10 Tips for Hiring an Independent Educational Consultant

Raising a teenager through their high school years is one of the most exciting periods of parenthood. Your child is adapting to new responsibilities, becoming active in their community and social lives, exploring extracurricular activities and daydreaming about what’s next.

It’s also a period where many parents lose sleep worrying about their teen’s future.

Thinking about and preparing for college is a big source of worry. Few decisions in life carry greater importance than where to apply to and attend college. That one decision can change your teen’s life trajectory in immeasurable ways. If you’re a parent who feels stressed when it comes to college, you’re not alone! And there are opportunities to resolve much of that worry.

A comprehensive and personalized solution is to hire an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC). An independent educational consultant can offer objective advice, provide you access to reliable information, and the individual attention necessary to make informed decisions. For example, simply picking the “right” schools to apply to involves more than choosing a few popular options. By choosing the best fit schools to apply to, your teen increases their likelihood of finding a school where they will thrive and graduate. It’s more than just picking schools where a student can “get in.”

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What do you look for if you want to hire an Independent Educational Consultant to work with your family?

1. If the consultant guarantees admission to a school, or to one of your top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships, do not hire them. (Do not trust any offer of guarantees.) Guarantees like that are not ethical or legal.

2. Ask the consultant about their background. Have they worked for a college, school district or higher education in some way? How many years have they been consulting? Do they have referrals or client testimonials?

3. Likewise, ask them about the conferences and training workshops they attend, and any professional associations where they are members. This demonstrates that they’re staying informed with the latest information for your family, and they are upholding the standards of the industry. Two of the major associations are NACAC and IECA.

4. Ask the consultant to share how they keep up with new trends, academic changes, and evolving campus cultures. How often do they get out and visit colleges, schools/programs and meet with admission representatives? In my work, I aim to visit around 50 campuses a year.

5. Ask about their fees. Be sure you’re clear on all fees for services up front and in writing. Will their services include completing the application for admission, re-writing essays, or filling out the financial aid forms on your teen’s behalf? They should not. it is essential that the student be responsible for their own work. The consultant can advise and support but this work must be done only by the student (not even parents should do the work for students :-)).

6. Ask if the consultant has any specialized training for students ifthis applies to your child (e.g. LD, gifted, athletics, arts, music, etc.).

7. Do not hire a consultant if they promise to use their “connections” to secure admission to a particular school or college. This is both unethical and illegal.

8. Do not hire a consultant if they tell you not to worry about all the details on the financial aid and application forms, because they’ll handle all those for you. Again, this is unethical and illegal.

9. Ask the consultant about the college application essay. How do they support students with the essay? Do not hire any consultant that says they will edit the essay for your student until it’s for certain that it will “get them in”.

10. Finally, do you feel informed, comfortable and reassured after meeting the consultant? It’s important to work with someone that you feel trust and confidence with, since you’re hiring them to guide your family through this in-depth process.

As a mom and member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), I understand the emotional roller coaster that families ride throughout high school. My firm specializes in helping students find the colleges that feel like home, where they can fit in and thrive.

I have visited more than 400 colleges and universities internationally to gain insight into their varying cultures and to explore the range of academic and social opportunities available to students on campus. Because my team works directly for your family, we have the scheduling flexibility and time necessary to partner with you for your teen’s success.

If you’re curious about taking the first step to determine if we may be a fit to work together to achieve your family’s college goals, please schedule a complimentary Discover Session with me HERE.

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