Choosing a Private College Counselor
The New York Times recently reported that the number of registered private college counselors has doubled in the past two years alone, while studies released by the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) and others estimate that, in 2013, as many as 25 percent of college applicants hired a private college counselor to guide them through the college admissions process. Private college counseling is a booming and potentially salubrious industry, on which families can rely to receive college-related guidance. However, before purchasing private counseling services, it is important than students and their parents first look into the qualifications, background and credentials of the private college counselor or counselors they are seeking to hire.
Currently, the environment in which private college counselors work is largely unregulated. Organizations such as IECA, the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), and the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) serve an important function, and have established a series of eligibility requirements and ethical standards to which subscribing private college counselors must adhere; but, at present, they can do little to ensure that private college counselors disseminate accurate and up-to-date advice. Furthermore, private college counselors are not required to belong to any particular association, and they may launch a business without having received any educational or practical training in higher education, college admissions or private college counseling. Therefore, it is important that families do their “homework” before hiring a private college counselor, and that they ask any potential private counselors the following questions before hiring their services:
What makes you qualified to work as a private college counselor?
Do you have an academic degree or postsecondary certification in college counseling and/or that has specifically prepared you for work as a private college counselor?
As a private college counselor, what services can you provide that my child’s school counselor cannot?
How long have you been working as a private college counselor?
At College Transitions, every one of our private college counselors is ready and prepared to answer each of these questions, and has endured rigorous training in the areas of counseling, higher education and college admissions to qualify as a private college counselor under the College Transitions name. As higher education researchers and practitioners with over a decade of experience in private college counseling, the private college counselors at College Transitions are intimately familiar with the education and financial contexts in which current students are applying and transitioning to college, and they also possess the knowledge and tools to guide students to and through good-fit colleges where they will thrive and succeed.
The team at College Transitions hopes that you consider working with our private college counselors, but more importantly, we hope that the private college counselor(s) you do ultimately hire has been researched and vetted, and is suitably qualified to offer the college-related guidance that you and/or your student deserves—whomever that private college counselor happens to be.