I'm beginning to agree that it may be a waste of money but I'll play devil's advocate just to make sure.
StevePirates wrote, "If you are on the lower borderline of the schools you want to go to, then it might be worth your while". Well, we're all on (or were on) the borderline with respect to our "reach" schools so would it not make sense for those who apply to a "reach" school to seek a little assistance and don't most people apply to at least one "reach" school? My thoughts are that you're really paying $1500 for a consultant so they can push you over that imaginary line and get you into that "reach" school.
One last point, if money were no object, wouldn't we all leverage off a consultant? And that being said, doesn't that point to the notion that there may be, how ever small, some utility in getting a little professional help with applications?
Thanks again for the good advice. Isn't there at least one person out there who used a consultant and can speak to the other side of this topic?