to improve in future work. 

  4. Client communication Cialfo facilitates messaging with students and parents through the platform itself, improving communication in real time. You can additionally assign tasks for your students to complete that are added to their profile to-do list. If you want to give multiple students the same assignment, you can mass-assign the task, bypassing the need to reenter the information on each student’s profile. Cialfo additionally offers a separate parent dashboard to keep them in the loop without needing to attend meetings or directly contact you for updates on their child’s progress. 

How much does Cialfo cost?

Cialfo does not publicize the cost of their software; they offer personalized pricing models based on the individual needs of schools and counselors. Factors such as number of students you work with and software features you’d be using may inform the ultimate price. Note that Cialfo is a subscription-based service. If you’re interested in trying out the platform before committing to a subscription, Cialfo does offer free initial demo periods. 

Pros and cons 


  • Direct Apply is great for international students — your students can apply to schools via the platform itself, similarly to the Common Application and Coalition Application. All schools in the UK and Australia are eligible for Direct Apply via Cialfo, and work can be directly exported to the Common App and Coalition App.

  • You can keep your work centralized — Cialfo includes a college research database, a letter of recommendation request portal, a list of all school supplemental essays, and an activity list builder all in one place. With the ability to export work directly into application portals, the software bypasses the need for multiple documents or platforms to complete work with your students. By integrating messaging services as well, you can also keep your email inbox decluttered. 


  • AI features could backfire — while the AI resume generator can definitely provide convenience, it is never advisable to use AI-generated content in college applications. While essays written by AI are more egregious violations, colleges want to see 100% original work. Many schools run applications through AI detection software, which can result in your application being flagged and deprioritized in the admissions process. Cialfo’s other AI features related to college matching and application advice also have strong potential for streamlining admissions work, you and your students will need to exercise caution and remember that AI models may not provide the most accurate results. 

  • Cialfo is mostly geared towards school counselors rather than IECs — Cialfo’s marketing predominantly targets those affiliated with a school or institution, which means some features of the software may not support the unique needs of independent consultants working with students from various high schools. In particular, Cialfo’s recruitment feature, which connects college admissions officers with high schools, may not be suitable for independent admissions advising. Nonetheless, online resources note that IECs are eligible to utilize the overall Cialfo software.

Our review

Overall, Cialfo is a creative software that has hard-to-find features, such as scheduling platform-specific college fairs with affiliated schools, Common App and Coalition App integration, and Direct Apply for select schools.

However, Cialfo directly markets itself to school counselors, and the website provides no details on its relevance to unaffiliated admissions consultants. As there is a large assortment of college counseling software directly indicated for IECs, utilizing one of these platforms can guarantee high value in that all features will be uniquely targeted towards supporting your work. 

Nonetheless, Cialfo’s support for international students is hard to beat — being affiliated with all colleges and universities in the UK and Australia has some incredible benefits. The Direct Apply feature is particularly noteworthy, as you’ll bypass application portals and keep all of your work in one place. If your students don’t typically apply to schools outside of the US, these benefits will be limited to application portal integration. 

In sum, if you commonly work with students interested in schools accepting Cialfo’s Direct Apply function, this may be worth the investment. If this feature will have limited benefits for your work, it may be a better choice to utilize an IEC-specific platform to advise your students. 

If you’d like to recommend a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

You can also reach out to us at to know more, or to have a chat about possible collaborations!

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Cialfo logo



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