Interactive Online Assessment Services

IOLAS FAQ

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1: The information that IOLAS offers you
2: The IOLAS Survey
3: About the IOLAS results
4: IOLAS Consultants
5: Privacy and social media
6: Matching careers, courses, and schools
7: The IOLAS Scholarship Fund


1: The information that IOLAS offers you


Q: What does IOLAS do?
A: We offer a huge amount of information on over 900 careers, over 2,000 courses of study, and over 7,000 schools in the USA and certain territories.

Here's how it works:
  • Our users complete our short two-part Survey online.
  • The resulting IOLAS information shows matching careers.
  • Selecting a career shows matching courses of study.
  • Selecting courses of study shows a list of schools offering those courses.
You can see an example of IOLAS here.

Q: Is IOLAS just for college-bound students?
A: No. There's plenty of information for students who go straight to work after leaving high school. And IOLAS is also helpful for anyone who is thinking about a career change, and for retirees who want to do something different in retirement.

Q: Where does all the IOLAS information come from?
A: The IOLAS information comes from several federal databases. Most of these databases use information from the Department of Labor, specifically the Bureau of Labor Statistics. IOLAS also uses information from the National Center for Education Statistics.

You'll find logos and links to our information sources at the bottom of this page.

Q: How often do you update the IOLAS information about careers, courses, and schools?
A: At least once a year. The NCES releases its data annually. The Department of Labor usually offers a major upgrade each year, which we always use. It also offers other minor updates throughout the year. If these are important, we incorporate them in IOLAS.

Q: Where does the federal government get its information from?
A: From the individual states and from the individual schools.


2: The IOLAS Survey


Q: Where does the two-part Survey come from that IOLAS uses?
A: It comes from O*NET, which is part of the Employment & Training Administration of the Department of Labor.

Q: Is the Survey validated?
A: Yes, the Survey is fully validated by several leading universities in the US on behalf of O*NET.

Q: How are the results of the Survey linked to the career information in IOLAS?
A: This too is done by the Department of Labor. In fact, the sole purpose of the Survey is to link your answers to specific careers. To the best of our knowledge, no other career guidance tool in the USA has as comprehensive and accurate a "fit" between its Survey and its results.


3: About the IOLAS results


Q: What do the IOLAS results offer?
A: The IOLAS results show up to 50 careers for each level of experience and education - up to 250 careers - and match you for interest, for job satisfaction, or for both. (Obviously, some careers will appear in more than one list.)

For each career, IOLAS shows you:
  • the tasks you'll perform,
  • the experience you'll need,
  • the pay and the demand for the career in around 300 areas of the US,
  • the courses you'll need to take,
  • the schools that offer those courses (by distance from your ZIP code, or by state),
  • details of fees, location, student population, religious affiliation, and so on,
  • a map of each school,
  • a link to a vast amount of additional information about each school.

Q: Are my results available to me for ever?
A: Yes.

Q: Some of the careers suggested by IOLAS seem way off the mark. What's going on?
A: Remember, we are not suggesting, recommending, or advising any career, school, or course of study.

A career appears in your IOLAS results for one reason only: You answered the IOLAS Survey like people who chose that career. The number of orange and green stars tells you how much your answers looked like theirs.

If a career doesn't appeal to you, just move on to one that does. Don't be too hasty: think about your matches. If you do this, you'll find several career options that you might not have considered before, but which might be right for you.


4: IOLAS Consultants


Q: What are IOLAS Consultants?
A: IOLAS Consultants are people who have been trained to understand and work with the IOLAS software. Typically, they have helped respondents on many occasions, and will have observed other IOLAS Consultants helping respondents to get the most out of their IOLAS results.

Q: Are IOLAS Consultants actually career consultants?
A: Not necessarily. A career consultant may be an IOLAS consultant, but most IOLAS consultants are not career consultants. Career consultants typically charge more than regular IOLAS Consultants, and here's the reason:

Career consultants have significant training and experience in guiding people towards particular careers. Often they are licensed professionals. They may make recommendations based on their understanding of you and the results from any tests you may have taken.

By contrast, IOLAS Consultants are experts in IOLAS itself. They can help you see the finer points of your IOLAS results, and they also have access to more advanced information which doesn't appear in the standard IOLAS results.

Q: What sort of additional information can IOLAS Consultants offer?
A: They can help you explore careers, courses, and schools which you don't match but which you may still be interested in pursuing. They can tell you about your individual interests and personal values. And they have the ability to save certain parts of your results - careers, courses, and schools which may have caught your eye, whether or not you match them - and then send them to you in a written report after your consultation.

Q: Is there an IOLAS Consultant in my area?
A: Yes, because IOLAS Consultants work on-line.

