Independent educational consultants don’t really have an “off season”. Like professional athletes, we are either actively engaged in the game, or we are training for the upcoming season.
The nature of my practice is such that the hours I work are oftentimes late afternoons, evenings and weekends, because that’s when students and families find it convenient to work with me. My practice is not limited to the uber wealthy; nationally, less than one third of those using educational consultants would be described as wealthy/upper middle class. As an independent college admissions counselor, I do more than just meet directly with families. I do research, I make phone calls, I teach my students the skills they need to succeed in the college admissions game, and I travel. A lot. According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association(IECA), the average independent college advisor does 19 evaluative college visits a year.
The news stories about counselors charging ungodly amounts for their services? Those are certainly attention-getting, but not reflective of reality. Even multi-year contracts are designed to be affordable for most families. Services are also available on an hourly or “mini-package” basis.
Nationally, the student/school counselor ratio is almost 500:1. 60% of all high school students in the US report receiving NO college advising services. On average, a public school counselor will spend a total of 38 minutes during all four years of high school providing personal college counseling. While the situation may be somewhat better in private schools or affluent public school districts, quality support and guidance for this important decision is not always readily available.
According to statistics compiled by IECA, students who work with independent advisors are over three times as likely to attend a school out of state, and are over four times as likely to attend a private college.
College choice works best when it is treated as an ongoing process, with appropriate supports and opportunities. This is the time of year for families of sophomores and juniors to get in the game!