Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
+ What do Independent Educational Consultants (IEC's) do?
Overall, Independent Educational Consultants help make the entire college admissions process more organized and less stressful for students and their families. They also help to discover the best-fit school for each student and help maximize opportunities for scholarships and grants. Great educational consultant spend a considerable amount of time reading about and actually visiting colleges – so they know about options that incoming students might not know. Consulting services are tailored to meet the needs of each student, no matter when they decide to work with the Best Fit Edu team. While most of our clients contact us during the junior year, we welcome students whenever they are ready.
+ Why do I need to use an Independent Educational Consultant?
The average high school student receives only 40 minutes of one-on-one college counseling during their whole high school experience. The college process is too complex and too demanding for this to work for the average family. The application process can be especially confusing to international families or to those who are new to the US and are trying to navigate an unfamiliar system, often in an unfamiliar language. Working with a college advisor gives students the time and personal attention they need to develop their goals, produce their best work, and achieve success. Families also feel confident knowing that there will be follow-through, attention to detail, and communication through each stage of the process.
In addition to making the college search less stressful and more organized, an IEC can help students and families expand their horizons. Without outside advising, students often limit their choices to colleges that their friends attend, well-known colleges, or schools close to home.
It is important that students feel great about their college choice. Studies show that students who are satisfied with their college experience – including their choice of a major, academic and social emotional fit, are more likely to have higher grades, build stronger social networks, become more involved, and graduate successfully. Students who don’t fit are more likely to withdraw, transfer or even drop out; a waste of tuition dollars and a possible move away from the student’s goals.
+ When should we start planning for college or looking for an educational consultant?
Most students start seriously thinking about planning for college in the summer before or the fall of the junior year. However, some parents and students start learning about the process earlier. Having the ability to start one, two or three years earlier can be a huge advantage over those who start in their senior year.
+ What would an Educational Consultant do if we started in 9th or 10th grade?
Students who work with a consultant early enough (9th or 10th grade) will find that a college consultant can help them choose their classes, select extra-curricular activities that will help them present a strong application, determine their college admission testing timeline and find interesting summer programs. The Track It! Curriculum will help guide student through the process.
+ How often will I need to meet with an educational consultant?
How often you need to meet with the educational consultant will depend on where you are in the process and the time of year it is. During "admissions season" (the fall of your senior year or the year before you plan to attend college), then you may meet weekly if not more often. During other times of the year, it will be less frequent. If you are enrolled in a comprehensive plan, you will have access to College Planner Pro and will be able to contact your consultant any time with questions. Meetings can take place in-person for local families, or online for both local and long distance clients.
+ Do you work with international students?
We welcome working with international students. We understand the unique challenges of making sense of and navigating the US college process long distance. We help clarify and simplify all stages of the process, from preparing for language proficiency tests to deciding which colleges to apply to and reviewing applications. We want to ensure that international students are in a position to make a great choice for the best possible educational experience in the US.
+ Can we work together if I don’t live in the same city? Or the same time zone?
We have the ability to work with students and families in any time zone through video-conferencing and collaboration tools such as College Planner Pro. Setting up the online tools is easy and reliable. Working online with your consultant can save valuable time for both the student and the parents as the student merely has to turn on the computer to join a meeting.
+ What is a "Best Fit" college?
Fit can be described in three ways:
Academic: Academic fit means the college offers a program of study which matches your interests and needs. It provides a style of instruction which matches the way you like to learn. It also provides a level of academic rigor which matches your abilities.
Financial: Financial fit means the college offers scholarships, grants, loans and work study opportunities which make college affordable for your family.
Social: Social fit means the college offers a community that feels like home to you. It values you for what you have to offer.
The best match college for you will provide all three areas of fit – where you will be able to be balanced and thrive!
+ What is CIALFO?
CIALFO is a software system we use to manage and organize the college search and application process. Each student who is enrolled in the comprehensive consulting plan will have access to the program. It makes communicating with your consultant simple and keeps track of the deadlines and required materials for each of your schools all in one place.
+ What is the Score Analysis?
Through a score analysis, we are able to evaluate and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses on the TOEFL or IELTS tests. We have you take a diagnostic test where we can see and analyze all aspects of your answers including timing, structure, grammar, pronunciation and strategies. Once we have this information, we can target the test preparation instruction towards strengthening those weaknesses.
+ How often will I need to meet for test preparation lessons?
If you want to improve your English skills and test scores you should plan to have lessons on a regular basis and schedule them consistently. We recommend that you start seriously preparing for the test 6 weeks in advance and plan on meeting twice a week with your coach.
+ How do I sign up for lessons or consulting time?
Whether you are looking for private lessons for test preparation or to work with an educational consultant, you will first need to set up a complementary meeting to discuss your needs and goals. At that time, we will discuss a plan that works for the family, availability to make sure that our schedules match and compatibility to make sure that we will be able to work together to make a successful team. Contact usto set up your initial consultation.
+ What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 24-hr. cancellation policy. You will receive an appointment reminder 24 hours before your meetin with you Best Fir Edu team member. If you realize that you cannot keep that appointment, contact us immediately and we will be able to cancel or reschedule that lesson. If you do not give any notification, then you are charged for the full session.
+ Do you have a refund policy?
For test preparation lessons, there is a refund for unused lessons. If, for any reason, you are not satisfied or cannot continue lessons because of a change in schedule or plans, then you will be refunded for the lessons in your package that were not used. However, if you just need to take a break from regular lessons but plan on resuming lessons after a few weeks or months, your lessons will be waiting for you!
For consulting packages, if, for some reason, you are no longer able to continue the application process, then you will be billed at the full hourly price for the meeting times already spent. This may mean remitting payment on your part or a refund, depending where you are in the process or payment plan.
+ How much should we expect to pay?
The comprehensive plan offers the most value for you as it covers all aspects of the colege selection and application process. There are also 10 hour packages which can be used to cover any part of the application process that you need assistance with, such as essay writing or portfolio adcising. We also offer friend and family discounts, as well as discounts for signing up for multiple services, such as Test Preparation and Consultation packages.