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A Comprehensive Review of the Big Future Toolkit by College Board for Independent Educational Consultants (IECs)

In the dynamic landscape of independent educational consulting (IEC), where personalized guidance is the key to unlocking a student's full academic potential, the right tools can make all the difference. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey or seek avenues for business growth as an IEC, incorporating comprehensive toolkits can streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and ultimately lead to better outcomes for consultants and their clients.


Why Consider Toolkits as an IEC?

Starting or expanding an IEC business comes with its own set of challenges. From managing client information to staying updated on the ever-evolving college admissions landscape, the need for organized, efficient tools is evident. Toolkits designed for IECs offer a centralized resource hub, helping consultants stay on top of industry trends, navigate complex admissions processes, and provide top-notch guidance to their students. A particularly useful toolkit to consider is the Big Future Toolkit created by the College Board. 


Now, we’ll take you through the features of the Big Future Toolkit, its pricing, resources, as well as pros and cons that you should consider. 


What are some of the features of the Big Future Toolkit?

The BigFuture Toolkit for Counselors, designed by the College Board, offers comprehensive features tailored to assist Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) in guiding students through the complexities of college and career planning. With a revamped look and feel, this toolkit is a centralized hub for building counseling curricula. Counselors can explore the BigFuture College Search Website within its functionalities, empowering students to sift through over 3,000 college profiles with detailed information about campus life and admissions. Time-saving resources like the BigFuture College Search Worksheet streamline planning sessions, while the Build a College List Lesson Plan guides students through factors to consider in their college research


The toolkit extends its utility to financial aspects with the BigFuture Scholarships Website, providing valuable insights into scholarship opportunities and the steps required to become eligible for awards ranging from $500 to $40,000.


Additionally, the toolkit covers tools for exploring careers, encouraging students to use BigFuture for career exploration based on their interests. Real Talk, an initiative within the toolkit, facilitates connections between Black students and professionals, promoting career and college exploration. The continuous addition of resources ensures that the BigFuture Toolkit remains a dynamic and invaluable resource for IECs seeking to enhance their consultancy services and provide optimal student support.


What are the associated costs?

While specific pricing details might vary, the Big Future Toolkit is known for its accessibility, often available at a reasonable cost or, in some cases, even free for registered IECs. This makes it an attractive option, especially for those starting or looking for cost-effective solutions to augment their consultancy services.


Who is their target audience?

The toolkit is tailored for Independent Educational Consultants, recognizing their unique needs and challenges. It provides resources that can cater to consultants working with a diverse range of students, helping them navigate the intricacies of the college admissions process.


What are the associated pros and cons?

The BigFuture Toolkit for Counselors presents several notable advantages that contribute to its effectiveness in supporting Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) and their students. Firstly, its Comprehensive College Search feature stands out as it provides access to a vast database of colleges, facilitating in-depth exploration and selection based on diverse criteria. This expansive resource empowers consultants and students to make informed decisions about potential academic institutions. Secondly, including Personalized Test Prep resources within the toolkit addresses a crucial aspect of the college admissions process. These tailored resources assist consultants in guiding students through the complexities of standardized testing, enhancing their preparedness and overall performance. Lastly, the Application Planning tools, encompassing essay writing support, contribute to a holistic approach to preparing students for successful college applications. This feature aids consultants in guiding their students through crucial aspects of the application process, ensuring a comprehensive and well-rounded approach.


Despite these strengths, the BigFuture Toolkit has its drawbacks. One significant limitation is the toolkit's Limited Specialization, particularly in guiding niche fields or specific admission scenarios. While it excels in general college admissions guidance, it may need more specialized resources for students with unique academic aspirations or those seeking admission to highly specialized programs. Additionally, some users have reported challenges with Interface Complexity. The platform's interface has been criticized for its complexity, presenting a potential learning curve that may impact initial usability. Users, particularly those new to the toolkit, might need help navigating the platform, potentially leading to a less-than-optimal user experience


Is It Worth It? Here's our take

The Big Future Toolkit by the College Board, with its range of features and accessible pricing, proves to be a valuable asset for IECs. Its comprehensive approach aligns with the needs of consultants working with a diverse student clientele. While there might be some drawbacks, such as interface complexities, the benefits of personalized test preparation, application planning, and college search capabilities make it a worthy investment for IECs aiming to enhance their consultancy services.


As with any resource, consultants need to weigh the pros and cons based on their specific needs and clientele, ensuring that the toolkit aligns seamlessly with their business goals and commitment to guiding students toward academic success.



If you’d like to recommend a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here. You can also reach out to us at contact@lumiere.education to know more, or to have a chat about possible collaborations!


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Tenzing Dolma is a Masters student specializing in research following the Nechung Oracle and the historical, religious, and cognitive approaches to its presence. She has a bachelors in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago and is currently completing her graduate studies at Columbia University. She hopes to help students find their passions through access to programs and organizations the same way she found hers!


Image Source: CollegeBoard logo

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