The Highlands Company Blog

Using the Highlands Ability Battery in Your College Admissions Consulting Practice: Series Intro

Marc Gray is the founder of Odyssey College Prep and Director of College Counseling Relations for the Highlands Company, where he helps IECs and college counselors use aptitude testing to enhance their practice.

Aptitude specialists can talk about the benefits of aptitude testing for days.[1] To us, it’s obvious. With an aptitude assessment, we can guide students to pick a college major.[2][3][4] But it doesn’t end there. We can determine how high school students learn.[5] Just as quickly, we can surmise a student’s talent for music[6] and foreign language.[7] And yet, why do parents we meet often decline to test their children after we’ve explained the value of aptitude testing? A question we’ll help to address and overcome throughout the upcoming series of articles.

Growing Your Aptitude Testing Services

While writing this, I remember starting my aptitude testing practice. I was a newly certified Highlands Consultant. Furthermore, I had an evangelical zeal for testing and was on a mission to give every student in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB). I believed in the assessment. To this day, I maintain that the HAB might be the exact tool the education system needs to match students with their dream jobs. And still, I had a problem. I couldn’t convince the bulk of my parents how aptitude testing could empower their students.

However, after years of trial and error, selling aptitude testing has become markedly more effective. I am at a point now where selling assessment services no longer feels unattainable. When I’m feeling cocky, it’s even easy. And most days, it’s a lot of fun. Now, it drives almost half of my business’ revenue.

Selling, for some of us, is hard. I’ve learned that selling aptitude testing doesn’t have to be. In this series, I’ll share some tips on how to promote aptitude testing in your college counseling practice. Specifically, we’ll explore three ways to use and sell the service as part of your collection of consulting services. While I wrote this series to help Independent Educational Consultants, any consultant will find value by applying the practices we discuss.

How to Sell the Aptitude Testing to Parents of High School Students

Perhaps you’ve encountered this before and can relate. You know the HAB inside and out. You appreciate the clarity it’s given you in our own professional development.[8] You regret not having access to aptitude testing technology sooner. If you did, perhaps your college experience and the lion’s share of your twenties would have been much easier (mine sure would have been).

Yet often times explaining the merits of the HAB to parents can be challenging. If you find that parents consistently overlook the value of an aptitude assessment and your consulting services, your messaging likely has a problem. To fix that, we’ll devote an entire article to help resolve what may be causing your efforts to fall short.

How a College Admissions Counselor Can Use the Highlands Ability Battery in their Practice

If you advise high school students, the HAB provides obvious utility. You can test them, debrief them, give them access to the career exploration report, advise them, and call it a day. However, most parents and students want more from their testing experience.

As a college admissions counselor and aptitude testing consultant, you should be able to provide them with more. It’s always a good business practice to overdeliver. Your clients won’t complain, and they’re much more likely to tell their friends about you.

What else can the Highlands Ability Battery give students beyond career suggestions?

The short answer is quite simple: a lot.

  • Foreign Language Guidance
  • Musical Aptitude Measurements
  • Optimal College Size Fit
  • Medical Aptitude Alignment

We’ll devote another article explaining how the HAB can offer your student these insights. This article will build on its predecessor. In other words, you’ll learn how to integrate the value your services provide for your clients in your sales pitch. After all, it’s not what you love about the HAB; it’s about how the HAB can benefit your clients by providing solutions. Our sales skyrocket when we spend more time digging into what our clients want and need.

Why? Because people invest in things that will satisfy their needs. Humans are problem solvers. CEO of StoryBrand Donald Miller wrote that your marketing and sales copy should help your customers envision life with their problems solved.”[9]

The moment we find out what problems they have is the moment we can tell them how your aptitude services will help resolve them.

How IECs Can Market Their Aptitude Testing Services

As you read this series, you’ll learn how to promote aptitude testing services beyond just selling. In an article I recently wrote for CounselMore, an educational college planning software company, I wrote that [The Highlands Company] devotes resources to ensuring its consultants possess the necessary tools to deliver practical excellence to their clients.”[10]

It’s true. When you, the consultant, win, they win. The Highlands Company provides its consultants with extensive resources to inform and raise awareness in the understanding of aptitudes and in the marketing of the HAB.

So, discussing how you can better use the HAB to promote your business behooves us. We’ll explore a few primary marketing channels to help you. You’ve likely heard of them before but indulge me and keep reading. They include the following:

  • Write Informative Helpful Blogs Your Clients Want To Read
  • Strategically Use Google Reviews (emphasis on strategically)
  • Ensure That Your Aptitude Testing Debriefs Meets Your Client’s Needs

Admittedly, this article will be the most technical. Depending on their length, such technicalities may require us to break them into two pieces. Regardless, we’ll explore practices you can use to get more clients, grow your business, and become recognized in your community as an industry leader in aptitude testing.


If these topics sound helpful to you, please follow along as the series continues. If you do, you’ll save time honing your sales pitch and learn to show your clients the value you add. Additionally, there exists a thousand ways to waste money on marketing.[11] And if you’re a new consultant just starting your practice, you can’t afford to throw good money into marketing that doesn’t work. So read the final article to learn how to use efficient marketing that promotes your brand and keeps your business profitable.

If you’d like to stay up to date on aptitude tips, make sure you subscribe to the Highlands Company’s Newsletter. If you’re new to the Highlands Company and considering becoming an aptitude testing consultant, CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation with me to learn how aptitude testing can grow your college counseling practice.

Brief Bio:

Highlands Consultant Marc Gray is the founder of Odyssey College Prep and the Director of College Counseling Relations for the Highlands Company, where he helps IECs and college counselors use aptitude testing to enhance their practice. Marc specializes in using aptitude testing to help students create impactful research projects to differentiate their college applications. With ten years of experience in the test prep industry, Marc uses cutting-edge technology with his staff of tutors to show students how they best learn and how to optimize their testing experience including helping to raise their ACT and SAT scores.

Works Cited

[1] The Highlands Company. “How the Highlands Ability Battery Differs from Other Assessments.” Highlands Ability Battery, 15 March 2021, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[2] The Highlands Company. “How to Help Your Kids Pick a College Major or Decide if College is Right.” Highlands Ability Battery, 25 October 2021, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[3] The Highlands Company. “Career & College Major Test for College & High School Students.” Highlands Ability Battery, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[4] Gray, Marcus. “Using Aptitude Test To Pick College Major | Career Planning.” Odyssey College Prep, 25 October 2022, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[5] The Highlands Company. “Specialized Abilities and How You Learn Best | The Highlands Company.” Highlands Ability Battery, 15 November 2016, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[6] The Highlands Company. “Specialized Music Abilities – The Highlands Company.” Highlands Ability Battery, 15 September 2016, Accessed 31 March 2023.

[7] Gray, Marcus. “Benefits Of High School Aptitude Test – Pt 2.” Odyssey College Prep, 30 September 2022, Accessed 31 March 2023.

[8] The Highlands Company. “Professional Development Program – Leadership Development Assessment.” Highlands Ability Battery, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[9] Miller, Donald, and JJ Peterson Ph.D. “The Framework That Makes Marketing Easy.” Building a StoryBrand, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[10] Gray, Marcus. “How to Use Aptitude Testing In Your College Counseling Business.”, CounselMore, 23 Feb 2023, Accessed 30 March 2023.

[11] Miller, Donald. “3 of the Worst Ways Small Businesses Waste Money on Marketing.” Building a StoryBrand, Accessed 30 March 2023.