Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Why should I hire an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC)?
Many schools still do not offer dedicated support for career planning and the university application process. And, even if they do, school counselors often have extremely large caseloads as well as other responsibilities besides university counseling, allowing for very limited personal advising for each student. IECs work with a much smaller number of students and can thus spend much more time helping their students with both the university search and application process. Additionally, IECs are available during times a school counselor isn’t – after school, on weekends, and during school breaks.
What is an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) and what do they do?
IECs are experts in university admissions. They are continually learning by visiting several universities a year, attending conferences and webinars, networking with university admissions officers, and keeping up with the constantly changing admissions landscape. IECs have access to resources they use to benefit their clients that would be very costly for individual families.
Finally, and most importantly, an effective IEC can get students to consider universities that might be a great fit for them but that weren’t even on their radar. These are universities that might be more affordable to their families than the ones they were originally considering. Attending a university that is a good academic and social fit for the student will reduce the chances the student drops out of their programme or experiences stress because they are unhappy.
When should students begin the university search and application process?
In an ideal world, I would hold an initial meeting with students before they start their middle school programme so we can discuss course choices and explore potential co- and extra- curricular activities for the years ahead. However, many students come to me at a much later date; I meet you where you are and we focus on the road ahead.
In their 3rd and 4th final high school years, students can get a jump start on the university search by getting to know themselves better and visiting institutions to learn what different types of universities are like. The application process actually begins in middle school as students select their courses for their senior years. Across the globe, the classes students take, as well as the grades they receive in them, are the most important factors universities use to determine whether to accept an applicant. Choices students make in the middle years can affect which classes are available to them later on, so the more thought a student puts into their course selection, the better off they will be. This is also a great time for students to explore various co-curricular and extracurricular activities to find one or two they will enjoy diving deeply into during the upcoming years.
The second semester of the penultimate year is when most students begin the university and application process in earnest. Students should do a lot of self-reflection during this time to figure out who they are and what they need and want out of university. They should start an in-depth exploration of the universities that fit their criteria by visiting them in person or virtually, attending university fairs and university representative visits to their school, scouring university websites, and following them on social media.
Students should carefully plan out their final year classes to ensure they exceed the minimum requirements of the universities they are considering. They should have at least one extracurricular activity that they are deeply involved in, and should make sure their summer is spent pursuing academics, involved in their main extracurricular activity, working, and/or volunteering. If looking to apply to the USA where the application process is particularly time consuming, students should try to get as much of their documentation done over the summer as they are able to, especially the time consuming parts such as the essays, interviews, and a thoughtfully crafted activities list. If possible, students who are required to submit SAT or ACT scores should take the test twice to get their best score.
Homeschooled students should strongly consider beginning the university search early because many colleges have additional requirements for them, and it’s important to know which universities the students are applying to before spending time and money on working towards the additional requirements.
Where and when do you work with students?
All meetings take place via Zoom, Skype or Google Meets from wherever we both are in the world. My clients are spread across the globe so I am accustomed to accommodating many different time zones. Once we start working together, I do find it helpful to establish a routine day/time for meeting.
Do you work with students intending to apply to more than one country?
Absolutely. The majority of the students I work with apply to two, three or even four different countries.
Can you guarantee that I will be accepted into my first choice university?
Most definitely not – run away from anyone who claims to, because this is unethical. What I can do is help you to figure out which universities are a good fit for you and help you to have a balanced list so that there is a range of universities on it that you have a very good chance of being accepted into. I have no control over the decisions university admissions officers make
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