Most Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) are not only busy supervising admissions planning for students and families, but they also are responsible for managing a small business. At a time when the demand for IECs is on the rise, many are turning to college planning software to create efficiencies in their systems, while also offering impressive and powerful tools to their clients.
College planning software can do everything from help create college lists, to coordinate calendars, to help IECs disseminate communications, and even manage documents. Additionally, there is typically a student portal that allows families greater access to materials, deadlines, and resources.
The college planning software community has introduced many new players in recent past, and IECs now have a record number of options to choose from. The following is a brief introduction to some of the most recognized software platforms. For further exploration, each platform offers free demonstrations, and many offer free trials for hands-on experience with the software.
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Company CEO: Rohan Pasari
Maybe most well known for their international presence, Cialfo, which is based in Singapore, is now making an impact stateside. They recently made an appearance at the IECA conference, and will be seen at the HECA conference in June. Their mission is to make college application management simple, efficient, and accessible for students, parents, and counselors. Additionally, they are focused on democratizing education by increasing access to information while also empowering counselors.
The software focuses on efficient business practices, the power of analytics, and the company boasts hefty customer support. Additionally, there is a mobile app designed to increase student engagement. Cialfo points to the student list (like a counseling dashboard), the resources (which build checklists based on input criteria set by the counselor), college research, and the communications suite as the top features within the software.
College Planner Pro
Company CTO: (and co-founder) Travis Daly
College Planner Pro was created by the powerhouse husband and wife team of Travis and Brooke Daly (the incoming HECA President) for IECs. The company’s mission is to be the leading and most trusted end-to-end software solution for educational consultants. Their top priority is to listen, understand, and swiftly support the needs of their members, and thereby empower consultants with tools to help maximize business potential.
College Planner Pro focuses on a robust toolkit, allowing IECs the flexibility to operate in ways that work best for them. The software has integrated customized college profiles, including the Fiske Guide’s trademark descriptions. This software really focuses on versatility so that each consultant can personalize the platform to their needs.
Company Founders: Margaret and Todd Rothe
Another husband and wife team, Margaret and Todd Rothe married her college counseling experience with his software development background and CounselMore was born. The mission of the company is to “Counsel More and Software Less” with a software developed by IECs for IECs.
CounselMore offers a spectrum of tools that guide, organize, automate and simplify the business side- as well as the counseling side- of the operations for IECs. The “College List Builder” is the flagship of their suite of tools. This tool searches for schools based on the student’s qualifications, then the student’s preferences, to produce a more accurate match. Watch for CounselMore to be rolling this feature out to a larger audience in June.
Company CEO: Cyndy McDonald (HECA founder)
One of the most established platforms was created by the legendary Cyndy McDonald. An intrepid trailblazer, McDonald devised Guided Path after being frustrated with the college search tools on the market. She then found a programmer who would help her develop a product that allowed counselors the flexibility to find the best fit college for their students. Guided Path’s mission is to empower students, support counselors, and advocate for higher education world-wide through providing online counseling tool created and led by counselors.
Guided Path offers tools for schools, non-profit organizations, independent educational advisors, and some parents/students. Last year, the company launched several cohorts of the Guided Path Academy which allows advisors to grow professionally as a counselor, and as a Guided Path User.
Company President: Cindy Costley
After making some “costly mistakes” as a newly minted independent consultant eight-years ago, Cindy Costley developed an all-in-one software that would allow other IECs to operate while offering ethical and responsible services. The task management, university search, event handlers, and student portal are all synced into a single workflow that allows for easy collaboration.
Within the software, 360Planner includes in-program webinars, professional interviews, and college admissions talks by college representatives for students to access. In addition to the software platform, 360Planner offers white-branded test prep tools as well as financial aid assistance to IECs as additional offerings for clients, and can be purchased separately. Each element is intended to provide streamlined assistance for software users as an extension of their own team.