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Guide to become College Application Consultant for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Help students—and their parents—navigate through the confusing maze of
college application forms.
• Assist in gathering required letters of recommendation and transcripts.
• Aid in preparation of financial aid forms.
The Need
Few processes are more stressful, less predictable, and more important than
applying to colleges. A typical application packet for a private college includes
dozens of pages of forms, several booklets of instructions, and requests for additional
information.
If that were not enough, most college applicants today apply to more than one
school—perhaps as many as six or eight—including “safety” schools, where
they believe they have a near certainty of acceptance; schools where they believe
they have a good chance; and schools that are worth reaching for even though the
odds of acceptance are low.
Challenges
A college application consultant assists with the completion and filing of forms
and other information, but does not offer advice on selection of colleges; that is
a job for a high school guidance counselor or a specialized college selection
advisor.
Similarly, an application consultant should not become involved in coaching
a student on essays or in obtaining recommendations; again, a high school guidance
counselor may be of assistance here. The application consultant should be
concerned with making certain that the essay and recommendations are submitted
properly as part of the process.
People taking on this sort of job need to be highly organized, detail-oriented,
and capable of meeting deadlines.
Consultants also have to demonstrate confidentiality as they work with applicants
and their families to fill out financial aid forms, including the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used as the basic request for aid
at most colleges. Some schools also ask for supplemental information on forms
of their own and may ask applicants to mail in copies of current federal tax
forms.
Consultants may also offer assistance in applying for scholarships from community
organizations, national service groups, unions, and corporations.
Be sure you make no promises about acceptance to any school; your job is to
present the student’s information in an accurate and timely fashion. Do not
become involved in falsification of credentials, scores, recommendations, or other
elements of the application; it’s not just the student’s reputation that could be
damaged.
Know the Territory
Applications for college are generally filed by high school students in the fall of
their senior year. Early-admission deadlines are generally in November, and final
deadlines are usually in January.
A well-prepared and motivated student may be ready to work on applications
months ahead of the deadline. However, many students—perhaps a majority of
those who seek assistance from a college application consultant—may delay
until almost the last possible moment.
Your work may well be squeezed into the period between Labor Day and
New Year’s Day, which includes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
You’ll need a steady supply of high school seniors. Your chances of getting
assignments is also related to the percentage of students who apply to college and
the proportion who seek admission to private colleges, which generally have
more complex application processes than do state or community colleges.
Research the most common college choices made by students in your area.
Many schools publish this information in year-end newsletters; you may also be
able to obtain a list of schools from a cooperative guidance counselor.
Most important, spend the time to become an expert on college applications.
Establish a collection of them, noting those with unusual or nonstandard requests
or confusing questions.
How to Get Started
Most major colleges now post their applications and supporting information
online. Visit the web sites and download copies of the forms, or request that
application packets be sent to you.
At most web sites you can practice filling out the forms without actually submitting
them.
Feel free to call college admissions offices and ask questions about the application
process.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need to set up and maintain a computer system to help you research colleges
and obtain applications; many schools also permit filing of applications online.
Advertise for clients in school newspapers, on bulletin boards in schools,
libraries, and community centers, and in shopping guides and community newspapers.
How Much to Charge
Jobs can be priced on an hourly basis or as a flat fee for the first application and
a slightly reduced charge for multiple colleges. It will be easier to gather information
for subsequent colleges once the first application is completed, but it still
takes time to go through each application line by line to enter data.
Note, too, that the amount of work you have to do is related to how organized
the student and his or her parents are in gathering information. If you work on an
application only to find that the essay has not been completed or that details of
the student’s resume have not been prepared, you will have to have your clients
put in more of their own time and then revisit the paperwork.
Charging on an hourly basis allows you to make a reasonable profit even if
the tasks multiply and you must make more than one visit to a student.
If the work is done at your students’ homes, using their computer, printer, and
telephone, there should be no extra charges involved. If you work on the forms
partly or completely at your home or office, you may incur costs for Internet use,
printing, and telephone; your agreement should allow you to add these charges to
your bill.

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