What Questions You Should Ask Your Educational Consultant

If you’ve never worked with an educational consultant, you likely have more questions than answers about what to expect. Creating a new partnership can be unpredictable, nerve-wracking and altogether confusing — but it doesn’t have to be.

The Independent Educational Consultants Association suggests 12 questions to ask before partnering with an educational consultant. By ensuring an educational consultant meets and upholds standards for excellence, you can feel more confident embarking in your new partnership.

12 Questions to Ask Your Potential Educational Consultant

  1. Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships?

    Educational consultants are not able to make any sort of guarantees related to admission or scholarships. Do NOT trust any offer of guarantees.

  2. How often do you get out and visit college, school, and program campuses and meet with admissions representatives?

    Campus visits are an essential part of the search for the right school. The only way to know if a student is the right match is to meet him or her and get a feel for their goals and talents. The IECA suggests a minimum of 20 campus visits per year — your educational consultant should regularly facilitate these meetings.

  3. Do you belong to any professional associations?

    The two names you’ll want to hear are NACAC and IECA. These are the only two associations for independent educational consultants with established and rigorous standards for membership. If your potential educational consultant has either of these credentials, you can rest assured that he or she has reliable credentials.

  4. 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?
  5. Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral?

    If the answer is “yes,” this is an absolute red flag! Not only is this practice unethical, but it may also comprise the educational consultants’ ability to identify the best match in an unbiased manner.

  6. Are all fees involved stated in writing, up front, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees?
  7. Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf?

    Educational consultants should never be responsible for these materials. It is essential that all materials be a product of the student’s own, best work. Educational consultants can offer guidance and training, but should never complete materials on behalf of the child or family.

  8. How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)?
  9. What was your background prior to going into independent educational consulting? What was your training and education?
  10. Will you use personal connections to get students into their top choices?

    The answer should be no. IECs are not responsible for getting students admitted to a school. Rather, they provide students and families tools and guidance to help demonstrate why the student deserves to be admitted.

  11. What specialized training do you have (LD, gifted, athletics, arts, etc.)?
  12. Do you adhere to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA?

Once you’ve asked your potential educational consultant these questions, you can confidently determine if he or she is a credible, reliable partner.

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