Twelve Questions to Ask an Independent College Advisor*
1. Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships?
There is no ethical way to guarantee an admission decision or scholarship offer.
2. How do you keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures? How often do you get out and visit college, school, and program campuses and meet with admissions representatives? (The ONLY way to know about the best matches for you is to be out visiting schools regularly—we suggest a minimum of 20 campuses per year.)
I visit between 20 and 30 campuses per year, to see where I’ve been, please click here. I also attend local college admissions events where we meet with admissions reps to learn what is happening at their schools and how that affects admissions practices.
3. Do you belong to any professional associations? (HECA, WACAC, NACAC and IECA are associations for independent educational consultants with established and rigorous standards for membership.)
I am a member of HECA, WACAC, and am an associate member of IECA.
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?
I attend the CSU, UC, and other professional organization conferences such as HECA and WACAC annually. In addition, I am in two local counselor groups that meet regularly to discuss trends and share knowledge about specific college admissions issues.
5. Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral? (They absolutely should not!)
Never, any recommendations I make are because I think it will benefit the student.
6. Are all fees involved stated in writing, up front, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees?
All fees are stated on the financial agreement and ethical contract. I am happy to share those with you.
7. Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf? (No, they should NOT; it is essential that the student be in charge of the process and all materials should be a product of the student’s own, best work.)
It is the student’s application, and should be completed by the student. I am there for guidance, review and feedback. I will help you present yourself on your applications, but can’t do it for you.
8. How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)?
This is my 7th year.
9. What was your background prior to going into independent educational consulting? What was your training and education?
My background is in education. I have a Master’s degree in education and taught elementary school before discovering how much I enjoy working with teenagers. I especially like the one-on-one aspect, meeting students where they need help and personalizing my approach. I received my certificate from UC Berkeley Extension in College Admissions and Career Planning, which comprises 12 units of graduate coursework specifically in the field of college advising.
10. Will you use personal connections to get me in to one of my top choices?
(The answer should be NO. An IEC doesn’t get you admitted—they help you to demonstrate why you deserve to be admitted.)
It would be unethical to try to influence an admissions decision through a personal connection--colleges don’t admit students that way.
11. What specialized training do you have (LD, gifted, athletics, arts, etc.)?
I have knowledge of working with students with learning differences from my teacher training and personal experience. I have taken an additional class through UC Berkeley in athletic recruiting. I have worked with a few athletes, but do not consider myself an expert in athletic recruiting. If you are looking for a counselor that specializes in athletics, I would be happy to make a referral.
12. Do you adhere to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by NACAC?
Yes, I do and here is a link if you would like to look at them in depth: https://www.nacacnet.org/advocacy--ethics/statement-of-principles-of-good-practice/
*adapted from IECA association publication
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