Every profession has its respected companies and bad apples – good accountants and bad, good Doctors and bad, etc. The college industry is no different.
When selecting an Educational Consultant to work with, you should certainly do a little home work. You should first know that there is a distinct difference between a Scholarship Search "Scam" Company and an Educational Consultant (also known as a College Prep Company).
Scholarship Search "Scam" Companies made the news years ago by targeting panic-stricken high school seniors and their parents with guarantees of scholarships for a fee. Most all were scams that defrauded thousands of families out of millions of dollars.
To combat these scholarship scam companies, the Federal Trade Commission instituted the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000. Since its inception, the Fraud Prevention Act has investigated, fined, and obtained injunctions against most all of the fraudulent Scholarship Search Companies.
College Prep Companies, on the other hand, can be an invaluable resource. These are companies that work hand-in-hand with the student and family throughout the entire process – offering career planning, college selection guidance, and financial aid expertise.
When researching a company, stay away from those that "guarantee" admission and/or funding. You should also see if they are a "member" of the Better Business Bureau. Find out how many years they have been in business and how many families they have worked with – there is no substitute for hands-on experience.
Go with a company that has a proven track record. A reliable company that understands the system and guides you step-by-step through the entire process can truly make the difference.