Why Do People Work With An Independent College Counselor?

People sometimes wonder why you would want or need help as your child applies to college.  Why would you want to work with an independent educational consultant?

Our services aren’t for everyone!  They are for people who want guidance from an expert.  Most of our clients are busy working parents, and many of them have significant home and family responsibilities as well.  In the short video to the right, I discuss the reasons people tell us they are reaching out for help – and I also share one of the biggest ways we help our clients!

Here are the top 4 reasons parents choose to hire a college counselor/advisor:

Concern about overloaded school counselors.  The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a student-to-counselor ratio of no more than 250 to 1, but only two states meet this recommendation.  Public high school counselors in Arizona, California, Michigan and Minnesota have an average of over 600 students in their caseload.  Counselors in Idaho, Illinois and Utah are responsible for over 500 students.   ASCA recently released this data and you can see the chart here:
ASCA student-to-counselor ratio report 2019-20

High school students spend an average of 36 minutes with their counselor over all four years combined. 

Busy working parents don’t have time to manage this process for their kids.  College admission has become much more complicated than when we applied.  Families with two working parents seek help in guiding their student to keep their students on task and timeline.  Left to their own devices, many teens would wait until the last minute to write essays – never a recipe for producing their best work!

They need an emotional buffer between them and their teen.  An IEC can stand between you and that fabulous human being who thinks all of your ideas are the stupidest ideas on earth with a dramatic eyeroll.

They realize college admission has changed over the last 30 years.  Admission rates have plummeted; colleges aren’t just plucking the “top” students from the applicant pool.  There’s real selection happening, and it seems random; at best, unpredictable.  Having an experienced outside advisor who sees trends, visits colleges and speaks to admission officers regularly can bring some sanity to the process.

How IECs Really Help Students

Funny enough, most people DON’T reach out because they think they need more colleges on their list – frequently, they tell us they need help narrowing their list down!  But a big part of our job is to help people round out their list – adding some targets and some safe schools (the ones that award merit scholarships!) to the student’s list.  These days, most of the colleges whose names you know have become much less predictable because they review applications holistically – more on that in this post from our blog.

One of the more stressful parts of the college admissions journey is the fear of not getting in “somewhere good.”  Our challenge to you is to redefine “good” (for example, here’s why you shouldn’t build your list based on college rankings) and consider more what would work well for your child – focus on finding the environment where they will be happy and successful.  Sometimes, that means including colleges whose names are not in the national media spotlight on your college list.  The earlier you start, the more time and effort your teenager can put into really doing the research and finding those colleges that fit them best.

Our team of 15 counselors thinks about college admissions all day, every day.  We’re here to help you walk through this process if you feel you need some extra help and hand-holding.  Each counselor on our team has earned a Certificate in College Counseling.  Collectively, our team has visited over 400 colleges in the last ten years, many of them hidden gems that families don’t usually consider.

If you’d like a little guidance on your college admissions journey, we’re happy to be your trusted experts.  You can reach out to us here!


Leave a Comment

Get started on your future, contact Magellan College Counseling today.