College-bound students are often advised to apply to between four to eight schools. So it’s no wonder students require guidance managing the fraught process of selecting the right colleges, gathering application materials, writing essays, scheduling interviews and meeting application deadlines. That explains why consulting services for private college applications and financial aid planning are booming. From 2003 to 2013, the number of college applicants who used a “private admissions consultant” or independent educational consultant” tripled.
A college application consultant may have a background in guidance counseling, college admissions or teaching — there’s no accreditation or degree required except experience and the ability to shape a candidate’s application so that it’s complete, on time and presents candidates to the best of their abilities. Naturally, having an understanding of the college scene and what individual schools can offer and are looking for will help your clients.
However, a financial aid consultancy typically requires accreditation and certification by a financial planning industry group, such as the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards or the CFA Institute. As previously reported on Entrepreneur.com, the “financial aid planner helps parents get the lowest possible price for their child’s college education, thus saving them money.” This job requires you to be aware of the financial aid resources available and knowing how to advise parents to fill out the financial aid forms, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Financial aid planning also requires advising parents on tax implications about college savings plans and negotiating the best financial aid package when the offer comes. You can market your services in high schools, libraries, private tutorial centers and universities.
For more information about starting a college planning consultant business, read Start Your Own College Planning Consultant Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin. Available on Amazon, eBooks.com and Barnes & Noble.