Because the post-secondary institution that a student attends can have a powerful effect on the opportunities available to them later in life, many people feel an incredible amount of pressure regarding every aspect of the application process. Numerous for-profit college consultant companies have entered the marketplace to meet this need – so many, in fact, that you might wonder how to go about selecting one. Considering that these services represent a significant financial investment, you should find one that is a good fit for your unique needs.
For one thing, select a company that will help you to reduce your stress and anxiety level instead of ramping it up. That does not mean that your consultant should not emphasize deadlines and priorities. A good consultant will work with you to understand the wide variety of potential options that are open to you, with an emphasis on what will be best for you as a student and a person rather than concentrating purely on prestige for its own sake. Steer clear of any company that guarantees more than they can possibly promise.
Furthermore, it is not enough that your potential consultant went to an elite university; that is just the start. While the consultant should be well-versed in college campuses and university life, they should also belong to a field-specific national organization such as the Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA) or National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). These groups often perform their own set of background checks on prospective members and only vet the best.
Finally, financial constraints don’t necessarily need to keep you from benefiting from the services of a college consultant. Although comprehensive packages can easily top $1,000, you might be able to get a jump-start by paying for just a few hours instead. In addition, there are many nonprofit organizations that provide free advising services, particularly to first-generation and low-income students.
The bottom line is that there is a great deal of help available for motivated prospective college attendees. When you choose the one that meshes with your personality and academic and financial situation, you will find that they can be an invaluable ally on your journey toward acceptance into the college or university of your choice.
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