How to choose your university admission expert?

Beware! Private university admission counselling companies can now be found everywhere. Unfortunately, many of these supposed “experts” aren’t really experts at all. Bad advice can hurt a student’s chances of admission and their future.University Counsellor of The British International School, Phuket (BISP) explains us what it takes to choose, apply and secure a place at universities throughout the world.

Is your counsellor part of a professional network?

True experts in helping students gain admission to universities participate in admission conferences, have professional memberships in international university admission associations, and have strong relationships with admission officers all over the world. At BISP, for example, the university counsellors are frequent speakers and attendees at international admission conferences. They have also received international awards from their peers for their service to the international counselling community.

Make sure your counsellor is certified

Each year there are more individuals and companies that play on parents fears about university admission and attempt to get families to sign up for expensive private university counselling packages. You may be surprised to learn that many private consultants have very little training and are not credentialed. Perhaps a mum helped her child to apply to college and thinks that is enough to be hired to help your child. It’s not. If you don’t have a professional university counsellor in your school, be certain the private consultant you’re considering is credentialed – many aren’t. The highest level credential is that of Certified Educational Planner (CEP). The person should also be a current member of the International Association for College Admission Counselling.

Don’t let consultant’s ‘practice’ on your child

You wouldn’t agree to having a doctor who has only performed a handful of surgeries operate on you. Similarly, you don’t want a university consultant to “practice” on your child. A university counselor must have extensive knowledge, expertise and experience in the field of educational planning. If someone says they can guarantee admission to a particular university, don’t believe – or hire – that person.

Look at the quality of the school your child is current at, or applying to

As you are looking at international school options, take a look at both the quality of their university counseling and the success of the graduates. A high quality school should have a professional looking “school profile” and also make it easy to learn where their students went after graduation. And remember, to help your child find university success, make sure that beginning in primary school, they are getting the best education possible.

If all else fails – hire a professional

If your child is attending a great school with experts in university admissions, work with them. If your school doesn’t have one and you are considering hiring a private individual, make sure you practice due diligence. In addition to wasting a lot of money, the wrong advisor could actually hurt – rather than help – your child’s chances of university admission.

Written by Dale Ford, University Counsellor of The British International School, Phuket (BISP)

Dale Ford

BISP University Counsellor
BISP Media


  • Nationally (US) Certified School Psychologist
  • Master of Arts in School Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honor in Psychology
Memberships and Awards:
International Association for College Admission Counseling

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
  • Distinguished Service Award, 2007
  • President, 2004-2005

National Association for College Admission Counseling (US)

  • Recognition Award, 2005

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