Frequently Asked Questions

 01  Why should I hire an independent educational consultant (IEC)?

Most school counselors have extremely large case loads as well as other responsibilities besides college counseling, allowing for very limited personal college advising for each student. While the average school counselor at a public school is responsible for 482 students*, an IEC might work with at most 20 students a year. IECs can thus spend much more time helping their students with both the college search and the college application process. Additionally, IECs are available during times a school counselor isn't - after school, on weekends, and during school breaks.

 

IECs are experts in college admissions. They are continually learning by visiting several colleges a year, attending conferences and webinars, networking with college admissions officers, and keeping up with the constantly changing college admissions landscape. IECs have access to several helpful resources they use to benefit their clients that would be very costly for individual families. 

 

Finally, and most importantly, an effective IEC can get students to consider colleges that might be a great fit for them but that weren't even on their radar. These are colleges that might be more affordable to their families than the ones they were originally considering. Attending a college that is a good academic and social fit for the student will reduce the chances the student transfers, which often adds to the cost of college if credits aren't accepted by the receiving college. 


State-by-State Student-to-Counselor Ratio Report

 02  Why should I choose YOU?

  • I have a graduate certificate in College Counseling, an M.Ed. in School Counseling, a B.A. in Psychology, and am a board certified counselor. My education has provided me with solid knowledge in both college advising and counseling skills, and my board certification shows that I have voluntarily met high national standards for counseling. It is vital that any college counselor takes a student's emotional needs into account when advising them on such a life changing decision. Unfortunately, many IECs don't have backgrounds in counseling or education.

  • I am a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) and the Independent Educational Consultant's Association (IECA). Though not required, an IEC should be a member of NACAC, IECA, or HECA - the three national professional organizations that hold members accountable to ethical standards. If they are not, I recommend you do not hire them.

  • I have homeschooled 5th through 12th grades and have the experience of being my son's college counselor. Homeschooled students and educators should hire a consultant who has both experience being a homeschool college counselor and the education and professional standards mentioned above. Some well-intentioned homeschool parents who have helped their own children with the college application process try to help other homeschool families without the necessary knowledge, skills, and understanding of the ethical standards. Just because something worked for their own children doesn't mean it will work for others. Just in the last 12 months the college admissions landscape has changed dramatically, and advice that worked one year ago will not work in today's college application journey. On the other hand, only someone who has had to create the transcript and course descriptions from scratch, write the counselor recommendation letter, come up with a school profile, and guide their own child through the entire complicated process of college search and applications (with all the extra requirements for homeschooled students) can truly understand what you and your student are going through and need help with.

  • I have been a military spouse for 23 years (and counting). Military dependents should hire someone who understands their unique needs. My children have had to move to other states during high school, affecting both their academic and extracurricular opportunities. On the other hand, their experiences have enriched their lives. I know how to help military dependents explain why their transcripts, activities, and honors may not tell the whole story, and how to help them highlight how their experience living the military life has helped them grow. To show my support to active duty military families and acknowledge the financial burden that is often placed on them, I offer military discounts on all of my individual services.

  • I have experience helping high school students who are gifted and/or have a learning disability/ADHD. I understand the challenges of finding the right college fit for these students and completing applications that sometimes focus on their weaknesses. I can help students find colleges that are great for students who think and/or learn differently. 

  • I am more affordable than other options. I have tried hard to keep my fees as low as possible and offer small group services to help make college advising affordable to everyone.  

 

 

 

 03  When should students begin the college search & application process?

8th through 10th grade students can get a jump start on the college search by getting to know themselves better and visiting colleges to learn what different types of colleges are like. The application process actually begins in middle school as students select their courses for high school. The classes students take as well as the grades they receive in them are the most important factors colleges use to determine whether to accept an applicant, according to NACAC's 2019 State of College Admission (which you can read here). Thoughtfully selecting high school classes is even more important in this era of test optional admissions. Choices students make in eighth grade can affect which classes are available to them later on, so the more thought a student puts into their course selection, the better off they will be. Eighth through tenth grades is also a great time for students to explore various extra-curricular activities to find one or two they will enjoy diving deeply into during eleventh and twelfth grades.

Second semester of 11th grade is when most students begin the college and application process in earnest. Students should do a lot of self-reflection during this time to figure out who they are and what they need and want out of college. They should start an in-depth exploration of the colleges that fit their criteria by visiting them in person or virtually, attending college fairs and college representative visits to their school (some schools are offering this virtually), scouring college websites, and following them on social media.

 

Juniors should carefully plan out their 12th grade classes to ensure they exceed the minimum requirements of the colleges they are considering. They should have at least one extracurricular activity that they are deeply involved in, and should make sure their summer is spent pursuing academics, involved in

their main extracurricular activity, working, and/or volunteering. They should try to get as much of their applications done over the summer as they are able to, especially the time consuming parts such as the essays, interviews, and a thoughtfully crafted activities list. If possible, students who are considering submitting their SAT or ACT scores should take the test twice to get their best score.

 

Homeschooled students should strongly consider beginning the college search early in high school because many colleges have additional requirements for them, and it's important to know which colleges the students are applying to before spending time and money on working towards the additional requirements.​

 

 04  Can you guarantee that I will be accepted into my first choice college?

 

Most definitely not - run away from anyone who claims to because this is unethical. What I can do is help you to figure out which colleges are a good fit for you and help you to have a balanced list so that there is at least one college on it that you have a very good chance of being accepted into. I have no control over the decisions college admissions officers make. 

 

 

 05  Where do you meet with your clients?

 

I can meet with students and parents via Zoom or in person (if local to the San Diego area and we can meet outside and socially distanced). In person meetings are at my home, the student's home, or at a library or Panera. There's an additional cost for me to meet outside of a five mile radius of my home office.

 06  How much is the military discount?

 

10% off all individual services.