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. Learn more about HECA’s professional development expectations for members.

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:

High School curriculum planning

A consultant can help students make smart choices about their high school courses so that they stay on track for college admissions

College admissions profile assessment

Although no consultant can guarantee admission to any individual college, a consultant can help your child identify their strengths as an applicant.

College entrance exams

A professional consultant can answer questions about which college entrance exams are most appropriate for your child and when to schedule testing. Some consultants also provide assistance with test preparation.

High School curriculum planning

A consultant can help students make smart choices about their high school courses so that they stay on track for college admissions

College applications and essays

A consultant works with each student to establish a realistic schedule for staying on top of application details and deadlines.  Consultants may also review application elements, including essays.

Majors and Careers

Students often benefit from guidance in choosing majors and careers that are a good fit, as well as information about which colleges offer strong programs in areas of interest.

Financial Aid

Many families worry about how to pay for college expenses. A consultant can help your family navigate these concerns, while pointing your family in the direction of financial aid and merit scholarship opportunities.

Help from a non-biased third party

so that you and your child can focus on enjoying this time together, rather than arguing about completing college applications

If your family is considering working with an educational consultant, choosing the right consultant is important. To help, HECA has put together a guide that explains how to choose an educational consultant.

In choosing a consultant, remember that the member consultants of the Higher Education Consultants Association are experienced professionals, committed to providing quality service to students and parents.

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 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.

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.

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