The following is a guest post from Laurie Kopp Weingarten, CEP.
Private counselor, educational consultant, college coach, IEC, Certified Educational Planner – these are all terms used to describe an expert who helps high school students prepare for and apply to college.
But, how many of these so called “experts” really know their stuff?
“A very small percentage,” said Laurie Kopp Weingarten, CEP, a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who then went on to receive her MBA at Harvard Business School. “In fact, only 20% of self-proclaimed college counselors are currently associated with an industry-related professional organization.”
Weingarten, who was awarded her CEP (Certified Educational Planner) by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP) is one of the founders and Director of College Admission Counseling for One-Stop College Counseling. She warns parents searching for a reputable college counselor for their son or daughter to ask questions – the right questions – in order to know that they have chosen a counselor who is certified, experienced, and knows the intricate details of the college application process.
“Applying to colleges today is far more competitive than it ever was,” said Weingarten, whose children were both accepted to Ivy League schools. “Parents and students need the advice and direction of someone who is up to date with the admissions process and can successfully navigate in their child’s best interest, she adds. “But, it’s not about getting into an Ivy League university; it’s about attending a school where the student thrives and is happy – a school that is best suited for this teen,” she continues. “And, beware of any college consultants who claim they can guarantee admission into a particular school. There is no such thing as a guarantee unless there is a 100% acceptance rate!”
So, what are the questions that parents need to ask a potential college counselor?
· Are you a Certified Educational Planner?
· Are you affiliated with any well-established professional organizations?
· Do you visit colleges? If so, how often?
· Do you attend conferences and other training to stay current with trends and changes being made with regard to college admissions?
· How do you help with college essays? (Stay away from anyone who will write them for your student!)
· How long have you been in this business and how many students have you advised?
· How do you prep students for their college interviews?
· How do you create a balanced list with reach, target and likely schools?
· What is your success rate for getting students into their “dream” schools?
· Do you help students select schools that are affordable?
· Are you familiar with which colleges award student scholarships?
· How do you help select the colleges that are the best fit?