With heightened competition for college admissions – both domestically and abroad – it’s no wonder the industry of independent educational consultants (IECs) is one of the fastest growing industries (that most people never talk about). According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association research on the State of the Profession, from 2005 to 2015, the number of IECs has grown from approximately 1,500 to 8,000 in the US and from 100 to 1,200 overseas and demand for college consulting services continues to increase. Across the past 2 years, almost half of IECs have reported more than 25% increase in their businesses. While hiring an IEC might seem like a luxury only the wealthiest families can afford, IECA research reveals that just as many clients come from the lowest levels of the socio-economic ladder as they do from the highest.
So, the question is, should you hire an IEC? Maybe.
If you have done the research and are 100% confident that your dream school is the right fit for you academically, socially, financially, culturally, etc. AND if that school has a transparent automatic admit policy (based on class ranking, grades and/or test scores) AND if you already qualify for admission, you probably don’t need to work with an IEC. Simply do what you are doing, keep track of application requirements and deadlines and don’t let your grades drop or make any foolish decisions that will land you in hot water and you will be on your way to Dream U.
If, however, this is not your situation, keep reading.
Deciding to hire an IEC is a big decision. By partnering with an IEC, you are bringing someone onto your college admissions team and, frequently, into your family. You want to choose someone who will give you the tools, guidance, and support to enable you to make important decisions and someone who will help you and your family alleviate stress along the way.
If you agree with one or more of the following questions, you may benefit from hiring an independent educational consultant:
- I feel overwhelmed and stressed about the college application process.
- I have no idea of how to pick schools that are a good fit for my interests, priorities and learning style.
- I don’t feel my school counselor has enough opportunity to really know me or give me the individualized attention I need in selecting – and starting on — my path after high school.
- I don’t feel my school counselor has experience with colleges that are outside my state or adjacent geographic areas.
- My parents/student and I seem to constantly argue about college applications.
- I feel like there’s nothing special about me. How do I distinguish myself in the college application?
- I don’t know if college is right for me. Maybe I should take time off or explore other options.
- I don’t know what colleges are looking for in their incoming freshmen.
- I’m not great at keeping track of the many details and deadlines.
- I’m having trouble wading through all of the college information available online and in books to discern what information is both factual and applicable to me.
- I have specialized needs, such as support for learning, mental or physical differences and would benefit from someone who has expertise in institutions of higher learning that can accommodate me
- I made some mistakes in my high school career and need help in addressing them in my college applications.
- I don’t know what I don’t know about applying to college.