Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an Independent Educational Consultant?
Independent Educational Consultants typically work with individual families and students as they select and apply to colleges or universities.
In an increasingly competitive college market, many families benefit from the focused attention of a professional consultant. Consultants provide individualized attention and critical professional insight, aiding students and parents as they seek to navigate a path to college success.
Educational consultants do not replace the role of your high school guidance counselor. In fact, we seek to support and expand upon the resources you have available through your school. Unfortunately, high school counselors are often overburdened with a myriad of responsibilities. Your student’s college selection and eventual success is our only focus.
Most frequently, consultants are individuals with skills in counseling and academic advising. Many have experience working at the high school level, but Success Quest consultants have worked in college recruiting, advising, and admissions and have taught at various colleges and universities. Our consultants not only demonstrate a mastery of the college selection and application process, but a practical understanding of the inner workings of college campuses enables us to provide our clients valuable insight as they navigate a college search.
Professional consultants travel extensively to visit campuses in order to maintain personal contact with admissions offices. This time invested in studying campus life and academic opportunities at schools across the nation allows us to enrich your college search with a broad spectrum of institutional knowledge and insight not available through online searches. In addition to campus travel and visits, we also attend professional conferences and college fairs in our efforts to provide the very best information for our clients.
2. How is a Success Quest consultant different from a high school counselor?
High School counselors provide invaluable assistance to students through academic advising, counseling, and countless other services. School counselors have a myriad of responsibilities and generally serve a large population of students, consequently they are not always able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to individual students and their college search process.
We service a limited number of families each year. We intentionally limit our client base so that we can maintain focus and work closely with a student and their family. Investigating colleges and finding the ones which best match an individual student is our only job.
3. Why hire a Success Quest consultant?
We are highly qualified with advanced degrees and years of experience managing college services for students and teaching at the collegiate level.
We can help not only getting in, but succeeding in college. This is unique among independent consultants. Our experience designing and implementing freshman year success programs at the college level allows us to continue to partner with students as they work toward success in the college environment.
We are associate members and embrace the standards of practice of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, widely recognized as the nation’s leading professional organization for placement advisors working in private practice.
4. Why do you need an Academic Advocate?
College admissions continues to be increasingly competitive. Students receive an inordinate amount of information that often proves overwhelming. As a result, focused guidance and targeted attention provide them with knowledgeable, professional resources. They need qualified individuals with college experience on their team. We strive to represent the best interest of the student and family according to their needs when investigating countless colleges and universities. We believe in navigating the admission process in order to make this process an exciting journey.
5. How do I decide which school is right for me?
Choosing a college is a family decision. This process involves parents and students, personal needs, individual interests, and financial responsibility. Considering the needs of the family, the interests of the students, and the goals of each student, we can compare a variety of factors at institutions across the country. A logical, reasoned process allows us to help you find the best destination.
6. What is the cost of our services?
We offer different packages depending on your family’s needs. Upon discussion of your individual situation, we determine your package and services will fall under a one-time fee.
Unlike many other companies, we don’t charge by the hour. We do not limit the number of schools we expose students to or the number of applications a student may want to submit. These tasks can take countless hours, but we want to be certain a student arrives at a good decision regarding their education without feeling rushed through the process because of concerns regarding hourly billing.
The average cost of a student attending a public in-state four-year institution for one year is approximately $17,336 and $35,374 for a private school. Meanwhile tuition rates typically increase 5 to 8 percent each year. Investing in a consultant at just over 1 percent of the cost of attending school for just one year at a public school can help a family make the best the decision possible when investing $70,000 to $141,000 on average in the United States for a college degree. Many families invest a tremendous amount of time and resources during just one college visit. One trip to visit a school requires transportation, hotel, and dining that can replace the family vacation all together. A consultant can help you determine the schools that are worth your time and money, making the college visit an efficient and successful trip.
7. Do you assure admission to the colleges you recommend?
No, and it would be unethical if we did.
We maintain relationships with institutions in order to better understand what they need in terms of application materials and what kind of student would best fit at their institution. This information allows us to help your student identify best-fit colleges and to best position themselves for consideration by admission counselors and committees. We are adamantly opposed to the commonly advertised practice of “packaging” a student in an effort to gain admission to a school that does not match their abilities or interests. This is not in the best interest of either the student or the institution to which they apply and seek admission.
8. Do you find/guarantee scholarships?
No, our primary focus is the college search and application process as well as the successful transition into campus life.
Though we do not offer scholarship searches as a part of our services, we understand how critical concerns about financing a college education are for our families. Consequently we do work with our students to help begin an independent scholarship search. Our role in a scholarship search is two-fold. First, we can help students identify resources that will aid them as they seek scholarship opportunities. Secondly, we will do all that we can to help students plan and document experiences and achievements that will establish them as strong candidates for scholarship selection.
9. Do you provide test prep?
No, but we enjoy relationships with qualified professionals who do. If you are interested, we would be happy to provide references to qualified and dedicated professional test-prep services providers we trust.
10. When do clients start working with you?
Although the bulk of a college search will begin at the close of the sophomore year, we welcome the opportunity to work with students as early as possible. We have consulted students as early as their eighth grade spring term, but most often prefer to begin working with students as they begin their high school career. This enables us to plan high school course selection with college application requirements in mind.
Though an early start is best, we will be happy to work with students even if they have already been accepted to their college of choice. Our experience as college instructors and administrators allows us to provide valuable resources beyond college acceptance and into the challenges of adjustment to college life.