With an aim to reach more college-bound students and their families with advice, the Higher Education Consultants Association introduced a new knowledge-sharing network. HECA hopes the network will also bring in extra revenue for itself and its members.
On average, one public school guidance counselor is responsible for 476 students, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Not only doesn’t that meet the American School Counselor Association’s recommended counselor-to-student ratio of 1-to-250, but it’s also not nearly enough counselors to handle all of the questions that parents and students have about college.
To help fill that shortfall, the Higher Education Consultants Association will connect kids and parents with its member consultants through its new College Admissions Expert Calling Network (ECN).
“Applying to college doesn’t need to be a confusing or anxiety-ridden process,” said Ping Wei, CAE, executive director of HECA, in a press release. “… The College Admissions ECN will help make it easier to find and access professional and ethical independent education consultants while at the same time creating a growing knowledge-base driven by the HECA community.”
This new platform, which allows students and their families to connect with HECA consultants via a free community platform or through paid one-on-one phone calls, also enables HECA members to grow their own careers.
“What’s nice about the expert calling network is that it can be used as a lead generator,” Wei said. “It allows our members to have a broader reach of untapped audiences [by] casting a wider net through the internet. It also allows our members to monetize their services.”
All HECA members can post profiles onto the College Admissions ECN with individualized rates for varying lengths of phone calls. The majority of the capital collected goes directly to the consultants.
“Currently, a lot of our members are giving away the initial consultation for free, but [this] allows them to actually make some money whereas usually they would give it away,” Wei said.
The College Admissions ECN could also bring in some new streams of revenue for the association as well. In addition to collecting a transaction fee, which occurs when a client and consultant connect via phone, HECA is working with Brainsy, who is powering the network, on various sponsorship opportunities relating to the network.
“We’re hoping that by our members participating in the ECN that it will raise the profile of our members as well as the organization,” Wei said. “It’s a way for us to get our name out there and let people know what our organization does.”