College Admission Counseling

From the National Association of College Admission Counseling

I was unaware that the field of college admission counseling existed, and I am glad I found it. I have a 14 year old boy, and before you know it, he will be ready for college, and we will be looking at this process.

I remember back to when I was a high school senior, I had paid little attention to college admissions, but all of a sudden my friends were talking about it, and I thought, well, maybe I should do this. I had very high ACT scores, and very poor grades, and I sent of two applications, and was accepted to both schools, and accepted the application where I could play football. Illinois State University was seeing the leading edge of the Baby Boomer generation apply and begin college. When I began there in 1966, there were approximately 6000 students, and by the time I graduated, there were over 20,000 students.

And today's students are faced with choosing professional consultants and advisors. Amazing. I have taken this material from the site above to get you started with your college admissions counseling.


Today’s youth are faced with many educational options after graduation from secondary school and the process for sorting through those options can be confusing.

Students and their families seek information and focus through the expertise, services and support of their school counselor. School counselors provide strategies, resources and assist students with the process of understanding their options based on the student’s interests, academic abilities and future aspirations.

For some students and their families, the college selection process is seen as so complex, and the increasing use of technology so daunting, that they feel additional assistance is warranted.

A number of students and their parents have turned to resources outside the school environment to aid them in their search for appropriate colleges and universities and admission counseling information. These resources may include educational consultants, commercial counseling centers or Internet counseling.

New services from outside the traditional school counselor model are available to students and families as they move through the college admission process. In this brochure the term “educational consultant” is used to describe both independent counselors and educational consultants.

The first step in deciding whether to seek outside services is to assess your individual needs and evaluate the resources available in your own school.

Does your school have counselors who spend a significant amount of time counseling students through the college admission process?

Have the school’s counselors received special training through regional or national workshops for college counseling?

Is there a college/career center where you can have access to books, applications, computer programs, and other materials for individual resources? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may not feel the need to seek additional assistance.

More information:

Educational Consultants

Commercial Counseling Centers

Services Provided

Professional Qualifications and Experience

Questions to Ask About Professional Qualifications and Experience

Services and Fees


Internet Counseling Services

More Tips on Internet Counseling Services

Additional Information

NACAC For Profit Counseling Centers Committee

Educational Consultants

Educational consultants work outside the secondary school setting to provide individualized college admission and related services to students and parents. Educational consultants charge a fee for these services.

The ideal educational consultant will have a minimum of five years experience working in a high school as a college counselor or for a college or university as an admission officer. Many educational consultants work closely with the student’s high school counselor to provide the best possible assistance to students and their families.

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Commercial Counseling Centers

Commercial college counseling centers are businesses offering a variety of services, from study skills to test preparation to individual college counseling and application review. Just as in consulting an educational consultant, you should find out about fees, services, credentials, backgrounds, and professional affiliations of these counselors.

In addition to commercial college counseling centers that may exist in your local community, there are also new private commercial counseling sites emerging on the Internet. Counseling in this new venue should meet the same criteria as if you were consulting an educational consultant or traditional commercial counseling center.

Furthermore, many community-based organizations offer college search services by holding college fairs or maintaining libraries of resource guides to aid in the college application process. While these are well-intentioned and excellent supplemental resources, it is important they are not confused with commercial counseling centers.

Ultimately, the credentials of the individuals employed by these centers are paramount in determining the quality of the service a student or parent is seeking to obtain.

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Services Provided

If you intend to solicit the help of an educational consultant, or counseling center, please read this information carefully. Educational consultants or commercial counseling centers offer, for a fee, a variety of services that may include one or more of the following:

Helping students choose suitable colleges to which they will apply

Helping students plan visits to college campuses

Preparing students for college entrance examinations

Assisting students with disabilities or other special needs or talents

Advising students throughout the college application process Educational consultants /counseling centers should:

Insist that students take ownership and be primarily responsible for their own college search and application process

Insist that students be the sole author of their college applications and essays

Help students understand that no one can guarantee admission to any college or have influence on admission decisions reached by institutions

Encourage students to consider a range of institutions for admission, not just emphasizing admission to highly selective or prestigious universities

Educate students about scare tactics used in some marketing campaigns

List all fees and services up front in a clear and concise manner Educational consultants or commercial counseling centers should not purport to replace the role or function of school-based counselors.

Students using a counselor outside of the school environment must still be prepared to take an active part in the college search. It is important for students to keep in mind that their academic performances (grades, rigor in academic courses, test scores), achievements, as well as school counselor and teacher recommendations—not their affiliation with an educational consultant or commercial counseling center—make them competitive candidates for college admission.

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Professional Qualifications and Experience

Families searching for external counseling services should ask the following types of questions before enlisting the services of an independent or commercial counseling service.

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Questions to Ask About Professional Qualifications and Experience:

Do you have counseling experience, certification, a credential or master’s degree in counseling or a counseling related discipline?

How long have you been an educational consultant?

Do you have experience in a high school counseling office or as a college admission officer?

How long has this counseling center been functioning?

How long have your counselors been active in the field, and in what roles?

How recently did you work on a high school or college campus?

Are you familiar with the academic program in my high school?

Do you visit college campuses regularly—locally, regionally, and/or nationally?

Have you attended professionally directed conferences, college counseling institutes or workshops?

What national and/or regional professional organizations do you belong to as a college counselor? Back to top

Services and Fees

Do you have a brochure or contract that lists and describes your services and fees?

If you have a package program, what services are included?

Do you offer services free of charge or at a reduced rate depending on a family’s ability to pay? Back to top


Can you provide me with the names of satisfied clients whom I can contact?

Do you keep in touch with former clients?

Do you have a profile or date that describes client outcomes pertaining to where recent clients have both applied and enrolled? Back to top

Internet Counseling Services

There is a wealth of information to be found on the Internet concerning college admission and financial aid. Your first contact should be with your school counselor. They have earned college and advanced degrees and possess special credentials in counseling to serve your needs.

There are more than 4,100 colleges and universities in the United States. In addition to individual college and university Web sites, there are research sites that provide information on all types of colleges, sites that provide information on all types of colleges, sites that provide financial aid and scholarship information, and counseling sites that provide commercial services to aid in the college and financial aid search and selection process.

The sheer volume of information regarding college admission on the Web can be overwhelming. A few tips listed below should help you in navigating through college counseling on the Internet:

Find out whether a college counseling site charges a fee; some do and some do not.

Be cautious about spending money on the Internet. Decide on limits before you log on.

Decide how much personal information you want to reveal to create your “profile.”

Keep in mind how much time it takes to fill our personal information. Only do it on sites you feel are specific enough to fit your needs. Back to top

More Tips on Internet Counseling Services

Do not try to search every site that has information on colleges—this is too time-consuming and leads to duplication of information. Instead, have a game plan of what you are looking for and you will be able to find information you need more quickly. If you are limiting your college search to institutions in a 60 mile radius of your home town or a specific region, make sure the site can list those alternatives for further investigation.

If you are visiting an online counseling site, find out what credentials the online counselors have.

If you are searching for colleges, make sure the data is up-to-date and accurate for the school year for which you wish to enroll. Remember that the Web is a significant tool to be used in your exploration and decision making process. But, it is only one tool in the multifaceted process of college admission. Never eliminate the human element in this important growth experience. Discussions with your school counselor and visiting college campuses are invaluable.

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Would you share your favorite gratitude story by clicking here? Your story may be just what another person needs to renew themselves.

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