What does an Educational Consultant do?

Educational consultants are extremely varied and tend to specialize in particular areas of education, such as K-12 or higher education. There may be further specialization of the educational consultant in such areas as special education, private or public education, boarding schools and so on. At H2D Counseling, we have extensive experience working with a very diverse group of students that have had environmentally-based and biologically-based advantages and disadvantages (e.g., SES, ethnicity, ability, etc.). We specialize in working with students on issues related to their academics, financial aid and careers. I believe that no student is exactly like another and the entire person must be considered in order to properly assist him or her.

What does an Educational Advocate do?

Educational advocates represent the student or family (depending on the student’s age and grade level) by directly working with the school or college. Sometimes both sides are unable to arrive at a common solution on their own. This is usually when an advocate is sought by the student and/or family. The ultimate goal of an advocate is to present the student’s and/or parents’ side of a situation or problem while working toward a resolution. Understanding school policies and procedures as well as the student’s and parents’ rights are essential in order to arrive at the best possible outcome. It is the duty of the advocate to educate the family and/or student accordingly as well as obtain relevant information if it is unknown. It is important to note that an educational advocate is not a lawyer, and must understand his or her professional and legal limitations in order to be of utmost assistance to the student and/or family.

H2D Counseling advocates for families primarily based on the needs of the student. At each step of the process, we provide the student and/or family with a professional opinion regarding the best course of action and referrals if necessary. We have assisted students with a variety of issues in grades K-12, college and graduate school, particularly for students with disabilities. Our services include advocacy for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and emotional and mental health related disorders. Our approach is to foster a collaborative relationship with the student’s school, and to promote a positive relationship between the student and/or family and the school. Throughout the process, we encourage and educate families and students to continually learn about relevant policies, procedures and laws in order to gain the tools to advocate on their own behalf.

What is the benefit of having one person who does both consulting and advocacy?

A well-trained educational consultant with direct experience working within the educational system on behalf of families is able to help ensure that students’ needs are met by their school. Advocates and consultants are responsible for putting the needs of the student first, and should educate families on what they are entitled to under the law (e.g., FAPE or Fair and Appropriate Public Education, LRE or Least Restrictive Environment, etc.). Both a good advocate and a good consultant work diligently on behalf of the family, however, each has specific areas of expertise that may overlap to some extent.

H2D Counseling is experienced at working one-on-one with students on educational and career goals while taking into consideration their level of development and social-emotional well-being. Additionally, we are experienced at advocating on behalf of families to ensure that they are treated fairly and their rights are protected. This enables us to seamlessly assist students in many areas related to their academic progress and achievement with attention paid to their future endeavors.

Am I able to advocate for myself?

Absolutely. We encourage it, even as you work with an advocate. However, you will quickly learn if you have not already that there are several benefits to having an advocate. Generally speaking, the experience of advocating for your child within the educational system (particularly K-12 education) is very time consuming and frustrating. Having someone who is able to navigate through the educational system and effectively work with your school on your behalf is very beneficial. Depending on your needs and circumstances, there may be a great deal of jargon, legality, policies, procedures and bureaucracy to overcome. This is particularly true when dealing with matters related to a disability.

Advocating for yourself or your child is also very challenging, because it is difficult to maintain a necessary level of emotional distance and objectivity. Similar to having a lawyer defend themselves in court, representing yourself is possible but may be very risky depending on the circumstances. Working with an educational advocate or consultant may save you a great deal of time, aggravation and money.

Why choose H2D Counseling over other options?

Working with H2D Counseling is a personal choice that each family must make for themselves. As with all counseling, college counseling works best when there is a good fit between the client and the counselor. What is unique about H2D Counseling is that the services are provided to families at any stage of the student’s educational level. We think long-term and plan ahead in order to help to prevent future obstacles while assisting you presently.

Why should I use H2D Counseling’s services to apply to a college or university when I have other resources available to me for free?

The college application process is very time consuming, and for many students and parents it is also very stressful and confusing. H2D Counseling is able to help reduce the amount of time required and stress experienced during this critical period by helping you to navigate the application process. The extent of the services you choose from will depend on a few factors: 1) your budget, 2) where you are in your education, 3) how far along you are in applying, 4) how much you accurately know about the application process, and 5) how much you are willing to do yourself.

The best applications typically present a compelling (yet honest) version of the student, and knowing how to do this is a skill that involves much more than simply answering the questions in the application. H2D Counseling works with each student to craft a personalized, unique and engaging version of him/herself, and teaches each student how to do this for future educational, scholarship and employment opportunities. Nevertheless, no one can guarantee any outcome on a specific application.

While there are free resources available online, oftentimes this information is incorrect or outdated. You have to be careful with searching the web without any input from a professional. It is best to review multiple information sources from established agencies (e.g., FAFSA.gov, the College Board). Another very good resource that you should utilize for general information is the Admissions Office at the colleges and universities that you want to apply. Your school counselor (if you are in high school) is also very important to the college application process, and you will need to work with this person even if you work with H2D Counseling. However, your school counselor may be unable to provide you with an adequate amount of individualized assistance and guidance throughout the college application process. For additional information, visit our Resources and Blog.

What makes H2D Counseling an expert on the college admission process?

Being an expert in the college admission process requires continual learning and exposure to college admission counseling. At H2D Counseling. we are passionate and actively involved in this field. With over 16 years of experience helping hundreds of students and parents successfully apply to post-secondary schools and scholarships, we have developed strong skills and have observed various educational trends over time.

