With independent educational consultants, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for!
If you were searching for an eye surgeon, would you go with the cheapest one you could find? Probably not. After all, these are your EYES!
You would likely ask for recommendations, research the professional background of the surgeon, find out how many surgeries he or she had performed, etc.
The same holds true for selecting an independent educational consultant or college planner.
Some private colleges can cost a family more than $250,000 over four years. In-state public colleges may be less expensive, but they may also not have the level of scholarships available and may not end up costing less than a private college who really wants your student. For example, Loyola University Maryland offered one of my 2021 students a $30,000 scholarship, whereas the University of South Carolina-Columbia (a public school) only offered a third as much.
When you’re making a substantial investment in your student, you want to make sure you weigh all options and find the absolute best fit.
As a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, I have an extensive knowledge of colleges, can broaden your student’s potential choices, and provide vital help in weighing factors such as your student’s passions, costs, location, and curriculum.
Here’s an example:
One student I worked with was Gabe, an intelligent young man with learning differences.
He had been attending a music preparatory program at a respected college in his home town. The college wanted him as an undergraduate student, and he wanted to go there to be close to home. He was concerned about moving out of his comfort zone. However, his parents wanted him to think bigger and grow musically. I showed him other music programs and explained that they didn’t need to be too far away.
“He didn’t want a large school or to be too far from home, she helped direct him to the right program. He ended up at Catholic University of America. It wasn’t his first choice, but when he did the first piano audition, they called him, and got him scholarships,” said his Mom.
How did that work out for him?
“Gabe graduated last year and is doing his Masters in Piano Performance, also at CUA, so she (Dr. Klaar) really helped him make the best choice for him (perfect school size, location, great piano teachers…). He felt comfortable enough to not apply for any support and found his own way of studying and made it through college successfully (Cum Laude and Dean’s list seven semesters out of eight!)” Gabe’s Mom later reported.
Hearing that brought tears to my eyes. That’s why I’m passionate about what I do. I understand the importance of taking the time to get to know students and their families well enough to create a college career path for each student’s unique goals and strengths.
I use a friendly but no-nonsense, no-excuses style to work with students to help make the college search, application and essay process a delightful adventure of self-discovery and growth. Along the way, I help students learn to make more informed decisions and to own the process.
That’s why students trust me, respect my knowledge and experience, and work hard to meet their assignments and deadlines.
That knowledge and experience is hard-earned; I belong to all the top College Consultant professional organizations, and was the third college consultant to be honored with the Prestigious Steven R. Antonoff Award for Professional Achievement by the Independent Educational Consultants Association.
Before you make the important decision to select an independent college consultant for your family, ask these questions:
- Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships? (Do NOT trust any offer of guarantees.)
- How do you keep up with new trends, academic changes, and evolving campus cultures? How often do you get out and visit college, school, and program campuses and meet with admissions representatives? (The ONLY way to know about the best matches for you is to be out visiting schools regularly – post pandemic, of course.)
- Do you belong to any professional associations? (The National Association for College Admission Counseling and the Higher Education Consultants Association along with the IECA are the primary associations for independent educational consultants with established and rigorous standards for membership.)
- Do you attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law? (This is a must!)
- Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral? (They absolutely should not!)
- Are all fees involved stated in writing, up front, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees? (Absolutely mandatory.)
- Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf? (No, they should NOT; it is essential that the student be in charge of the process and all materials should be a product of the student’s own, best work.)
- How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)? (A long tenure with documented professional accomplishments buys you expertise.)
While anyone can hang out a shingle and claim to be an independent educational consultant or college counselor, it pays to go beyond price and ask the important questions.