Working with Independent Counselors

College admissions has become hyper-competitive and an important part of a student’s educational journey. Most colleges receive thousands of applications each year and students are applying to more and more colleges. This process has become more sophisticated and in many cases parents are confused by the process.  Many parents are turning to Independent Counselors to help in the process. It is estimated that there are now more than 5,000 Independent Counselors in the U.S.

What does an Independent Counselor do?  Many of these are one-person firms with a parent or educator that has some experience with the process and decides to open up their own business. Some are tutoring companies that have now begun to also offer college counseling. The majority focus on working with students in the 11th or 12th grades.

Most private college counselors focus on essays and college applications. They help brainstorm essays, outlines and a target school list. Some college counselors also offer college tours and summer programs to help students prepare for life after high school. Anyone can hang up a shingle and claim to be an Independent Counselor, so how can you recommend a particular Independent Counselor to your students and their parents?

Ask around! If you have had students use a Counselor before, ask them and their parents what their experience was like. Meet with them! Many Independent Counselors are open to meeting with High School Counselors in their area to go over what they offer the students and what the cost is. This can be invaluable when a parent asks your opinion.

When can an Independent Counselor be helpful? The college admission process requires a lot of organization and self-discipline, especially if students are applying to top 50 schools that require many essays. Following all the deadlines, drafting the essays, preparing for interviews, and choosing a college is a lot like taking another AP or IB class.

I used an Independent Counselor when my son applied for College and she was very helpful with the process. Everyone’s situation is different but there are many cases where an Independent Counselor can be beneficial.  As a High School Counselor you will no doubt be asked your opinion at some point. It is definitely helpful to learn about the Independent Counselor’s in your area and recommending those that you find provide value to your students.

Information for this blog was taken from a blog written by Ishan Puri of Synocate.