If you are interested in studying overseas, an educational consultant can help you find the best suited school for you. An educational consultant is an individual unaffiliated with a school or program whose key role is to help you find the right school or college based on your needs. Also known as a certified educational planner, these individuals can help organize enrollment at a language school, summer enrichment program, or homestay as well as undergraduate and graduate programs. Typically, an educational consultant will sit down with you and your family to discuss what you are looking for including the length and type of program, budget, student experience, and needs that you are looking to meet. Then, the educational consultant will find a program/school that most closely matches the type of experience you expressed. While the educational consultant cannot guarantee entrance into a school, they can make recommendations and provide various options that you may not have thought of on your own.
The advantage of working with an educational consultant is that many have a background in school admissions and have worked with many students over the years. With their industry expertise, they have an intimate understanding of the various schools, reputations, and campuses available to students. Many of these consultants travel extensively around the world visiting campuses and language programs to familiarize themselves with what students can expect from their studies.
Traveling overseas can seem overwhelming, especially when you are planning to study in a foreign country that may not speak your native language. The idea behind hiring an educational consultant is that they are familiar with the procedures and programs and can guide you to a successful educational experience. In many cases, an educational consultant can also help you with your visa, transcript verifications, translations, and course equivalencies. Some educational consultants can give you tips about safety, budgeting, banking and travel arrangements. These are issues that can be overwhelming at first, but having an expert by your side can make this process much easier. You can think of your educational consultant as just that — a consultant.
The hardest part, however, may just be finding a credible and ethical educational consultant as you want to make sure they have your best interests in mind. One of the best ways to determine this is by their fee structure. According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) , educational consultants should not receive any compensation from educational institutions for placement of a child or adult. Instead, the payment comes directly from the family on a flat fee for specific services, hourly, or one-time payment for the year. The best way to find an educational consultant is by word of mouth from a friend or family. If this is the case, you should ask about the consultant’s performance including what type of guidance they provided — pre-departure, throughout the trip and if there was any post-travel follow-up.
If you are interested in finding your own educational consultant, first you will want to determine if it is necessary. Depending on your at-home resources, a consultant may not be necessary. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NASCAC) has compiled a list of questions to help you determine whether you need to hire one:
If you are able to answer “yes” to these questions, then you may not need to hire an educational consultant. Many individuals decide to hire an independent consultant to handle special situations like students with disabilities, those who may not speak English, and to help handle larger global-scale searches for the best suited school.
However, if you do not have access to resources and need additional assistance, we have also put together a list of helpful questions that you should ask before choosing your potential educational consultant: