An educational consultant is a professional who is hired to help a high school student make the transition to college. A consultant is hired for their expertise in the realm of higher education. The educational consultant helps the student in a number of ways: helping to search for and select colleges to apply to; setting up college visitations; helping to fill out college applications; reviewing a student’s college essays; financial aid and scholarship help; and other services.
Becoming an educational consultant requires a lot of networking, professional development, and insight into the higher education realm. It is very rewarding for people who are interested in helping students get a college education.
Why Become An Educational Consultant
Applying to colleges is a stressful time for parents and students. Students want to get into the best college possible. Consultants are hired because they can give special insight into the culture of each college, how the college admissions process works, where a particular student might best succeed, and their general advice for college. Consultants do not make guarantees about getting a student into a certain college, but provide advice so that a student can make the best decision for themselves.
There are many reasons why parents might hire an educational consultant for their children. The college application process is complicated, and many parents do not have the time or knowledge to guide their children through the process. However, they still want them to go to a great college. Many high school guidance counselors are overworked and do not have the time to individually help each student.
It is important for an educational consultant to be able to listen to a student and their parents, and understand what it is that they truly want and need. Based on these consultation sessions, an educational consultant makes recommendations that are specifically tailored for that student. A consultant does not judge or give their own opinions.
An Educational Consultant should possess the following qualities and skills:
Educational Consultant Work Environment
Many of the educational consultants in the United States work for themselves, as self-employed consultants. They may work from their own office and have students and their parents come visit them, or they may visit families at their homes.
Much of the work for an educational consultant involves travel. A consultant travels to many college campuses a year; the average number of colleges visited each year is 20. During these college visits, an educational consultant visits with admissions representatives, faculty, and takes notes on the general atmosphere of the campus. The consultant reports their findings to the student so they can have the best idea of which college is perfect for them.
The educational consultant spends much of their time reviewing the files of clients and doing research for them to help them in their college search process. Consultants also travel the country to attend conferences and trainings.
As a self-employed professional, an educational consultant may work any amount of hours a week. Most consultants are employed full time at 40 hours a week, while others work more than 40 hours a week.
Educational Consultant Salary
Because educational consultants most often work for themselves, they are able to set their own salary. Educational consultants often charge by the hour, in which a client will pay for each hour-long session. Other consultants have packages, in which a client can pay for a series of sessions with the consultants.
The average income in 2012 for educational consultants was $131,000. This is according to the Independent Education Consultant Association.
As with the salaries of many fields, the salary for an educational consultant is dependent on a variety of factors, such as the location of the consultant, years of experience, their reputation in the industry, the specialty they have in the industry such as working with students with learning disabilities and other needs, and other factors.
Educational Consultant Career Outlook
Education consulting is a relatively new field. Parents who are anxious to have their children go to the best colleges and universities are eager to pay somebody to help them achieve their goals. Each year more educational consultants enter as professionals ready to help students go to college.
The Independent Education Consultant Association estimates that in 2012 there were 4,000 educational consultants in the United States. This was an increase from 2005 when there were approximately 1,500 educational consultants. The field is expected to continue to increase in size in the following years.
Educational Consultant Degree
There is no specific degree necessary to become an educational consultant. Of course, an educational consultant should have attended an undergraduate college or university, since their career is based on advising others to go to college and making recommendations on which colleges to attend.
It is important that a consultant has experience and knowledge in their field. In order to gain this, consultants frequently visit college campuses and meet with staff, staying updated on campus happenings. They also attend conferences and network with those in the industry.
There are several membership organizations that an educational consultant can join to make themselves stand out in the industry. Two of these include the Independent Education Consultant Association and the Higher Education Consultant Association. The Independent Education Consultant Association also holds conferences and certification programs in California.