Educational consultants help parents and students with educational planning. They refer options for colleges, universities, high schools and programs for special needs. They help match a student’s strengths and career dreams with the right school or program. Identifying student needs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an educational consultant. Fox Business says “Private educational counselors help alleviate stress for students and parents by providing information, helping them find the best suited colleges, and then guiding them through the process, all while being their biggest cheerleader.” Like a child advocate? Sounds to me like a useful expert to have in helping us raise our children. I recently watched a local Santa Barbara educational consultant make decisions about the future of a minor without knowing the child; without ever meeting the child. Worse yet, without knowing the mother; or even meeting the mother. The mother had been raising this child full time up to the high school years and had made every school and legal decision since birth. Yet, she was not even considered when giving his “advice”. It got me wondering, what does an educational consultant do and what is their motive? How did a stranger have qualifiedauthority over a minor? And how did his opinion somehow override the qualified authority of the mother? A child’s life does not have as much time to make mistakes as an adult life. A child relies on the elders in his or her life to give support and guidance. In this case, the high school age is a critical, life foundational time. As parents, we have such little time to set them up for independence in this world. False authority and thoughtless decisions may take a long time for a high schooler to recover. To refer back to the original definition “ Identifying the student needs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an educational consultant.” Independent consultants charge anywhere from $5000 to $20,000 for a recommendation, including the full process. Sometimes they have the right connection at the right time in order to get your child into the right placement. In my opinion, they are simply not capable of knowing all programs and their facets and realities for special needs, high schools, colleges and universities. So you end up getting referrals to where they have the “relationships”. Every one of the schools or programs of which the consultant would refer have their own contact numbers and their own Admission Directors. Admission Directors are happy to spend time with you to determine if their school or program is the best fit for your child. Making the phone calls and asking questions takes time, however, how many hours of your time would keep $5,000 -$20,000 in your bank account? And who would be more qualified to know what is best for your child? A true educational consultant would put the childs needs, strengths, weakness and goals first. He or she would talk to all parties that have been raising that child and get to know the family dynamics. This is a job of great responsibility of which I would like to see held with a higher level of integrity than what I have seen so far.