FAQ

What is an educational consultant?
An educational consultant is a trained professional. Hired by families to help guide them through educational transitions, a consultant thoroughly evaluates a student’s academic/social/emotional needs and suggests educational options, such as colleges, schools, or therapeutic programs to meet those needs. Consultants do not accept compensation from colleges, schools, or programs, thus allowing them to remain objective in their evaluation of a provider’s mission and work solely on behalf of a student and family. An educational consultant’s job is to find the right match to ensure that a student is happy and successful.
How do I choose the right consultant for my family?
There are several important factors to consider in choosing the right educational consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask consultants pointed and straight forward questions during your interview process; you are putting your child’s future in their hands.

  • Consider the consultants background and training – Look for a consultant with an educational degree, employment history, and ongoing training efforts that make you confident in their level of knowledge.
  • Consider the consultant’s organizational affiliations – There are many wonderful organizations that have been created to educate, aid, train, and support educational consults, such as IECA, HECA, and NACAC. Look for a consultant who supports relevant associations by way of membership and active participation.
  • Consider the consultant’s specialty – In a time where our complex society inundates us with information and choices, the field of educational consulting, has developed specialties. Being that it is impossible to gain and maintain knowledge of all areas of education, look for a consultant whose practice specializes in the area of interest to your family. Some examples of specialties are; Learning Disabilities, Special Needs, K-12 Schools, Traditional Boarding Schools, College.
  • Consider the consultant’s customer service - Customer service is essential in a field that is build around individualized counseling and relationship building. Find a consultant who is readily available and is willing to meet on an unlimited basis.
  • Consider the consultant’s personality, style, and reassuring nature – Regardless of why you are seeking out the services of an educational consultant, one thing is for sure; you are in need of help. A consultant will not be helpful unless you AND your child are comforted by their presence and advice.

A little research will go a long way to insure that your relationship with your educational consultant is a positive, long lasting one!

College Counseling

When should I begin working with a college consultant?
The earlier a family begins working with a college consultant, the more benefits they will gain from the process. Academic Options begins working with students as early as freshman year of high school to guide students towards appropriate class schedules, summer activities, community service projects, and academic accommodations, when needed. The college selection process ideally begins in the fall of Junior year as Academic Options guides students in researching, visiting, and considering appropriate colleges as well as in developing a strategy for the timing and preparations for standardized testing. Oftentimes, families contact an independent college counselor as late as senior year when the application and essay process begins to overwhelm the family unit. Academic Options is here to serve families whenever they decide to seek professional assistance.
Can you get my child into a college?
NO! Educational consultants do not “get your students into college”, nor do they have any pull with admissions officers or secrets to “get you in”. Consultants aim to find colleges that are appropriate matches for a student and then help a student present themselves in the best possible light in a college application. Consultants have the insight and experience to portray a student in 3D through their essays and resumes, the organizational strategies to maintain all deadlines, the knowledge of what colleges are looking for, and the contacts in admissions offices to gain insight and get accurate information. A consultant who promises you “pull” or “secrets” is doing just hat…making promises.
My child's high school has college counseling, why should I use you?
Your high school based college counselor is a very important part of the team. However, just as teachers split their time and attention among all those in the class, a school based counselor must devote a limited amount of time to a large number of students, while still shuffling other counseling and administrative duties. So, like a subject specific tutor, a qualified independent college counselor takes on a limited number of clients and works one-on-one with each student to meet their individualized needs. This ensures personalized attention and service from an expert in the field of “college”.
Can we meet with you first before signing on?
Of course. I am happy to arrange a session, free of charge, to meet and give you the opportunity to test your comfort level with my office, my services, and my style.

Post-Secondary Placement

What is post-secondary placement?
Not all students are ready for or desire an independent, traditional college experience immediately following high school. Luckily, this is such a common circumstance that there are hundreds of programs across the country that serve these students. Students typically attend one or a combination of these programs for a year or more, and most fall within one of these categories.
PG-13 – Post Graduate 13th Year. Located on its own campus or on the campus of a boarding high school, students in a PG-13 year can increase their academic skills, test their independence, and/or increase their GPA (popular for student athletes), and usually earn some college credit before applying to a college/university the following year.
Gap Year – A year of “hand on, experiential” learning through travel, community service, internship, outdoor adventure, exploration, or a combination of one or more of the above. The purpose of a gap year is to take a break from traditional work, to mature, or to find direction. Colleges and universities look highly upon a gap year before admissions.
Independent Living Skills/Vocational Programs – The goal of these programs to teach students the skills necessary to live on their own, care for themselves, socialize independently, and find an appropriate vocational program or job.
Transitional College Programs – Programs that focus on the transition from high school to independent college life. Using a coaching or therapy based model, students are aided in the academic transition through advising and tutoring, social judgment through mentoring, and independent living skills through budgeting, time management, and organization.
When should I begin to work with a consultant to plan for life after high school?
Many families are acutely aware, at an early age, that their child will need help transitioning from life at home during high school to independent adulthood after graduation. In these cases, Academic Options begins working with students once they enter high school to begin planning for the future. Understanding the options available at the post-secondary level often eases the academic, social, and emotional decisions parents face during their child’s high school years. With some good planning, intervention, support, and guidance, a student’s list of options may grow considerably if they use the high school years to work on skills necessary to succeed at the post-secondary level. For other families, time goes by so quickly that they find themselves facing immediate decisions about life after high school without having information about available options. Academic Options is experienced in both long term planning and immediate placement at the post secondary level.

Therapeutic Placement

We are working with a lot of professionals, when should I call in a consultant?
A student having difficulty at home, in school, in college, with peers, with him/herself, or with authority is either in danger or wasting valuable growing time. An educational consultant should be contacted as soon as a parent is aware that the difficulties are beyond their ability to manage. A consultant will make every effort to call in specialists to help the situation and to discuss all possible options with a family before a difficulty becomes a crisis.
What is Therapeutic Placement?
An out of home placement that is typically considered for students with emotional or behavioral disorders who are not responding to treatment in the home setting. Parents have usually exhausted all local resources before considering an out of home placement. Therapeutic placement can be in the form of:
Outdoor Behavioral Health Program (Wilderness Program)
Emotional Growth or Therapeutic Boarding School
Residential Treatment Center
In Patient Medical Model
Transitional Independent Living/Young Adult Program (also see Post-Secondary Placement)