Private college admissions consultants are in high demand these days. IECA reports that the number of admissions counselors has grown from 1,500 professionals in 2008 to 8,000 ones today.

Why? What makes them so popular?

The thing is that high school students on the edge of entering universities are stressed out, and so are their parents.

The pressure of finding the right college, and applying for the best specialization is way too much, and not all of them can handle it on their own. That is where admissions counselors come to the rescue.

Their services are not cheap. Getting help from such a professional will cost you at least several thousand dollars depending on timing and the universities you are applying to.

The question of whether or not your child needs a counselor is absolutely reasonable. If you feel like having someone help your child along this way is essential, then hire a professional. They have a lot of experience and know how this process works.

But there are several things you need to pay attention to when hiring a counselor in order to get a specialist with solid knowledge of the subject.

How to choose the best college admissions consultant

1. Do not get someone who guarantees that your child will get into the college.

No matter how good the professional is, it is not up to them to make such decisions. Of course, there are correct ways to go through this process, but do not believe them if they state that they know an exact “formula” of getting into the college of your choice. This sounds like a real scam.

2. Opt for a ICEA-licensed person.

The problem with these specialists is that only one out of 5 of them is registered IECA-licensed. Independent Educational Consultants Association is “a not-for-profit, international professional association representing experienced independent educational consultants.” They strive to train real professionals that will be able to help students with the right school choices, provide them with information about different educational establishments and guide them through this process. Having someone licensed there is more secure.

3. They state what their fees are from the beginning.

They will not lure you into a trap by saying a lower price instead of a real one. Everything should be rather transparent. Real professionals have nothing to hide, as they know the real price of what they are doing, so why would they hide fees?

4. Choose a professional that keeps growing.

Real specialists visit conferences and workshops to keep improving their skills and enlarging the area of expertise. Those that have a license at HECA, IECA, or NACAC have an opportunity to grow professionally, as these organizations provide them with constant support and qualification programs. However, many unlicensed professionals attend such events themselves.

5. Choose a counselor that does not offer to write an essay for you.

Real professionals do not write your essays. Therefore once you hear of them offering to complete an assignment on any of the good cause and effect essay topics, know that this person is not someone you need to hire for your child. They might offer a consultation if a student has doubts about the content of their admissions essay. Such consultations can cost around $100-$200 an hour, but they will not tell you what you should write about to definitely get into the college. Rather, they should offer directions on how to write their best essay.

6. Do not fall for a person that offers to use personal connections to get your child into college.

This is a sign of a corrupted specialist, not a real professional. On the contrary, a counselor should show what universities are best for you and what the best legal ways to get into those universities are. These should be clear and unambiguous.

7. This specialist should have different packages.

Depending on the universities, the level of your understanding of the topic and many other issues, a good counselor will offer you different packages most suitable for you.

Choosing a dream university, working your way into it, getting the best grades possible, and finally receiving a letter that you were accepted is a dream most high schoolers have. Parents can help make that dream come true with the help of an admissions consultant.

But sometimes parents try too hard aiming to get the most expensive help when it is not about the price but rather about the quality of this help. So, aiming to warn you, we have made a list that can help you see what professional to opt for and which one to stay away from. We hope this helps and wish your student the best of luck!