Do You Need a College Admissions Counselor?

Do You Need a College Admissions Counselor?

College admissions are intense! Are your applications, essays and standardized tests good enough? Will you get in? Can you afford it? According to USA Today, more and more parents are hiring college admissions counselors to guide their children through the daunting process – and one recent study estimating that 26% of “high achieving” students now make use of such counselors. Plenty of students get into their preferred schools without counselors, but if you don’t have the time for extensive research and the money is not an issue, finding a counselor might be the most convenient choice.

The field of college admissions counselors is unregulated, including many one- and two-person operations, as well as more impressive-sounding businesses that brag about their clients’ track records. To add some credibility to the process, the Higher Education Consultants Association, which represents 500 of the counselors in the field and is one of the two organizations of these counselors, has just adopted its first detailed ethics code, reflecting some of the issues in the field. The other organization, the Independent Educational Consultants Association, already has a detailed ethics code. For example, counselors are banned from taking payments from colleges or high schools for referrals or placements of students.

Here are some tips for for finding a college admissions counselor:

1. Get educated through the HECA or IECA first.

2. Try to find personal referrals from trusted friends or family members. This way you’ll get the real scoop and not a sales pitch!

3. Remember that there are no guarantees. Even the most successful counselors can’t promise your child will get in, so be prepared for multiple outcomes.

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