Stressed about the college application process?
Wondering if boarding school could be an option for your family?
Concerned about the organization and study skills of your middle school student?
Feeling unsure about choosing an AP or an IB path for your high school student?
Struggling for ideas about summer programs?
We hear you! School is not what we remember. Gone are the days of chalk boards and passing notes. Today there are white boards smarter than we are, and the notes scribbled on paper have turned into selfie snapchats. It can feels like our children’s entire futures hang in the balance of even the smallest decision, and there are so many big and important ones to make. If you are anything like us, there are stacks of parenting books filling shelves, endless text conversations with sisters and girlfriends going through the same thing, and phone calls with your mom that usually end in her great amusement about how “what goes around comes around.”
We reached out to two of our favorite scoop fans who are also Educational Consultants for their thoughts and advice on navigating the complex process that is educating the 21st century child. Trish Rohr and Katie Garrett of Garrett-Rohr Educational Consulting have over forty years combined experience in education and counseling, and deliver guidance and support to students and families navigating important academic decisions. Their services include comprehensive college planning, college application completion, essay development, independent day school consulting, boarding school application guidance, and executive functioning support.
Think of them as the mechanics to our minivans, the dentists to our coffee-stained teeth, the trainers to our less-than-youthful butts. We hire all types of people to help guide, fix and support us ~ why wouldn’t we do that for our kids’ education?
These little gems of all things education and academic insight called Educational Consultants (EC for short) can play such a valuable role in your family’s educational process. Knowing what type of advice, guidance and support, as well the credentials experience and philosophy of the EC, is the best thing you can do to ensure you find the match that is right for you.
So what are some things to consider when looking for educational support from consultants?
While there is not a college major in educational consulting, there are many areas of academic and professional experience that can set one EC apart from the others. Anyone can learn the steps required to submit an application to a college. NOT everyone has a deep passion for high school students and meeting them where they are in their academic journey to ensure they find the best fit college or university. Pieces of the college application process cannot be done well in isolation. It is important for the EC to be able to see the big picture while also honoring the impact of the details in the process-summer planning, resume building, interview prep, testing strategies, essays. There is big difference between a content tutor and an EC with experience in learning styles and learning differences who is dedicated to helping each student present their most authentic and best self.
2.Philosophy of Support
Some consultants choose to charge by the hour and others offer comprehensive packages of support. Regardless of the structure of payment, there should be a desire to build a relationship with the student and the parents. The more wholistic the approach, combined with the desire to collaborate, the greater the odds for a supportive and impactful relationship. Relationships are the secret sauce – find the EC that creates and is committed to partnering with your family.
3.Professional Affiliations and Professional Development
Lots o’ acronyms….. IECA, SACAC, HECA, SBSA. The letters aren’t the important part – but the commitment to professional excellence sure is. Ask what professional organizations the EC is affiliated with and is actively involved. Most organizations come with professional requirements ensuring the members are educated in the latest trends and philosophies in education as well as campus visits, attendance at conferences etc.
It is important that the EC you are interviewing does this AND MORE. Do they speak about other opportunities they take advantage of related to adolescents and teens? Are they passionate about supporting kids and helping them become their best selves? You are looking to see if they are passionate, life-long learners.
We will always second guess our decisions and the impact we have on our kids – Is that a tick? A stutter? Wait, did she just fall asleep for a minute? Is it narcolepsy? Are her eyes crossing? Some days it feels like just keeping our kids alive is cause for celebration-at least at my house.
When your family is faced with educational decisions and questions that have your fingers itching to do Google searches, reach out and find the professional with whom you can partner. Every child will have a different academic path and the greatest gift we can give them is the support to find ways to shine as their truest selves.
Garrett Rohr Educational Consulting, LLC is a full-service, academic consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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