There are so many benefits to working with an Educational Consultant and I can’t wait to share them with you. Before I jump into it, I want to share with you my personal story of why I chose to go into independent educational consulting.

Why I chose to become an Educational Consultant.

My journey to becoming an Educational Consultant starts in 1991 when I was a senior in high school, trying to figure out my post-secondary plans.  I knew I wanted (or was supposed) to go to college but I was also very interested in traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and immersing myself into the language and culture before starting college.  I may have met with my high school college counselor once or twice during my whole high school career, so I was pretty much on my own trying to navigate this unknown territory.  My high school Spanish teacher told me about a program where I could spend a year as a high school exchange student abroad after completing high school in the U.S.  This sounded perfect to me and I started the application process.

As my exchange student admission process was being finalized, my parents began to doubt my safety abroad due to the Persian Gulf War. Even though my destination was not going to be near the Persian Gulf, the war made them uneasy about my safety and suddenly, my gap year plans came to a halt and that was it.

During all this time of uncertainty, we did not have anyone assisting my parents with their concerns or guiding me toward all of my options. I decided to focus on my back up plan to go to college right after high school and chose a university somewhat haphazardly since I received very little guidance through this extremely important college search process. 

My first year of college was filled with insecurity. I was overwhelmed and felt completely lost in what I really wanted to do with my life.  I ended up spending the year crying more than I would like to admit and transferred to another university the following year. 

My story is a common one for students who do not have adequate support or guidance to help them through the process of making one of the most important decisions of their young adult lives: their post-secondary plans. 

One of my biggest regrets is not having quality educational guidance during high school. The minimal postsecondary guidance I received in high school, my failed attempt to participate in a gap year, and my challenging first year of college is why I now fully understand the benefits of working with an independent educational consultant (IEC). 

An IEC helps guide students like me along the unfamiliar path to life after high school and ultimately can help save families time, money, heartache, and provide a stress-free experience.

Here are 5 reasons why working with an educational consultant can reduce student debt and increase the chances of graduating with a degree.

#1: An Educational Consultant can find budget-friendly options.

The first concern that comes to my mind when considering hiring an expert like an Educational Consultant is how much is this going to cost? Many assume it will cost more than they can afford and convince themselves they can do it on their own. In reality, a professional IEC is there to help families save money, time and stress by guiding students toward their true goals and intentions and preventing all the trial and errors, which can be extremely costly in the long run.

Most professional educational consultants offer free initial consultations.

Interested in having a free consultation with me? Book time for us here.

I recommend requesting several consultations from different educational consultants to learn more about the unique services they provided, the cost differences, and to determine the right fit for you and your family. Most IECs offer the option to request a free consultation directly on their websites, by email, or phone. You are only one click away from exploring your future savings.

Comprehensive packages, hourly rates, or both – which option to choose?

You definitely should explore the different payment options educational consultants provide. First, consider how much time you/your student needs to work with a consultant. Are you wanting to start services the freshman year of high school, sophomore or junior year, or during the final year of high school? Are you/your student in need of more time to learn about all of the educational opportunities after high school, including gap year possibilities? Those with more questions, guidance and assistance needed may find that purchasing a comprehensive package with unlimited contact time would be the most cost-efficient avenue. 

Are you/your student on track with what you want to do after high school but need targeted help with applications, essays, interviews, or selecting the best school or program?  Those with more specific guidance needs may find an hourly rate more cost effective. Some consultants provide both hourly and comprehensive package rates and/or may offer the opportunity to start out hourly with the option to change to a comprehensive package should your needs change. 

Financial Accessibility: One of the myths that can prevent students and families from utilizing independent educational consulting services is that only the elite and wealthy have access to it. 

According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) in 2020, the truth is only 28 percent of client families are wealthy/upper class. 

Fifty (50%) percent of IEC clients are middle class and 26 percent of clients are working class, lower middle class or impoverished.  The majority of students and families that work with IECs are public school students attending large suburban schools who are receiving little guidance from their high school counselors. 

Some educational consultants provide scholarship opportunities that are need-based and/or diversity, equity, and inclusion based, giving access to services for all students.  Be sure to ask educational consultants if they offer any scholarships – these are not always advertised on websites.  

