How do I choose a college counselor for my daughter?
Choosing a college counselor is like choosing a doctor—it’s a very personal choice, mostly based on chemistry,” explains Jen Hinkle, principal at Let Me Help U College Essay Consulting in Fairfield. “Personal referrals are the best resource, but the student (and parents) need to like and trust this person, and agree with his or her approach,” she says. Hinkle suggests checking out some of the national counselor associations, including American Institute of Certified Educational Planners and National College Advocacy Group. Karen Guastelle and Carrie Smalley make up the team of CollegeFourU, a Fairfield consulting practice that assists students through the entire process of college admissions.
“It is important that the college counselor has college admissions experience,” Guastelle says. “There are many terms and nuances to college admissions. It will serve the family best to work with someone who has worked in the field.” Smalley and Guastelle recommend scheduling a consultation with the counselor to begin. “An introductory meeting is important to be sure that the family is comfortable with the counselor’s philosophy and to learn about their procedures. It is always a good idea to bring a list of questions during this meeting.”
Some people choose not to work with a local counselor. Kristen Moon, of Moon Prep LLC in Atlanta collaborates with students all around the world remotely using skype and desktop sharing. Her focus is on helping kids get into the most competitive and prestigious schools in the country. She also coaches younger students on productive ways to spend their summers and things they can do now to help stand out on their college applications.