Parents considering private or independent schools for the first time can find the situation 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 life size jigsaw puzzle in which the objective is to find the best fit between school and student. No two are alike and fitting the details together is difficult even for the experienced parent.
A educational consultant helps with the fit.
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.
However, no matter the tailoring of the situation one goal remains at the end of every school search- matching, and fitting the traits and abilities of each student with a school setting that will best foster that student’s growth.
Knowing the Student and Family
A consultant will first set our to learn and get 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 with no known reason. In this case a consultant might suggest 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 give 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 Process Knowledge
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 or a map 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.
Student Centered Goal- the best fit
Using his/her broad vision and expertise a consultant may shape all or a 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.