There’s no barrier to entry for private college counseling. Anybody can say they’re a counselor. No license required, no test to pass, no reason someone can’t hang a shingle and call themselves an expert. They can also charge way too much and do it all wrong if they want to because there’s nothing to stop them. That’s the bad news.
But the good news—especially if you want to do this for the right reasons—is that there’s also no barrier stopping you from helping a kid who needs help.
You don’t need a website to start helping kids. You don’t need to quit your day job. You don’t need business cards, a logo, a pricing structure or a business plan. All you need is one student who needs help.
If you really want to help students through the college process, find one student who needs help and offer it to them while learning together as you go. Do it on weekends. Don’t charge much. In fact, consider doing it for free. And be honest. Explain that while you’re not an expert (yet), you’re patient, friendly and organized. Then be what you promised.
Help your student research colleges and you’ll learn about schools together. Be there when she fills out applications and you’ll learn how to navigate through the Common Application. Help her organize her letters of recommendation, send test scores, request transcripts and decode financial aid paperwork.
You won’t know everything about applying to college at the end of it. But you’ll know a lot more than when you started. And while other private counselor hopefuls were busy making websites and writing business plans, you’ll be in the game. You’ll have actually helped someone. And you can grow it from there.
No barriers can be a good thing for you and for kids.