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In the Classroom

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

At A to Z Consulting we want our clients to make informed decisions when selecting the right path for their post-secondary preparation. We have compiled a list of FAQs from our consultations to help clarify some questions that potential clients may have. If you have other questions, please reach out so we can help.

WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT (IEC)?

An Independent Educational Consultant, or IEC, is someone who specializes in the college admissions process.  They have specialized training and expertise in college selection, admissions trends, financial aid, college admissions and application resources and post-secondary planning. Their primary focus is to help students find the best post-secondary fit in regards to academics and personal characteristics.  They help families by setting timelines and goals to ease the stress and pressure of the post-secondary planning process. They also help families understand the financial aid process and help them research scholarship and grant opportunities.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN IEC AND A HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR?

High school counselors are licensed in the area of school counseling which includes all school aged children (from kindergarten through the senior year). High school counselors provide many services for their students, including mental health and general counseling.  Their caseloads are extraordinarily high so their time for individualized post-secondary counseling for every student is very limited (if even possible).

An IEC specializes only in the post-secondary planning and process and areas the impact college admissions. When IEC's are not working with clients, they are participating in college tours, admissions webinars, college research, and other activities to give their clients the most up-to-date information and trends. Students that are most successful in their post-secondary plans have the opportunity to work closely with both their high school counselor and IEC. 

HOW CAN AN IEC HELP?

IEC's can help in a variety of ways, with the final goal of finding the best post-secondary plan for your child.  Some of the areas we assist our clients in are:

  • High school course planning with the future in mind

  • Building a strong student resume

  • Selecting useful and purposeful extracurricular and high school experiences

  • Selecting individuals for letters of recommendations

  • Identifying important post-secondary factors for each student

  • Interview preparation

  • Essay writing

  • The college application components

  • Guidance through the financial aid process

  • Understanding college loan options

  • Finding and applying for scholarships

  • Making college visits effective

  • Making a final post-secondary decision

  • Testing timelines and resources

  • Discussing GAP year options

We are also open to discussing any other support that our students need. Just schedule a FREE consultation to discuss your options.

IS HIRING AN IEC WORTH THE MONEY?

Hiring an IEC is an investment in your child's future, so we believe that it is definitely worth the money.  Currently, approximately 1/3 of college students will transfer schools while in college, and an even higher percentage change their career plan/goals.  With these changes, most students take longer to graduate, which causes an increase in college expenses.  With the support of an IEC, your child will explore college preferences and potential career fields of interested through personality assessments and through research.  With this approach, your child will have the opportunity to make a more educated decision in regards to their future.

HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED TO SIGN UP FOR?

The amount of support needed for each student varies.  For students that are just starting the process and are in their sophomore or junior year, we recommend the comprehensive plan (15 sessions).  Through the 15 sessions, the student will receive complete support through the process and will truly have the opportunity to find the best fit. For students that are entering later in the process, they may opt to focus on certain aspects of the process.  The best way to get this questioned answer is to sign up for a free consultation.  We off the free consultation so that we can discuss the best options for each student individually based on where they are in the process and what areas of support they feel they need.

HOW CAN YOU HELP WITH SCHOLARSHIPS OR FINANCIAL AID?

One of the biggest hurdles of college is the cost and it shouldn't hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Part of our mission is to help families find the best financial fit that still allows students to pursue their dreams. We can help students look for scholarship opportunities and help them with the scholarship application process (the application, essays, interview prep, etc.).  we also educate our families on the financial aid process, possible grant opportunities, student loan options, and the process for requesting financial aid.

HOW DO I KNOW IF A SCHOOL IS THE "RIGHT" FIT FOR ME?

Finding the right school for each student is our ultimate goal. Students need to find a school that challenges them, but doesn't overwhelm them.  They also need to find a school that offers the preferred programs, social scene, surrounding environment, climate, and activities and opportunities.  Many times, the cost of the school is also a deciding factor.  We work with our clients to identify their most important factors in their college preferences, and we identify college options for them to research and explore. During the entire consulting plan, this process continues until the student has identified the schools where they want to apply based on the characteristics of the school.

DO YOU GUARANTEE ADMISSION AT CERTAIN SCHOOLS?

No, we cannot guarantee admission at any particular school.  Our role is to prepare our clients to present their "best self" in application materials.  College admissions are unpredictable in some cases, and we are not in the business of making promises that we cannot keep.  We can inform each client of their likelihood of being accepted based on data that is published by each school; however, there are always circumstances that are not in our control.

WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY FOR SESSIONS?

We require 24-hour notice to reschedule sessions.  If this notice is not provided, we will offer the session virtually, or materials will be emailed to the client to complete the task(s) that were scheduled for that session.

WHAT TYPE OF INCENTIVE DO YOU RECEIVE FROM THE COLLEGES TO ENCOURAGE MY CHILD TO ATTEND THEIR SCHOOL?

We do not, and will not, accept compensation from any institution for promoting their institution or a clients attendance at their institution.  Our focus is on the best fit for our individual clients.

WHAT DOES "WORKING WITH AN IEC" LOOK LIKE?

Working with an IEC looks similar to having a private coach for your child's future. We work with our students and their parent(s) to create an individualized plan that supports them in the areas they need. Private sessions are scheduled to gain information, provide feedback, and discuss options and plans. Between sessions student have "assignments" to complete that will keep them on their timeline.  The IEC will use time between sessions to gather resources, research college options, review items submitted by the student/family, and follow up with the student with feedback or support.

HOW CAN YOU HELP IMPROVE MY STUDENTS ESSAY

Essay writing has become one of the biggest challenges in the college admissions process. We prefer to start earlier with our clients and have them focus on general essay topics.  We like to brainstorm ideas on topics, how to portray a student's personal characteristics through a story, and what topics to avoid. The goal is to create an essay that stands out in the admissions officer's mind so our clients are remembered.

DO YOU OFFER PAYMENT PLANS?

We know people like to have options regarding making payments for services, so we do offer our clients the option of paying in full or through multiple payments.  The number of payments varies based on the plan selected.  These options are discussed in your free consultation session.

WHAT TYPES OF PAYMENT DO YOU TAKE

We accept cash, check, Venmo, Zelle, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express

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