Q: How do IOLAS Consultants work with me on-line?
A: When you're talking to your IOLAS Consultant on the phone, you can also see on your computer or smartphone the Consultant's screen. So you can discuss your results as you're looking at them.

Q: How long do consulting sessions last?
A: Typically between 60-75 minutes.

Q: Do I get a written summary of my discussions with my IOLAS Consultant afterwards?
A: Most Consultants offer this service as part of the consultation.

Q: I'd like a friend to join my IOLAS consulting session, but she lives in another state.
A: Your IOLAS Consultant can work with you and your friend together - in other words, up to two locations. Your friend only needs a phone and a screen: a smartphone will offer both, of course.


5: Privacy and social media


Q: Do you track which IOLAS pages I visit?
A: You may look at several careers, courses, and schools in your IOLAS results. If you want to see them again later, how can you find them?

If you ask us to do so, we keep a temporary record of the pages you visit. Next day, we send you an e-mail containing direct links to those pages. If somebody other than you paid for your IOLAS report (for example, an IOLAS consultant), we send them that e-mail too. Then we delete all those records.

Q: What personal information do you ask for, and how do you use it?
A: We ask each person who answers the Survey for their e-mail address and name. If someone is buying an IOLAS report for someone else, we ask for the purchaser's e-mail address too.

We ask for the e-mail addresses so that we can send users their IOLAS 8-letter code. This means they can see their results once they've answered the Survey. We also use the e-mail address to identify the purchaser when payment is made with a credit card. And if someone has purchased a report for someone else, we use the purchaser's e-mail to tell them when the Survey has been completed.

The name of the person answering the Survey appears in the IOLAS results.

No other use is made of the name or of the e-mail addresses. E-mail addresses are never sold or given to any other entity.

Q: What about IOLAS's use of social media?
A: This is very limited. We don't offer links to social media on our site. We don't track you in any way. We hope you like IOLAS and that you tell others about us on your social media sites. But we believe that you should choose whether to tell your friends. We don't think we should nag you to do so.

Q: Does the IOLAS site use cookies? If so, how?
A: The IOLAS site uses cookies in a very limited way. They are all so-called "session cookies", which means that they are designed to disappear as soon as you close your browser.

The cookies remember options you may choose when you look at your IOLAS results. (For example, they'll remember which areas of the USA you are interested in when looking for schools. This means you don't have to keep entering your chosen options over and over again.)

Q: Do you keep my results private and confidential?
A: We do, with one exception. If someone else paid for your IOLAS results (for example, an IOLAS Consultant), that person will be able to see them as well. Otherwise, we share them with no one.

However, you may choose to share them with anyone you wish. If you give your 8-letter code to another person, that person can see your results. So you must choose whether you want to share your 8-letter code or not.

This approach offers a sensible balance between accessibility and privacy. After all, this is not information about your bank balance or your relationships with other people. It's information about your best matches with 1,000 jobs, 2,000 courses of study, and 8,000 schools. It may be of interest to you and your family/friends, but not to anyone else.

Q: Can someone guess my 8-letter code, or someone else's 8-letter code?
A: That's unlikely. Our 8-letter codes are generated randomly, and there are over 20 billion possible codes.

Q: What information do you keep, other than my e-mail address?
A: As long as your report is in our database, we keep your e-mail address and whatever name you provided us with. If or when we delete your report, your e-mail address and name are also deleted.

Q: What do I do if I want you to remove the IOLAS results from your database?
A: If you are the purchaser of your IOLAS report, please e-mail us at info@iolas.net and we'll get in touch with you.


6: Matching careers, courses, and schools


Q: What do you mean when you say that I match a particular career?
A: We mean that you answered our Survey very much like people who chose that career.

We are not saying that you ought to choose that career.

We are not saying that you would be good at that career.

We are simply saying that you answered our Survey like people who chose that career.

It's quite likely that you will look at some of the careers that you match and say, "I would never choose that job in a million years!" Remember, we are not saying that you should choose that career or that you will like it. We are only telling you that you answered the Survey like people who did choose that career.


7: The IOLAS Scholarship Fund


Q: What is the IOLAS Scholarship Fund?
A: Occasionally people will pay for IOLAS reports but never use them. We send several e-mail reminders to these people, but sometimes there is no response.

After three months, these reports are placed into the IOLAS Scholarship Fund.

Q: Who uses the reports from the IOLAS Scholarship Fund?
A: They're offered to people who need career help but who are experiencing significant financial hardship. These include certain people in recovery in treatment centers, or ex-offenders in halfway houses.

Q: How many reports are available in the IOLAS Scholarship Fund?
A: It obviously varies, but usually it's less than 10. Remember, these are reports that have been paid for but never used. Most people don't forget to use something they've paid for!

Q: Can I contribute to the IOLAS Scholarship Fund?
A: Not at present.