The truth is you may not need a college consultant! Here are three ways to approach this part of your child’s educational journey. Your child’s high school counselor can provide support for the application process, you can tackle it on your own, or you and your child can work with a professional college consultant.
Why all the pressure? Anyone with children, especially ones in high school, views this as the final big step as a parent – successfully navigating high school and sending them to college. Not to put any more pressure on you or your child: It is also one of the two most expensive financial decisions your child will make, with a home purchase likely being the second.
Today’s high school senior faces a competitive field. Not even a perfect SAT score is insurance. Case in point: Stanford turned away 69% of the perfect SAT score applicants in a given five year period. College applicants need a resume with rigorous curriculum, leadership, community service, and a musical instrument or varsity sport wouldn’t hurt either.
Don’t cringe at the thought that you should be strategic in this process. Higher learning institutions analyze their applicants to build the student body they want while remaining profitable. Many employ enrollment managers to develop policies for maximizing revenue and achieving the student body which makes the national ranking lists. Read “The Best Class Money Can Buy” in the November 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly for a full explanation of how universities have applied pricing techniques used by the airlines, i.e., the fellow sitting next to you did not pay the same price for his ticket that you paid.
Alternatives to a College Consultant
With the help of a high school guidance counselor your child could take the lead and manage the process on his own.
PRO: After all that’s the way we did it. Remember how easy it was? Tear the application off a pad, fill it out, send in the application fee, and voila – you’re off to university!
CON: While today’s guidance counselor may enjoy the college application process most of all their duties, many carry a caseload of over 400+ students and simply cannot devote the time to each student. Guidance counselors often don’t know each student well enough to personally guide them through this process. Your child may find the process overwhelming but be reluctant to ask for help. The Independent Educational Consultants Association shares important insights to how much assistance you can expect from your child’s high school guidance counselor:
Do the research yourself and provide the guidance your child needs to manage this process.
PRO: You’ll learn a lot!
CON: When parents guide their child through this process, tensions can arise that spoil the senior year. You may find the process overwhelming and not know where to get help. These are among our favorite books parents may find useful:
The Gatekeepers by Jacques Steinberg
Acceptance by David L. Marcus
I’m Going to College – Not You! by Jennifer Delhunty
Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean by Joyce Slayton Mitchell
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Brun
Why Choose a College Consultant
Hire professionals like Winter Park College Consultants to assist you and your child in this process.
PRO: You can be confident that experienced graduate-level professionals certified in their field are guiding your child in this all important process. And you have access to someone who is taking the time to know your child, consider your families’ needs, and guide you in your role in the college application process. There are 10 Important Ways IECA Members Are Unlike Other Independent Educational Consultants.
Look for an experienced, graduate-level professional certified in their field that will help you:
- Find the school that is the best fit for your child.
- Identify schools which will maximize scholarship offers and financial aid.
- Tailor advice and services to your child’s interests and your concerns and finances.
CON: Professional college consultants are a fee-based service costing thousands of dollars.
While that might sound like a lot of money, remember that you are investing in the second biggest financial decision your child will ever make. Investing in the college application process could reap untold rewards. Many clients who had dismissed the idea of a costly private college discovered that the right application led to the right scholarships which led to the right school.
This might seem like a lot to take in. It is! But don’t lose heart. The fact that you’re asking this question means that you’re on the right track. Whatever you choose, know that investing in your child’s college experience is well worth the time, effort, and money.