WHAT DOES COLLEGE QUEST HELP WITH?
My comprehensive, personalized services cover every aspect of college preparation, planning and admissions. Whether you want ongoing “A to Z” support throughout the process or just some help with a specific task like identifying “best fit” programs or polishing your admission essays and materials, my first priority is to get to know you and then customize my services to meet your needs.
WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT?
Educational consultants come in many shapes and use a variety of names, including college admissions counselors and college planning coaches. In general, all are professionals who specialize in helping students make the transition from high school to college. Since services, professional qualifications, areas of expertise, approach, and track records can vary, it is important to compare options, ask questions, and, if possible, get personal recommendations or testimonials before agreeing to work with someone.
OUR HIGH SCHOOL HAS A COUNSELOR — WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN OUTSIDE CONSULTANT?
Most high school counselors are well-qualified, hard-working and genuine in wanting to help students. Unfortunately, most juggle a wide range of tasks and face daunting student-to-counselor ratios. As a result, they simply don’t have time to give each student the focused, one-on-one attention needed to navigate the complex path from high school to college. Some students and families have the background and resources to succeed on their own, but most will benefit significantly from having professional support for some or all of the process.
HOW WILL WORKING WITH AN EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT BENEFIT US?
There are many benefits, but they tend to fall into three categories: simplifying tasks, saving time, and giving you expert knowledge and resources that improve your ability to find and compete for admission at the schools of your choice. To take just one example, no student can review the more than 3,500 schools that exist. Too often, that means students narrow their options to a handful of well-known schools, eliminate any with intimidating application requirements, and settle for a program that isn’t a good fit for their abilities and personality. Having worked in this field for 20 years and being in contact with hundreds of schools, I can guide students and families toward their best matches right from the start and often provide insights based on personal experience. And with my expert admissions support behind you, there is no need to rule out an excellent fit due to complex application requirements.
DO EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS ONLY WORK WITH TOP STUDENTS?
While some focus on a particular niche, like Ivy League applicants, College Quest’s business model is built on embracing what makes each student unique, and I’ve had success with students from just about every imaginable background. Unlike many consultants, I also look at the big picture rather than just academics — if you have special talents or interests, such as athletics, the arts, or high-tech, that will be part of our focus every step of the way. The diversity of schools where I’ve helped students get accepted is a testimony to the breadth of my experience and my highly individualized “best fit” approach. If a school you’re considering isn’t on the list, hopefully I’ll be adding it after I help you get in!
WHAT MAKES COLLEGE QUEST STAND OUT FROM OTHER EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS?
First and foremost: experience. I am one of the few consultants in this region who has had direct college admissions work experience in both university and high school settings, I maintain nationally recognized credentials, and I am extremely active in all aspects of my field — from attending conferences to being a leader in professional organizations to visiting campuses and networking. I also have a uniquely personal approach. I take the time to get to know each student and family, because my goal isn’t just to get you through the process or get you accepted “somewhere” — I truly believe that every student should be able to get into a “best fit” college of his or her choice.
WHEN SHOULD WE BEGIN EXPLORING AND PREPARING FOR COLLEGE?
The sooner the better! Parents and students can benefit from receiving information about colleges, standardized testing, and other admissions requirements in the first year of high school or earlier. By spring of the junior year, families should begin a comprehensive college search initiative. However, it’s never too late — if you’ve had a hard time getting in gear, calling in an expert is a good way to get on track and make up for lost time!
BETWEEN CLASSES AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, HOW WILL WE GET EVERYTHING DONE?
I definitely understand how tight schedules can be. In fact, one reason people hire me is that my knowledge of the process helps streamline and simplify tasks, which can save an enormous amount of time. It is also often beneficial to have someone outside the family helping with organization and reminding students about upcoming deadlines. I am very flexible and work around each student’s schedule; at the same time, I reinforce the importance of the process — where you go to college will impact the rest of your life, so the college planning and application process deserves to be a priority!
ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR GROUP PRESENTATIONS?
Absolutely! I have done a wide range of presentations and seminars customized to fit employee groups at companies, community organizations, private/charter school audiences, and more. College counseling is a great benefit to offer to employees — and can help avoid lost time and productivity that will happen if parents get caught up in a stressful, disorganized process. Visit our Corporate Services page, or call me at 412.521.4723 for more information or to set up a meeting.
“After an initial college counseling seminar offered by Reed Smith, 100% of participants said it increased their positive feelings about working for the firm!”— Reported in “Law Firms Offering College ‘Coaching’ as a Benefit,”
The National Law Journal, June 12, 2008