One might ask, “What is an Educational Consultant?” 


…closely followed by, “Why would I need one?”

The choice of which college or university to attend is most likely a young man’s or young woman’s biggest decision to date in their lifetime. For many it will be the first significant time spent away from home and certainly the first time away from home in an environment where the choices one makes are solely one’s own. For parents it is both an exciting and difficult time. The student’s initial breaking away from the immediate family brings with it emotional highs and lows, as well as a period of transition and adjustment. Lest we forget, the college choice is quite a large financial decision for the family as well.

Both parents and child may feel excited and a bit frightened at the same time. The best choice of a college or university is imperative as it goes a long way toward shaping the future of the young men and women who are off to school. Yet how knowledgeable are the parents and the child about college or university choices? 

If mom, dad and/or an older sibling attended college then certainly that is a good start. But, how extensive was their search and research into colleges and universities? How much have colleges and the process for getting into college changed over the years? How different are the student’s interests from their parent’s or siblings’ interests? There is much more access through the internet to the collegiate world but also every college and university will look spectacular because someone is getting paid a lot of money to make that college or university look like the ‘perfect fit’ for students across the country.

Currently there is more college communication than ever before with the high school senior. In efforts to achieve better rankings, colleges today are much less regional, expanding their student body representation nationally and internationally. This expansion allows colleges to become more diverse at the same time more selective. The ratcheting up of of quality and competition in turn makes the process less predictable and picking “safe” choices, let alone realistic “reach choices,” is more difficult than ever. 

A good educational consultant can bring order and offer a definitive, successful approach to the college search, relieving much stress and anxiety. Getting to know the student and the family, a good educational consultant can not only educate the student and family about the best approach to the process but also educate the student and parents about how to present themselves in the most positive light. Most importantly, a good educational consultant can open up a multitude of options, some previously known and others not, for the student and family ranging from reaches to safe choices.

The college search should be an exciting, enlightening and educational process for both students and their families; a process that can help strengthen the bond between the student and his or her parents. On the other hand, it can very quickly become stressful, overwhelming and sometimes disastrous for both the student and the family, straining the relationship between the student and parents during their last year together. An educational consultant’s knowledge of the process can help eliminate stress and steer the family clear from potential pitfalls.

Jim Schaefer