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Business Profile: The Carnahan Group demystifies school admissions process

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Business, Featured

The Carnahan Group

Dan Monahan, an educational consultant with The Carnahan Group, has more than 20 years of experience in the field.

There’s a misconception that working with an educational consultant is a luxury reserved for the very wealthy, says Dan Monahan, a consultant with The Carnahan Group. “But our services are not out of reach,” Monahan says, “and it’s important that students find support, especially since school counselors often have excessive caseloads.”

The Carnahan Group, which is headquartered in New Orleans but operates globally, provides admissions and educational planning services for students who are headed to college, boarding school or graduate school. Monahan, a resident of Ashburnham, is part of a seven-person team with a cumulative 60 years of experience in educational consulting.

Educational consultants work with students to analyze their academic interests and goals, assess applications, consider timelines for test preparation and test taking, and maximize college visits.

“We work with all types of students,” Monahan says, “from high-achieving students to students with learning differences to student-athletes hoping to get recruited, to students who aren’t sure what they want to do.”

There are thousands of educational consultants across the world, Monahan explains, but fewer than 300 are certified educational planners (CEP), a “gold standard” designation that Kathie Carnahan, the group’s founder, has earned. Other team members are also working toward their CEP status, and all full-time consultants are members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).

“If families are looking to hire consultants,” Monahan says, “they should at the very least be a member of IECA or the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), so you know they’ve met important standards.”

In addition to its certifications, The Carnahan Group’s team-based approach is unique, Monahan says.

“There is a lead consultant for each student, but at our team meetings we discuss all our students so everyone can contribute ideas toward the students’ success,” he explains.

The college admissions process can seem daunting, Monahan acknowledges, “but if you take things in pieces along the way, starting as a freshman or sophomore, then it will never feel overwhelming.” Monahan knows the system on a professional level, but he’s also currently going through the process as the father of teenagers.

Another advantage of working with educational consultants is that families often are introduced to unfamiliar institutions.

“There are over 2,500 four-year colleges and universities in the country,” Monahan says, “and students sometimes overlook places that would be a great fit for them because they haven’t heard of the college.”

Ultimately, Monahan and his colleagues strive for “that moment when students can be honest with themselves and you. You hear what their hopes and dreams are, and we work toward finding a college or university that fits those aspirations.”

Monahan recalls one student who began crying as he submitted his first college application. “Because he did it — it was this huge accomplishment,” he explains. That student went on to become a clinical social worker. “To see him go from a young man who was overjoyed and scared all at once to now —  seeing him as a happy, successful professional — that’s why I do what I do.”

To schedule a free consultation, visit carnahan-group.com.

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