Independent college counselors: You may have heard of them. These counselors are sometimes referred to as Independent Educational Consultants. Follow centralfallout to get updated.
They can be self-employed or work for consulting companies. Independent College Counselors help students and their families with the college application and search process.
Independent college counselors With whom do they work?
Counselors work with families who are seeking a more holistic approach to applying to colleges. High school counselors can be a great resource. It may not be easy for them to devote as much time to individual students. They may have many students to work with and other obligations.
Independent counselors spend hours with students applying to colleges and their families to get to know them and determine the best college for them. Students can also be helped by them to consider colleges that they might not have considered. These counselors are committed to finding the best schools for students. These counselors aren’t in it to make money, but to help students succeed at college.
What can they do to help?
Counselors are available to help students with certain parts of their applications. This includes proofreading essays and practicing interviews. Students should be ready and able to explain why they are qualified to apply to a particular school. Counselors are available to help students make pro and con lists and assist them in the application process. They may be able connect students with former clients who went to the schools they are interested in.
Independent counselors are not employed by colleges and universities. They don’t push students to attend certain schools, no matter what the best option is for them. Counselors are paid for by the student and their families. They will be able to work together with the counselor to determine the best options for them.
Student participation in extracurricular activities may be of importance to them. The counselor may talk to the student about ways they can make their experience more valuable when applying to other schools. The counselor may encourage students to try out these activities even if they have little experience. Students can start by getting involved in student government, athletics or band.
Independent and high school counselors can be great resources for college applications. However, you don’t have to be a senior or junior in high school to begin this process. You will be able to plan ahead and get ahead of the curve. We have great tips for sophomores and freshmen to help you do this.
Why should you hire an independent college consultant?
You don’t need to hire an independent consultant if you can access the internet and many college websites yourself. Great question.
Reason 1: A consultant independent of your family can offer objective advice to you and your family.
If you only work with an admissions counselor at a particular college, you will only hear one side of the story. That is the point of view of that college. Independent college consultants offer unbiased information and accurate information about multiple schools.
Reason 2: Things are different now than they were back in the day.
Because nothing has changed from their college days, your parents might feel like fish out the water.
As an admission counselor, one of my dads used to say, “Back then we chose between two college and that was it.”
Yes, times have changed. You can apply to as many as 10 colleges across the country today.
Reason 3: An independent college consultant can provide transparency on many matters.
Counselors for college should provide guidance regarding the college search. They can also offer information about:
- SAT/ACT scores
- Senior year courses
- Extracurricular activities
- Recommendations for teachers
- Application for early decision or action
- Review of essays and applications
- Preparing for college interviews
- Financial aid advice
- FAFSA and CSS Profile Advice
- Final college decisions
Reason 4: An independent consultant may be a better choice.
Let’s face facts, children, your parents might not know everything. To a certain extent, you might be right. (Sorry Mom and Dad, don’t be mad if this is your first time reading it.
Parents may be a bit like a fish out the water. You may also respect an independent consultant’s opinion more than your parents.
Remember that your parents know you better than you, and may even be more so than you. They still have valuable nuggets to share. They are worth your time.
Reason 5: A college consultant can help you find the right fit.
Independent college consultants can help you choose the right school for you.
The right fit might not include your parents’ or older siblings’ school. For your individual personality, academic goals and interests, the best fit is what makes sense.
Your college counselor should get to know you well in order to help you choose the best school.
Reason 6: A consultant may be able to introduce you to an idea for a college that you haven’t considered.
You thought you would always attend a huge university, but you didn’t consider other options like a liberal arts college.
Independent college consultants may be able to recognize traits in you and offer you ideas.
You never know when you might find a hidden gem you didn’t even know existed!
Why you may not want an independent consultant
You might also think that you are able to do it all on your own. Before you decide to take action, you need to consider these things.
Reason 1: They are expensive.
The cost of a meeting can be as low as $250 for one hour or as high at several thousand dollars for a package which provides unlimited support for 11th and/12th graders.
Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), reported that 2018 college advising packages fees ranged between $850 and $10,000, while average packages ranged between $4,000 and $6,000.
Reason 2: You may not need one.
Are you a high-achieving student with excellent test scores and grades? Are you able to afford college without relying on your parents’ financial resources? Are you able to clearly see the college you would like to attend, and can you create a game plan for how you will get in?
Sometimes all you need is to reach out to admissions counselors at colleges or college websites.
You might be able to get help for free.
Reason 3: It is possible that you might not get along with the independent consultant you select.
What happens if your parents (or you) make a poor hire? This is not a place to waste money.
We have all heard about “educational consultants” who pose as experts in media. Their unethical practices can lead to a bad situation for everyone.
Ethical educational consultants, on the other hand, will guide you to your best college match. They will also help you identify your greatest qualities and steer away from schools that aren’t right for you. This could lead to you and your family taking a greater financial hit than needed.
How to find the right independent consultant for you
You have to decide who you should hire to help you navigate the maze of college search.
This is how you find the best independent consultant for your needs.
Step 1: Locate a counselor near you.
You might be able to get a college consultant from Puerto Rico, Japan or other countries through Zoom meetings. Sometimes, however, the best consultants are local to what’s happening in colleges.
Check the IECA to verify that the college consultant you are interested in working with has the following qualifications:
- You must have visited at most 50 colleges
- You must work with at most 50 clients
- A master’s degree was earned in a related field
- Three years of experience in counseling and admissions
- Three professional recommendations were submitted
Hire someone with a IECA membership. All IECA counselors must apply and pay dues. Check out Jason Vallozzi, Campus To Career Crossroads’s qualifications.
Step 2: Get word-of mouth recommendations
Ask around! Ask around if you know of a neighbor who used an independent college counselor.
Ask professionals who are involved in college-related services such as admissions counselors. Asking friends and family can help you get far.
Step 3: Make an appointment.
Ask the following questions to select three or four college consultants that you may want to hire:
- What is the best way to work with students?
- How often do students meet you? How accessible are you?
- Are you able to edit essays?
- What length of time have you been an independent consultant for? Are you a member or not of NACAC?
- Which were your results? What colleges have you worked with that admit students?
- Could you please give me the contact information of a few clients?
- What is your charging rate?
Think about whether an Independent College Consultant might be a good hire for you
Next steps: Perform some research.
Confirm that the counselor is a member of NACAC or IECA.
Avoid people who don’t have websites. This means she is not a seasoned entrepreneur or tech-savvy, which can be a problem if you plan to use online applications.
You should also be aware that the person you are considering teaming up with may not be able to point to specific results, won’t edit essays for style or substance, and/or responds slowly to your questions.