Common FAQs on Working with an Education Consultant
The decision on where your child should go to school or university is a critical one, and can be exciting, complicated, and even a little overwhelming for any parent.
It can be the culmination of years of your child’s hard work and careful planning, and can open up avenues for their education and career that enable them to flourish – or close them off. Top independent schools and world-class universities can have idiosyncratic admissions processes and challenging criteria, which can make an application even more complex and stressful. To top it off, if your child is also applying to a school or university in a different and unfamiliar country, perhaps because your family has relocated, an additional layer of problems and questions can arise.
How can you and your child make a more informed and ultimately more successful decision? How can you make the application process more transparent and easier to navigate? An Education Consultant could provide the professional expertise you need.
What Does an Education Consultant Do?
The role of an Education Consultant is to deliver guidance to families and individuals who seek information and support that will enable them to make well-considered and effective educational choices for their child.
Families might bring in the services of an Education Consultant to help assess which school or university will best support their child, providing an unbiased outlook on their goals and options, and helping them to understand the pros and cons of the different choices available.
Keystone’s consultancy provides assistance to families looking for support in placing their children in UK schools, from nursery all the way through to Sixth Form, and to those seeking assistance with their university applications.
Our consultants can:
- Troubleshoot specific educational issues for your child – like which GCSE or A Level options to select, how to help your child keep pace with their peers, or how to help your child get the most out of boarding school
- Work with you and your child throughout the application process to independent schools at all age levels and entry points
- Support applicants with their degree choices and university applications
- Provide objective information on the strengths and outcomes different institutions have typically delivered for their students, and provide nuanced and detailed support based on their expertise and relationships in the sector
- Assist with additional information and considerations when relocation to the UK from abroad is a factor in your child’s education, drawing on extensive experience with families in similar situations.
How Can an Education Consultant Help Find the Right School for My Child?
Working out where your child should go to school and university can be a confusing and overwhelming process, particularly for those who are new to independent education, or to UK schools and universities more generally, but equally for those who haven’t set foot in a school since their own school years! With hundreds of schools available, all with similarly shiny and impressive websites, untangling which school is the right match for your child can be mystifying. This uncertainty is often added to by the chatter at the school gates, or at dinner parties, at which often people can pick up fairly polarized views of schools.
An Education Consultant can simplify the school selection process for families, gaining an understanding of the family and children, considering the key priorities alongside the logistical considerations (location, commute etc.), and thinking about the child’s academic ability and suitability for various types of academic environments. Through these conversations with a family a consultant is able to provide an evidence-led, clearly thought-out overview of options, and a plan to help achieve goals.
Key benefits of working with an Education Consultant for school admissions:
- Consultants will help you select the most appropriate schools for your child based on the available evidence
- They provide a comprehensive knowledge of the British independent school system
- They will have positive relationships with schools
- They will be able to map out a long-term educational strategy
- They can assist with school registrations and support through the (often long) timeline
- Consultants are able to provide school specific support and advice, so that the child is prepared for school specific entry tests, and assessment days and interviews
- Consultants are able to help in unexpected scenarios such as last-minute school moves, relocations, and managing disruptions
How Can an Education Consultant Help Find the Right University for My Child?
There are over 50,000 undergraduate courses at more than 395 providers in the UK. Understanding what you might want to study, and where, requires thought, research and often, support. Whilst many schools do provide university application support, applicants can often benefit from 1-1 support with a consultant who is able to provide more depth, information, and support.
At Keystone, our team of expert consultants have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the entrance requirements for each institution, and they are supported by a pool of outstanding subject specialist tutors. Our professional tutor team are graduates from Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities and provide in-depth expertise in preparing students for their chosen course.
Key benefits of working with an Education Consultant for university admissions:
- Consultants will provide a comprehensive knowledge of British universities
- Consultants have a good understanding of the courses and universities available, and will be able to gain a clear understanding of the course(s) that will be the best fit for the applicant
- Consultants will be experienced in supporting applicants through their UCAS application
- Consultants will have the experience and expertise to provide Oxbridge specific advice to those who are making an application to Oxford or Cambridge
- Consultants can advise on additional entry requirements – such as Entry Assessments and Interviews
- For those applying to the UK from overseas a consultant can provide advice and support surrounding entry requirements (for different qualifications), information regarding Reference writing, support with the Personal Statement and UCAS application.
What Makes a Good Education Consultant?
A good Education Consultant ideally has both a deep understanding of the education system in the countries they are advising on, and an objective, evidence-based approach to providing that advice. Where children are relocating internationally, it can also help if the Consultant has experience of both the countries and educational systems involved – perhaps through overseas branch offices or a network of international colleagues.
While you might think being an ex-headteacher would provide an ideal perspective, the danger of having a bias towards particular schools or universities is very real – each child’s needs and situation are unique, and there is no one-size-fits all approach to achieving their educational goals.
Listening and asking the right questions are also critical skills for an Education Consultant – helping them to get to the crux of what matters to each family and helping them to understand the different choices available to them. The key difference between an agent – who may be working for particular schools on commission, ‘free’ advice - which may be influenced by advertising spend, and a true consultant, is that the latter can ensure your child surveys all the options and makes the most informed decision possible.
At Keystone, our team of expert consultants are based in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. We have strong relationships with well-respected, long-standing members of the educational community. This allows us to gather reliable, objective and up-to-date information about schools, universities, education systems, curricula, teachers and the whole breadth of the contemporary educational experience.
Can an Educational Consultant Guarantee a Place at a School or University?
In a word, no. While an Educational Consultant will likely have contacts or deeper experience of particular institutions, they are only able to provide guidance and advice. Your child’s qualities, skills, and educational track record are what will determine their admission to the school or university of their choice, but an Educational Consultant can work to ensure that these are developed and represented as effectively as possible throughout the application process.
How to Choose an Education Consultant
Cost: think about charges. Some consultants will provide a service for a low charge, potentially even for no fee. In these instances they are likely to receive a commission from a school or university, which is likely to lead to a biased approach to consultancy.
Record: does the consultant have experience specific to the schools/universities you are looking at? Make sure that they understand your goals and have a clear process that will help you get there.
Relationship: it may well be that you build a relationship with your allocated consultant for a number of years. It is important, considering this, that you develop a positive connection with them and feel comfortable to ask whatever questions might arise over this process.
Reputation: word of mouth can be a powerful thing, and if someone you know or ‘know of’ recommends a consultant, then it would always be worth getting in touch with them to find out more.
Further Information about Keystone’s Education Consultants
Find out more about Keystone’s team of Education Consultants, and the services we offer here.