Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Educational Consultant?

An independent educational consultant helps students and their families find schools or programs that meet the student’s needs. Educational consulting has become increasingly specialized over last couple of decades — from counseling to help high school students make more informed college choices and helping families find private day schools and boarding schools for younger students to consulting practices today that focus on therapeutic schools and programs for troubled teens, specialized programs for students with a wide range of learning differences and transition programs for young adults who are experiencing difficulties in getting launched.

Compass Consulting specializes in the latter category of educational consulting. However, since many Compass clients graduate from special needs programs and are ready for a more traditional setting, Compass can also help in this transition.

Compass also works with families looking for more traditional boarding school opportunities, including schools that offer academic support for teens with attentional or learning issues as well as teens gifted academically.

How will a consultant help my family?

An independent educational consultant offers knowledgeable, unbiased advice to help families select the safest and most effective program solutions for their sons and daughters. Because many decisions for teens in trouble must be made while the family is in a crisis mode, a consultant can offer clarity and perspective. Special needs schools and programs, wilderness programs and other residential alternatives are expensive. A consultant can help a family avoid the costly mistake of picking the wrong program.

What do you mean by Independent?

By independent, we mean consultants whose time is paid for by parents — not by programs. Compass Consulting takes no form of remuneration from schools or programs. Please call Judi at 414-581-9146 to ask about our current fees.

Should my son or daughter talk with the consultant?

Maybe yes...maybe no. It really depends on the circumstances. If your teen is in a crisis mode, exhibiting life-threatening behaviors, meeting a consultant may just make matters worse. On the other, many teens are in a position to give the consultant valuable insight that can assist in determining the best placement. Your family’s situation will need to be evaluated to determine the best answer to this question.

Are there industry standards or credentials for consultants?

IECA, the Independent Educational Consultants Association, is widely recognized as the nation’s leading professional organization for those educational placement advisors working in private practice. For more than 30 years, IECA has helped its members to effectively serve families in placements that include colleges, local day and boarding schools, schools or programs for students with learning or behavioral needs, international placements, summer opportunities, and graduate and professional schools.

It typically takes an advanced degree and three years of membership as an Associate Member to achieve full Professional Member Status. Special Needs Consultants must complete several rigorous requirements to become full members. Judi Bessette has done so...and also is an Affiliate Member of NATSAP, the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.