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Why Hire An Educational Consultant?

Communications

Mark Montgomery works with Chinese studentsSome people ask why one would seek the assistance of a professional college counselor.  Different people may seek us out for different reasons.  But a good college consultant can do the following.

  • Pay attention to each student’s needs
  • Alleviate stress for both student and parent
  • Give the student a competitive edge
  • Eliminate the confusion
  • Save money

PERSONALIZED ATTENTION

College selection and application is a very time-consuming process.   Counseling—of all types—requires time and energy from a professional.  But school guidance counselors are overworked and have less time than perhaps they once did to give personalized college counseling.
The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) recommends that a college counselor work with no more than about one hundred students per year.  However, a study by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) measured the degree to which school counselors are overworked.

  • Nationwide, the average college counselor in a public high school serves 315 students. In Colorado, the public school student-to- counselor ratio is 553:1.
  • The student-to-college-counselor ratio is higher in large schools: nationally, in schools of more than 2000 students, the ratio is 654:1. Colorado has 18 high schools of this size–all along the Front Range.

Choosing a college is not something that is easily left to computer programs and mathematical algorithms.  The admissions process, while seemingly quite simple on its face, can necessitate different strategies and tactics for each individual student.  As public schools continue to reduce the number of guidance counselors, parents are turning to private counselors to ensure that their children get the direction they need and deserve.

ALLEVIATE STRESS

Choosing a college can be stressful for a variety of reasons.  First, parents, who have been nurturing their children since the day they were born, have a hard time delegating this important decision to their children.  Second, students are not always equipped to make this first great life decision:  most students have not made their own educational decisions or chosen their schools.  They may not possess the self-knowledge to make this decision, and may need to work through a process to develop a strong set of criteria on which to base this decision.
To make matters worse, the junior and senior years of high school can be very difficult for students.  They have many competing priorities to balance:  improving their grades, deepening their extracurricular commitments, and preparing for those annoying SAT and ACT tests (and don’t forget the difficulty of maintaining a social life!). For these reasons—and many others—the college selection and application process becomes a vortex of anxiety for everyone.
An experienced college consultant can help reassure nervous parents, guide students through a process of self-discovery, and ensure that all the administrative pieces are managed with efficiency and accuracy.  The transition from high school to college should be an exciting time in a young person’s life, full of anticipation and promise, and a professional college counselor can maintain the focus on the excitement—and not the stress.

COMPETITIVE EDGE

College admissions today seems much more competitive than ever before.  More and more students are applying to college, and each student is applying to more colleges.  Acceptance rates at selective colleges continue to decline.  So how can college-bound students give themselves a competitive edge?
As noted above, high school guidance counselors are overburdened.  So more and more families are turning to private consultants to help select the right colleges and guide the student through the admissions process.  According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), an estimated 22% of freshmen at private, four-year colleges have used some kind of consulting services in the admission process.
Private day and boarding schools have more robust college counseling programs than do public schools.  The student to counselor ratio at a private school may be as low as 50:1, compared to the national average of 315:1.  Obviously, some students are getting more help than others.
Good guidance in selecting the right schools and in completing the application can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.  We can help your son or daughter develop an appropriate college selection and admissions strategy to give them the best possible chance of reaching their educational goals.

ELIMINATE THE CONFUSION

One of the great benefits of the Internet age is that students and parents have much more access to enormous amounts of information.  With literally thousands of websites devoted to college selection and admission, parents and students can learn more about college admission than ever before.
But knowledge is not bliss: the overwhelming quantity of information that does little to clarify our vision and answer our individual questions.  Which information is useful?  Which sources can I trust?  Which information applies to my child’s particular situation?  The huge expansion of available information has created a new burden of having to sift through zillions of bits and bytes for useful tidbits.
An experienced college consultant can help do the sifting for you.  By focusing primarily on your student, the counselor can pull the information that is directly relevant to the student’s situation.  And because a good counselor also knows colleges well, he can select colleges that closely match the student’s needs, abilities, and ambitions.

SAVE YOU MONEY

In today’s economy, almost all parents are looking for a bargain in higher education.  The biggest sources of financial aid and scholarship money in the United States are the colleges and universities themselves.  Colleges award better financial aid and scholarship packages to the students that best match their institutional values and priorities.  Thus for the price-sensitive family, it is crucial that the student select colleges that are a perfect fit—not only for the student, but for the college.
While we can never guarantee a particular outcome, we have a strong record of helping families reduce the overall cost of a college education by carefully selecting the right colleges to which to apply.  Even families that do not expect any financial aid often find that working with us can save them tens of thousands of dollars in tuition bills.
So while hiring an educational consultant may seem like a hefty cost, many families are surprised at how much money they can save by hiring an experienced college consultant.

Read five more reasons to hire a college consultant.

Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant

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