When starting the college admissions process, many families seek outside help from independent educational consultants. How do families find an independent educational consultant for their student? What questions should they ask when interviewing the educational consultants? Are there certain criteria every educational consultant should have in terms of experience or certifications? Michelle McAnaney was a high school college counselor prior to becoming an independent educational consultant. She shares why and how to go about hiring an educational consultant. We also touched on letters of recommendations and tips for students as they start to think about who to ask for a letter of recommendation.
- Determine your reasons for hiring an educational consultant (help with college search or essays, financial aid or scholarship assistance) and then ask your friends and colleagues for a recommendation.
- There are some educational consultants who specialize in student-athlete recruitment, performing arts, or financial aid.
- When interviewing an educational consultant, ask about their experience, association with any organizations, and their process working with students
- Recommendation letters should be from the core subject teachers (unless applying to a school for art).
- Look for the school’s requirements in recommendation letters. It can give you a better idea of who to ask.
- You can ask teachers for a recommendation in classes you didn’t get an A in because they can better articulate what you do when you struggle and how you overcome challenges.
- Ask in person for a recommendation (if you can), but always ask before you send a formal request.
- Ask if the teacher wants a brag sheet. They all have different preferences! Don’t give a resume to the teacher because it can be repetitive.
- Make sure your recommenders are good writers!
- Ask at the end of junior year! Give them ample time to finish writing. The earlier the better because they still have their experience with you fresh.
- Other recommenders give a chance to bring another aspect of you to the application!
- Do not send too many letters of recommendation, as it can be a negative for you.
Important Resources and Links:
Meet Michelle McAnaney
Michelle McAnaney is the founder of The College Spy, an independent educational consulting firm that assists students and families across the US and internationally with the college selection and application process. Prior to founding The College Spy, Michelle was a guidance counselor and educator for more than 15 years, including serving as the Director of Guidance at two high schools, an adjunct college professor and a GED tutor. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Thank you to Michelle for sharing your advice for families wondering why and how to hire an educational consultant. What should families ask when interviewing an educational consultant? What criteria should families look for and expect? Michelle also provided advice for students on how to, when and who to ask for a letter of recommendation for the college application. It is really important to consider what teacher knows you the best in terms of your learning style, your character, and how you might contribute to the college community. Asking for recommendations in a timely and thoughtful manner will be appreciated by your teacher.