Parents considering private or independent schools for the first time can find the process daunting. If completely new to independent education, one can expend much energy working to learn the vocabulary and ways of independent schools all before focusing on the most important piece of the equation, your student. The school search is akin to a life-size jigsaw puzzle in which the objective is to find the best fit between school and student. No two are alike and dovetailing the talents of school and student is difficult even for the experienced parent. The expertise and services of an educational consultant can help families find the best school for their children.
What An Educational Consultant Can Help With
Each family's unique setting and student determine the exact role that a consultant plays in the school search. IECA educational consultants are credentialed professionals- members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)- who add expertise and independent judgment to a family's school search.
A consultant brings clear eyes to a school search. A consultant's perspective helps a family set aside biases and preconceived expectations and notions in favor of clear examination and what is best for the student.
Using his/her broad vision and expertise, a consultant may shape all or some of a family's school application plan. Most importantly, the consultant can see and think critically about the family, student, and school choices, providing guidance driven and shaped by what's best for the student. An educational consultant helps find the best fit for students and schools.
Assessing the Student’s Needs/Knowing the Student and Family
A consultant will first set our to learn and get to know the student and family. What's the impetus for a school change? What's the family history and setting? What is the student's educational history? How is the student presently doing in school? The family may have a child experiencing difficulty in school for no known reason. In this case, a consultant might suggest an educational evaluation. Has the student been evaluated in his/her previous school setting? Have any learning differences been diagnosed? A family change may be behind the move to a different school.
Knowledge of the student and a family gives the consultant the perspective and judgment to say "we need to know more" and seek educational assessment and testing when needed. When the ducks are in a row and the consultant is satisfied that he/she knows the family and the student well, then, thinking shifts to schools that might be good environments for the student.
School and Admission Process Expertise
Educational consultants know schools and that the devil is in the details. Consultants regularly visit schools to gain first-hand experience of each school's unique perspective and workings. Schools often appear quite similar in their literature and pictures. In reality, each school and student are a unique fit.
Once settled on a school or school list, an educational consultant can aid families in building a plan to follow so that no piece of the admission process suffers from short shrift or omission. Consultants can also help a family manage the application process. The amount of involvement in the process is determined by the needs of the student and family.
The Best Match of Student and School
In an ideal school transition, the assessment and application process takes place over many months. However, many school changes occur in a short or tight timeframe. Keep in mind that- no matter what the application/school change time frame- the application process is exactly that- a process. Steps can be taken faster, but all the bases must be covered. Educational consultants excel in helping with a condensed process.
No matter the tailoring of the situation one goal remains at the end of every school search, i.e., matching and fitting the traits and abilities of each student with a school setting that will best foster that student's growth.
An online resource for students and parents researching boarding schools, AdmissionsQuest provides school search tools, articles about boarding schools and the admission process, and information on boarding school loans. AQ also offers educational consulting services through AQ Educational Consulting.
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