Choosing what to do after high school is a monumental decision, and if not handled carefully, can financially drain a family.  

Find consultants who offer free initial consultations to help you get started! 

Here’s where you can book a free initial consultation with me.

#2: An Educational Consultant is an unbiased professional.

The right IEC doesn’t take sides!  Seriously, high quality educational consultants are dedicated to working for you and only you. If you choose to work with an educational consultant, you are working with an independent expert who is not getting commission for their consulting services.  

IEC’s are working for students and families – not schools or programs.

Agents, on the other hand, are contracted and paid by particular institutions to refer clients to their specific schools or programs and are strictly working for the interest of the institution that is paying them.  

On the other hand, educational consultants are third-party mediators serving students and families. Mediators help alleviate the stress that can build up between parents and students as they are deciding on their postsecondary options.  I can’t tell you how many parents and students I meet who are completely overwhelmed by the college planning process, and stress is often the number one complaint I hear from both sides. 

Educational consultants help remove stress and add relief during this important and inevitable transition.

Professional Associations and ethical practices – Look for educational consultants who are members of national educational consulting associations, which may include specialized and regional memberships. These professional educational consultant associations oftentimes screen members and provide ethical principles and standards to follow to maintain membership.

My credentials include: Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Gap Year Association Consultant, and the International Association for College Admission Counseling.

Look for association membership logos on educational consultants’ signatures and websites to confirm credibility.


#3: You get personalized attention from your Educational Consultant.

A public high school student receives approximately 30 minutes of one-on-one counseling from their college counselor during the ENTIRE four years of high school.

This is not enough.  Students and families need more time with a professional expert in deciding what they are going to do with their lives after high school. Independent educational consultants are available to do just this.  Students can start meeting with their IEC in 9th grade, if preferred, all the way through high school. Some educational consultants even offer support after high school graduation to help with the transition to their new school or program. 

Educational consultants provide a variety of personalized consulting which may include the following:

    • Admission Interview Preparation   
    • Career Assessments
    • College Application Assistance     
    • College Search Guidance
    • Essay Tutoring
    • Financial Aid/Scholarship Planning
    • Gap year options/College Deferrals
    • High School Curriculum Planning
    • Summer Program Options
    • First Year Transitional Support

    #4: Educational Consultants have many resources and connections traditional counselors don’t have.

    Educational consultants have access to a wide variety of resources.  Many IECs are former high school college counselors or university admission representatives and understand the entire inquiry-to-admission process for various educational institutions and programs. There are also numerous professional conferences, list servs, affinity and regional consultant groups, for IECs to tap into. IECs do site visits to schools and programs throughout the U.S. and abroad, meeting admission counselors and program directors, assessing quality standards, and getting the feel for the communities. This is especially helpful for families who are unable to travel to all of these locations. IECs keep busy year-round collecting as much information as possible to share with potential students and families.

    A professional IEC brings the campus or program to you to help guide your decision-making process.

    IECs may have more than one designated specialty within their practice, such as advising for day or boarding schools (K-12), college, therapeutic, learning disabilities/neurodiversity, athletes, graduate and professional school, international, gap year, and many more. 

    #5: Educational Consultants will help you get the right fit for your needs.

    Remember that statistic that approximately one-third of college students do not return to their college after the first year? 

    This is why finding the right fit is a NECESSITY!

    Finding the right fit for an educational program, whether it’s finding a college/university or taking an intentional gap year, does not mean finding an educational environment where everyone acts and looks the same as you.  Finding the right fit is about investigating with an IEC an environment that provides you the opportunity for continued personal growth – a place to thrive.  And thriving looks differently for each student.  Some students thrive when surrounded by familiar surroundings whereas other students need to be more challenged and uncomfortable. 

    Finding the right fit is intentionally digging deep into one’s personal values, interests, and goals rather than choosing something others think is best, and this is VERY hard to do as a teenager.  We are often influenced by what our peers are doing or what our parents think is best for us rather than truly discovering what our unique needs are to thrive.  Honestly, many teenagers have no idea what type of environment they will thrive in until they take the time to self-reflect and discover opportunities beyond what they have been exposed to.  This is where the right independent educational consultant can help guide and support students to find an educational program that is the right fit for them.  

    For more information about the benefits of working with an independent educational consultant, please schedule a free consultation here.