|Frequently Asked Questions - Educational Consultants
How many hours do you spend with a student?
The educational consulting process is very intense; it takes hard work and considerable time. But the time spent varies student-by-student and individual situations. Some students need to spend more time working with me than others do. For instance when it comes to writing essays, some of my students work through that process rather quickly; for others the essay requires multiple re-writes. I give each student guidelines to help them through various tasks. The more independent the student, the more apt he/she is to take the ball and run with it. And, then, there are those who need help every step of the way because of their situations or workloads. Most importantly, I take considerable time getting to really know each student so that I can give them the best solution that fits their needs. I take pride in doing whatever it takes to get the job done well.
Should I disclose my learning disability?
Each student has a different set of circumstances and a different set of issues. There is no hard or fast rule as to whether to disclose a learning disability or not. When working with students, I look at all of the variables and recommend whether or not to reveal that information. I base my decision on the student's profile- for instance where they were in the learning process originally, how have they progressed, what kind of accommodations they will need in college, as well as the entire college environment.
How does your process work?
The roll of a college educational consultant is to be an objective 3 rd party. I spend a great amount of time gathering information from the family and the student. About 90-95% of my time is spent working directly with the student. I gather information through different types of questionnaires and interviews with both the parents and the student. I conduct a career and interest inventory for the student and collect other data, over time that gives me a complete picture of each of my students. It is vital that I learn what makes each of them "tick", what gets them excited and what their passions are.
Following an analysis of all this information, I figure out what needs to happen for this student and what makes them special, taking into account their learning style and other factors, and then breaking the process down into manageable tasks. The earlier someone starts with me, the less these tasks need to be condensed; ultimately they all have to get done.
Parents are an integral part of the process. Along the way, I communicate with them as often as needed. Their calls and emails are always welcome. However, it is the student that must take ownership of the process in order to achieve the best possible outcome for him/her. Following this path may also be considered a course in leadership and personal responsibility.
What makes you different from other consultants?
In some ways that's a tough question because I can't and don't analyze how other consultants conduct their business. Overall clients and professionals comment about how passionate I am about educational consulting and about my commitment to do the very best possible for my students.
I leave no stone unturned for students. I conduct extensive research so that I can figure exactly what's right for each individual. The college lists that I create for them are not generated by feeding data elements into a computer program and then having it burped out. Computers are good up to a point, but they don't take into account the personal side of what we do. My work with students and parents is personal, and so is the college list that I develop. Simply put, a good college list is one of the key components to a good college search. Additionally, some educational consultants package their students, I do not.
Zodda College Services also offers flexible payment plans in order to make these services available to more people. We think these services should be accessible to more people. That also makes us different!
What's the most difficult part of your job?
Expectations. What I mean by that is that it is important to set the right expectations from the first. Often, families come to me with a list of 30 to 40 colleges that they are interested in. Usually, they are the same schools that all of the student's friends are looking at. A list of this size is very narrow given that there are over 2,500 colleges to pick from. Other times clients overestimate their child's abilities in the current college landscape (a very important point) and rely too much on college rankings and other factors to drive their decisions.
Ten to fifteen years ago considering only those 30-40 schools that everyone seems to have on the tip of their tongue, might have been appropriate for some students. Today, however, a much broader search is needed because of the sheer size of the applicant pool. Data is available that substantiates this fact.
Do you ever get tired of travelling to all of these colleges?
No never. I've toured and continue to tour many colleges each year. I look at travel as an adventure that will prepare me to guide students through their college search. A campus visit really drives home the culture of each specific college. I visit colleges alone and also with colleagues; looking at campuses through their eyes is mutually advantageous and, in the end, students benefit.
Sometimes I visit a college that I've been led to believe is an incredible campus but actually turns out quite disappointing. Other times I visit with low expectations and the school turns out to be so impressive that I can't wait for the right student who might be a good fit for that college to walk into my office. The range of educational opportunities available in this country is astonishing.
In the end, it comes down to my learning about as many colleges as possible so that I can educate my clients, students and parents alike, about the schools they've never heard of that offer a fantastic education.
That's not to say I'm against schools with names that are on the tips of everyone's tongues; it simply means that I'm committed to finding the right range of colleges that fits the student and matches his/her skills and needs.
What type of payment plans do you offer?
I require a retainer and then bill monthly. The earlier a family gets started, the longer I can stretch out the payments resulting in a lower monthly payment.
I also adjust my overall fee for a Comprehensive Plan if a family earns below a certain threshold, as I am very interested in serving middle class families who think only the wealthy can afford my services. I also pay a third party to work directly with and fill out all of the Financial Aid forms; the FAFSA and the CSS Profile at those schools that require that form.
Zodda College Services - Educational Consultants providing college consulting and counseling services to parents and students in Andover, Ashland, Boston Brookline, Concord, Dedham, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Medfield, Millis, Natick, Newton, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wellesley, Weston, Westwood, Worcester, as well as throughout Massachusetts, New England, the Northeast, across the United States and internationally.