College planning is exciting, but it can also sometimes be stressful. The members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) are here to help. Our professional members are independent educational consultants specializing in guiding families through every step of the college admissions process, from choosing the right colleges according to academic, social and affordability criteria to preparing college applications and comparing admission offers.
Why Work With A HECA Consultant?
Professional College Planning Assistance From HECA Members
When you choose a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) for assistance with college planning, you’ll work with an educational consultant who is:
Focused on helping your child succeed
The Higher Education Consultants Association is first and foremost dedicated to the needs and dreams of students. Our members view each student they work with as an individual, with unique talents, interests, and goals, and they will strive to help your child realize his or her college aspirations.
Experienced with assisting families with college planning
To be eligible to join HECA, consultants must have the training and experience necessary to provide knowledgeable and professional college planning assistance to students and parents. Learn more about our membership eligibility requirements.
Dedicated to upholding ethics and professional standards
All of our members agree to abide by HECA’s Member Standards and Ethics Statement in their work with students and parents. These professional standards are based on four core values: sound advice, integrity, respect, and confidentiality. By joining HECA, our members demonstrate their commitment to upholding these professional standards in their practices.
Committed to keeping abreast of ever-evolving trends in college admissions
HECA member consultants are expected to continue their professional development by participating in college tours, professional conferences, and HECA-sponsored professional development programs.
Connected to a network of professional college consultants
HECA members are able to network with HECA members throughout the U.S. and around the world, which means they can often provide students and parents with deeper insights into a wider range of college options.
How Can An Educational Consultant
Help Your Family?
A professional educational consultant works one-on-one with each student, helping to identify colleges and universities that offer the best matches for the student’s unique needs, and keeping the student on track through every phase of the college application process.
A consultant can help your family with:
How do you choose the right
College Admissions Help?
What should you look for when choosing a professional educational consultant?
Here are some tips from the Higher Education Consultants Association on how to find the right consultant for your family:
Start with your child
Every student is unique, and so are their college planning needs. In selecting an educational consultant, consider your child’s personality, academic background, and college dreams. The educational consultant you choose should be a good match for your child’s personality, have experience with students with similar admissions profiles, and be supportive of your child’s college aspirations.
The consultant should focus on minimizing stress and anxiety, not increasing it.
Professional educational consultants understand that college planning can be stressful at times, and they should strive to reduce that anxiety for both students and parents. They should not belittle a student’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments, and should also be sensitive to family dynamics. You and your child should both feel comfortable when interacting with the consultant. The consultant should respect everyone involved in the college admissions process. Professional consultants strive to work as a team with families, high school counselors, and college admissions staff. They respectfully and skillfully guide students through the application process, offering feedback on essays and application review.
The consultant should be committed to maintaining high ethical standards in their practice.
Ethical consultants do not guarantee admission into specific colleges or promise financial awards. They do not suggest that they have “special pull” with certain college admissions professionals. They also do not write essays or other application materials for students. Member consultants of the Higher Education Consultants Association have pledged to abide by HECA’s Professional Standards and Ethics Statement for educational consultants.
The consultant should demonstrate college admissions-related knowledge, experience and training.
A professional educational consultant should be knowledgeable about a wide range of colleges and universities as well as current admissions trends. They should also have experience helping students through the college search and application process. Effective consultants will also be committed to on-going professional development, including participation in professional organizations such as the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), or a NACAC regional affiliate. Upon request, consultants should provide referrals to other families that have worked with them in the past.
The consultant should clearly explain their services and associated costs.
The services to be provided and the fees the consultant will charge should be clearly established up front. Fees may be structured on an hourly rate, as an inclusive package, or by session.