H2D Counseling is very versatile in helping students in all disciplines to become more competitive. We have advised and assisted students in the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and various professional programs including law, medicine, and business. Additionally, we have real world experience in various industries. We work effectively with students and guide them toward careers that are a good fit for them.

Does H2D Counseling focus on a particular type of college or region?

No. H2D Counseling recognizes that selecting which colleges to apply to is an individual process and should fit with each student’s needs and interests. H2D Counseling has successfully assisted hundreds of students to apply to universities and colleges throughout the country, including small liberal arts colleges, large state universities, research universities, Ivy League universities, and professional schools. Click here for information on various institutions at which past H2D Counseling clients have been accepted.

How does H2D Counseling work with students and parents?

H2D Counseling services may be conducted via in person, on the phone, online, or a combination of these, and will be discussed prior to or during the initial consultation meeting.

How and when do I pay for H2D Counseling services?

We provide a free consultation to answer your questions and concerns. Payment is due at the time of service or in advance through PayPal. For rates, please see our services page or contact us.

When is the best time to start the college application process?

For high school students, the best time to begin the application process is the summer after your junior year. During the summer, you should begin to write general college application essays. The current applications will not be available until the fall. However, you can use the previous year’s essay questions available online, because the questions are similar from year to year. It is difficult to manage applying to several schools and for scholarships during your senior year of high school. You should have already determined ways to make yourself a competitive and well-rounded applicant prior to this, possibly as early as middle school. Nevertheless, no matter where you are in the planning process, now is never too late to start.

Should I be worried about getting into college or graduate school?

The short answer is yes and no. Everyone who is academically prepared and has the financial means (including financial aid and scholarships) is able to attend college in this country, but not everyone applies. There are over 4000 colleges and universities in the U.S., and over 17 million students are enrolled. The real question is not can you get into college; it is can you get into the college of your choice? The honest answer is, it depends on a lot of factors and some of them are not in your control.

The admissions process is complex and feels very arbitrary at times. Being accepted into a post-secondary school depends on more than your GPA and your test scores (i.e., SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.). One thing to keep in mind is that admission criteria changes over the years. The same applicants from twenty years ago may have difficulty being accepted at their alma mater based on today’s criteria, and this will probably be the case twenty years from now about today’s applicants.

In the past several years, the economic recession has had a huge effect on college admissions for two main reasons. Firstly, drastic educational budget cuts have caused increases in tuition and decreases in resources for students. Secondly, many people who lost their jobs or were unable to find jobs after graduating high school or college decided to pursue more education. Both of these factors translate into a much more competitive admissions process, because there are more people applying for fewer spots. The takeaway is not to freak out, but rather to be flexible in the application process. There are plenty of schools to choose from that are right for you. Be open to the opportunities that are out there, and most importantly apply! If you don’t apply, you aren’t even in the running.

Should I apply to college if I have a learning disability or other type of disability?

If you have a documented learning disability or other disability, then you should have had accommodations put in place that will enable you to be successful in college. Choosing the right institution for you to be successful and properly supported is also very important. Nevertheless, this is a very individual issue that needs individualized consideration. Contact H2D Counseling to consult on this issue.

Are there specific strategies for getting into an undergraduate or graduate program?

Yes. Applying to undergraduate school and graduate school are very different processes. Undergraduate programs are looking for well-rounded students who will first and foremost graduate from their institution. The application is the school’s attempt to approximate their best guess as to whether or not you will complete your degree. Graduate school is somewhat different because institutions are looking for individuals who will competently contribute to and carry on the profession after graduation. They are looking for students who are a good match for their programs. Students often don’t realize that they should be looking at schools with the same level of discernment to ensure that the program is the right fit for them academically, professionally and personally.

Keep in mind that if you are accepted at a school, this means they are betting on you to satisfy their goals. However, if you are not accepted, it is just as likely that they have no more spots left to fill as it is that they have doubts about you from your application. You should not have doubts about your abilities even if a school has doubts about you. Your worth will never be tied into a letter of acceptance unless you convince yourself otherwise.

Should I be upset if students who have lower GPAs and test scores get into the school that I was not accepted to but want to attend?

There will be students with scores and GPAs lower as well as higher than you at your institution. This is why it is important to apply to a range of schools. Universities attempt to make the application process equitable rather than equal, because not everyone is able to attend the best K-12 schools, or to afford SAT prep courses or individual tutoring. These types of advantages are considered by institutions, and they try their best to even out these differences while still accepting only students who they believe will be successful. Universities also want to create a diverse environment with people from around the country and the world, because a big part of the college experience is learning from your peers and establishing relationships. The application process is unpredictable, and it is best not to take it personally.

There is another way to look at this. Our philosophy at H2D Counseling is that, being accepted by any school is great news! We think that being rejected from a school is not a curse but a blessing; the colleges you get into are the ones you are meant to choose from. Your college or university will greatly impact your life in ways that you cannot imagine. There are people and opportunities unique to each school, and it behooves you to go where life takes you. Life takes you to where you need to be, not where you think you want to go. The most successful people take opportunities that come and make the most of them. The least successful people dwell on what hasn’t happened and get stuck there.

At H2D Counseling, we work collaboratively with you to help you make your dreams come true. Having said that, there is no magic wand and no one can make promises about college admissions. Work hard, and be proud and appreciative of what comes from it. Open up to what life brings you, and then make the most of it!

Testimonial

H2D Counseling has done a great job in giving me tips on college essays and my resume and searching for colleges. My H2D counselor also helped me with my insecurity about being able to get into prestigious schools.

Matt B. (high school student)