A consultant should have specialized knowledge, training, and experience
College admissions is a complex and rapidly changing field. Be wary of anyone who says that because they helped their own kids they are now qualified to help others. Every student and every family is different. Look for a experienced professional consultant with a proven track record working with a wide range of student profiles. Expect your consultant to have completed graduate training in college admissions including a practicum. Quality consultants are involved in respected organizations and engage in ongoing professional development.
A consultant should be a homeschool specialist
High school planning and college admissions are different for homeschoolers in many respects. Simply following the same strategies that work for traditionally schooled students may leave your student at a disadvantage. You want to hire someone who understands as a homeschool parent you will always be the guidance counselor. A good consultant doesn’t take this role away from you, but instead helps you with the support you with information and resources.
A consultant should operate within strict ethical guidelines
Be wary of anyone who promises admissions or acts like they have a special “in” with a particular college. Avoid consultants who imply they will make sure your student gets a scholarship – that is not within a consultant’s power. Ethical consultants do not complete applications or write essays for students. Ethical consultants do not take kick backs or participate in affiliate marketing. Look for a consultant who is a member of one of the HECA or IECA (the two most respected organizations for college consultants) and has made a commitment to operate within their ethical guidelines.
A consultant should lower your stress rather than increase it
Avoid consultants who use scare tactics or tell you they are the only one who can help you through this process. The reality is that there are thousands of colleges in the United States and there are places for students of all abilities and interests. You should feel comfortable and supported when interacting with your consultant. There are many ways to homeschool and many ways for homeschoolers to successful navigate through the college admissions process.
Resource – Tulane’s Admissions office blog provided some excellent advice for families considering hiring an independent educational consultant So You’re Using an Independent Counselor