MAITLAND, Fla. - A Central Florida independent educational consultant is weighing in following the biggest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted in the United States.
Randye Falk is the owner Education Edge Consulting in Maitland. She opened her business 14 years ago and has 35 years of experience working in education.
She said the college admissions scandal is shining a bad light on an industry that does good work.
"It's hard for any family and any student to understand how to exactly navigate the application waters," Falk said.
Falk said that is why families turn to her for help. She said her job is not to get students into college. It is to help find the best school for them.
"A professional consultant will never tell you, 'I can get your child into college.' That's a red flag to leave," she said.
Following the scheme, Falk said there is a lot of misinformation about the industry.
She said her job is to work with students on their applications. She said she never writes their essays.
She also said there is a misconception that only the wealthy can use these services. Falk said she works with families of all incomes.
"I have a sliding scale. What are you hiring me for? What can you afford?" she said.
Falk adds families who want to work with a professional educational consultant should make sure they are a member of an accredited professional organization, such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association. The IEAC shares a list of good practices all IEAC members are required to follow.
Rollins College students are also reacting to the news of the scandal. Many said they are disappointed.
"To see other kids who just get in for not working hard is definitely sad. It makes me really upset," student Lauren Mark said.
Falk said the real victims in the scandal are the hardworking students who didn't get into the schools.
"There are too many qualified students for the spots that are available in the first place," she said. "To have a student who isn't qualified get one of those spots, it's a shame."
Falk adds she hopes the scheme does not tarnish the industry.
"What I hope this does is put a magnifying glass up to the application process and why it's putting so much stress on parents and on students," she said.
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