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Best Practices in Choosing an Accreditation Consultant

With an expert, you are more likely to succeed, succeed sooner, and become a stronger school because of experienced help

With an expert, you are more likely to succeed, succeed sooner, and become a stronger school because of experienced help.

The Problem:  Students want to learn from you, and they might actually enroll if only they could get financial aid and even transfer their credits to other institutions. Maybe the first question their parents ask them is, “Is that college accredited?”

The Solution: You need accreditation.  Maybe you need help getting it.

Is that mountain too high to climb? On your own, it may well be. But a good accreditation consultant will give you the proper gear and train you in the best practices on how to reach that summit in the least costly and pain free way possible.

A great consultant will even take the hike with you.

Corporations spend millions of dollars on consultants because they know that the return on investment will far exceed that initial expense.

Consultants can bring expertise and experience that your business does not have otherwise. They can help manage long-term strategies, complete a project that requires highly specialized skills, or help you get work done efficiently (National Federation of Independent Businesses).

An Expert Accreditation Consultant Is Your Mentor

More than once, Agron & Associates has been called to repair the damage done by a smooth-talking but disreputable consultant.

Such a consultant may make up a mission statement, objectives, and an assessment plan, but they do so without adequately involving school personnel. The result is that even if that consultant helps you fool an accrediting agency into granting accreditation, your staff will not know how to run the school in a manner that enables them to keep your school accredited.

An effective consultant is more interested in preparing a team than preparing documents.

Like the scaffolding used to build a structure, once the building is built, the scaffold is removed and the building must be able to stand on its own. So, a good consultant is a good mentor, not just a good writer. In fact, a competent consultant is actually a co-conspirator with the accrediting agency to make the school truly worthy of accreditation. Both the consultant and the accrediting agency are interested in seeing that the school is and will remain worthy of accreditation.

Skill transfer is how a consultant upgrades the professional capacity of your team. It is one of the most important benefits.

If you purchase consulting hours without purchasing knowledge and skills for your team, you are making a bad investment.

How do you select a qualified, experienced mentor as you pursue accreditation?

Four Questions to Ask When Interviewing an Accreditation Consultant

What schools did you help achieve accreditation and how did you help?

The leading accreditor of Bible colleges generally has twice as many applicants as candidates. Why? Because about half the applicants do not reach candidacy. With a good consultant, your chances of success are much higher. Therefore, ask a possible consultant to list schools he or she has helped. Contact the schools and ask them what the consultant did to help them achieve their goals.

How long did it take you to achieve accreditation status?

An experienced consultant does not need to spend a great deal of time understanding what an accrediting agency requires in an assessment plan, the meaning of various standards, or the next step in the process.

What unique problems have you encountered in an accreditation process and how did you overcome them?

With years of experience, an accreditation consultant will see similar problems again and again. He will bring with him tried and proven solutions and a network of resources to overcome problems. His experienced eyes will also help you find opportunities you may have overlooked.

How will you help us after accreditation is achieved?

An expert consultant will transfer his knowledge and skills to your team during each step of the accreditation process; that is, he will teach you how to to fish; he will help you set up policies and procedures so that you can continue to pass the periodic accreditation evaluations. After all, losing accreditation, or even being placed on probation, will also incur losing some of your reputation.

Are You Ready to Meet with an Experienced Accreditation Consultant?

A wise man knows when he should ask for help. In deciding whether you should seek professional help in pursuing accreditation, consider the following:

  • Does my team have the time to understand the requirements and unique language of the accreditation process?
  • Might I fail without experienced help, and what would failure cost me in goodwill and reputation?
  • Will I be able to get accredited sooner with a consultant, and how much new enrollment and federal funding will we be able to receive sooner because of it?
  • Do we know how to maintain accreditation so that we avoid costly setbacks when it’s time to renew our certification?

If you answered no to any of these self-evaluation questions, consider discussing your needs with an experienced accreditation consultant such as Agron & Associates, Inc. and take your mission for the Kingdom to the next level in the marketplace of Christian academia.

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