A recent article in in USAToday (Is Private College Counseling the Key to Getting Into a Top School), reported that 26% of college applicants hired a college counselor in 2013. That was up substantially from 2003— three times greater. When looking into private college counselors, consider the following points.
1. What are your needs? Do you need College search assistance, application process guidance, admissions interview coaching, essay writing counseling, test prep or financial aid application process guidance? Know what you need and make sure that counselor you work with doesn’t try to talk you into more than you are looking for. Larger college counseling companies have structured programs, so you may not get the personal counseling you need.
2. Ask for the background and experience level of the counselor. There is no license for college planners, so you really need to ask questions about the counselor’s qualifications. Many people enter this field without related or strong backgrounds in college admissions or financial aid. Frequently financial planners offer this as a service as a lead in to their financial planning services.
3. Does the counselor have set counseling programs or does he/she offer an hourly fee?
4. Make sure your personalities are compatible and that you feel comfortable working with the counselor. You must feel free to express you needs and concerns, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
As a college planner who has over 20 years of experience as a college admissions and financial aid administrator, I am more than happy to answer these questions for my prospective clients!