The recent cheating scandal has thrust the topic of college counseling into the limelight with a great deal of rightful scrutiny of many vital issues. As a result, many families are asking: What kind of college advice do we need? When and how do we start?
Of course, there is certainly the possibility of navigating the process without a guide. For example, if you are an adventurous traveler, you might decide to visit another country on your own rather than to engage the services of a tour company. However, you would not do so without significant research into your destination’s culture, language, climate, geography, sights and lodging. Similarly, venturing solo into the college admissions preparation and planning process can be exciting and energizing if you have done your due diligence.
However, in the case of helping your children to make the myriad of choices from creating a reasonable list of colleges and universities to ensuring that their applications and essays best reflect their strengths, interests and needs, you might wish to engage the services of an experienced counselor.
How do you find appropriate and ethical counseling at reasonable rates? Ask friends and associates for referrals and follow up with calls to or consultations with those advisers. You should consider experience, thorough and up-to-date websites, testimonials, reasonable rates and membership in one or more professional organizations. Peruse the websites of associations like IECA, HECA and NACAC for lists of qualified professionals. Be sure that you have a thorough understanding of what services and rates each counselor offers and find the best person to fulfill your needs.
As a consultant with decades of experience and a professional member of all of the above-named organizations, College Essay Whiz might be the right choice for you. I advise and guide families of students starting as early as freshman year of high school to de-mystify this complicated and often stressful process. Feel free to request any information about rates and services.
In addition, College Essay Whiz strongly recommends that you spend some time becoming fully informed about a variety of relevant subjects. The IECA is a unique resource of information about a wide range of topics, including:
How an IECA member helps families with the college admissions process
Ten tips for college visits
What colleges look for in high school students
How parents and high schools can cultivate ethical character and reduce stress in the college admissions process
Community colleges: Take another look!
Top ten things rising seniors can do this summer to get a jump on the college search
The truth about liberal arts education
Why take a gap year?
Please feel free to contact College Essay Whiz at any time!
Many of my clients, colleagues and friends have asked me for my opinion on the matter of the recent college cheating scandal. As a longtime independent educational consultant, I am acutely aware of the stress caused by the competitive nature of the application process. However, it is always the job of the consultant to provide a model of ethical behavior when advising students and families as they navigate this process.
As a member of three professional organizations with thousands of members in each, I have a deep commitment to the standards and ethics of each. IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association), NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) and HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association) have all denounced the outrageous efforts to bribe, cheat and lie as a means to achieve the end of college admissions.
Here are several public statements offered this week by my esteemed colleagues:
"Those that want to stop the use of all paid assistance misunderstand the fundamental role of independent educational consultants. IECs help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.”
~ Mark H. Sklarow, CEO of the IECA
“HECA feels strongly that families seeking help with the college search and application process outside of the school setting should do their homework to ensure that they hire someone who is a member of a professional organization with a strict code of ethic…Every HECA member is charged with providing sound advice, confidentiality, integrity and respect for their students, parents, and the colleges to which they are applying.”
~ Brooke Daly, HECA President
“The National Association for College Admission Counseling is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. Admission and counseling professionals understand and have valued ethical behavior as stated in our Code of Ethics and Professional Practices for well over 80 years. We strive to ensure that all students are treated equitably throughout the process.”
~ Stefanie Niles, NACAC President
What to expect from a professional educational consultant:
If you choose to work with a qualified and experienced independent educational consultant, you will discover the following:
We offer our professional background and expertise in navigating a complicated application process with children of all academic capabilities, talents, interests and needs.
We do our best at all times to give appropriate advice and guidance.
We are active members of professional national organizations that adhere to strong ethics and provide us with opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, college fairs and university tours.
We offer reasonable rates, both hourly and packages. Many independent educational consultants, including College Essay Whiz, also offer their services in a voluntary capacity to those who cannot afford to pay.
As summer winds down and the school year begins, College Essay Whiz is excited to announce the launch of a brand new website with a fresh design that is mobile friendly, easy to navigate and full of information about the college and graduate school application processes.
In addition to the site, I have made some exciting transitions. I have moved from Woodmere to Ogunquit, Maine and Boynton Beach, Florida! I also now work with clients all over the world from a “virtual” office. Thanks to modern technology, we can feel as close as if we are sitting together at the same desk. I work regularly and easily via Skype, FaceTime and email. Students and parents alike can “meet” me at 8 a.m. or midnight without getting out of their PJs or slogging through traffic and bad weather!
To accommodate those who prefer face-to-face meetings, I will be offering appointments in Plainview, New York for several weeks in September and October.
But wait, there’s more! College Essay Whiz is offering a new exciting bonus to previous clients. Simply refer a new client who books with us, and as a thank you, you will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Your name will also be entered in a drawing to win a cash prize of $500! The drawing will be held on January 1, 2018 and the winner will be notified by email immediately.
It has been great working with many of you as you applied to colleges, got those essays just right, and were accepted to schools nationwide. I am delighted that so many of you have kept in touch and that I have had the opportunity to work with other family members and friends as well.
I hope you will take some time to view this new, great website!
Again, all the best for good health, happiness and success!
Although the submission of college applications may seem as much fun as ordering concert tickets online, there are many pitfalls! This year in particular, we have seen several errors that range from puzzling to critical. Here are several of the most "common" issues that we observed as we proofread the Common Apps that our clients were about to send:
1. National Honor Society membership is considered a school honor, not a national honor.
2. Honors achieved in elementary school and middle school do not belong on the application.
3. Your list of activities should not be a random or chronological list: The list should be in the order of importance to you!
4. The word and character limits are real.
5. When you are asked about your proficiency in a language, you do not have to be fluent! ("First language, read, speak, write, and spoken at home")
And there are so many more.
Suggestion: Have a professional review your application. College Essay Whiz is "fluent" in the process!
“Acceptance is an essay away” has been our motto since 2007, when College Essay Whiz launched its first website. However, although tackling the personal statement is the way CEW started, the services we offer are much more all-encompassing. Actually, there are so many elements to understand about the college application that it appears to first-time applicants like a giant and intimidating jigsaw puzzle of decisions ranging from how to enter school names on the Common App dashboard to how to answer particular questions. And then, of course, there are the essays.
College Essay Whiz offers expert advice and editing with a personal touch. I work with clients all over the country for admission to schools all over the world. In addition to decades of experience teaching high school English and journalism, I have visited colleges and met admissions officers all over the country and even some schools abroad. I have learned not only what schools offer but what they expect in a candidate. As a professional member of IECA and NACAC among other organizations, I have developed a network of fellow professionals who offer a remarkable support system. This has allowed me to expand my services from essay advice to choices of schools, programs, and application strategies.
Thanks to the advantages of Skype, students and parents do not have to trek to my Long Island office to meet with me – they can meet with me in the comfort of their own homes at convenient times to discuss any and all issues they face in the application process. We can discuss and edit essays facing each other on a virtual level, screen sharing the Common App, and sending text to each other through Skype chat. Phone works, too. Essays are exchanged by email.
Information abounds about the college process and the perfect essay. After a while, your head spins with advertisements and Facebook postings from experts all over the world. Some are – but you have to be just as informed a consumer when you choose a consultant as you are with the colleges you are exploring. The testimonial statements here and on the CEW website may help you make your decision.
Whether your child is a freshman or a senior, it’s never too early…or too late…to learn about the college process and get the best advice possible. CEW works with underclassmen to plan schedules, review activities, volunteer work and summer experiences, to guide them through the selection and writing processes.
Whether you’ve been through it before or have yet to even think about it, we can be a great resource for your college process.
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