Reflections on the College Admissions Scandal

The last week has been an interesting one for those of us involved in the college admissions process. If I’m being honest, the scandal made me sad. Sad for the students who put in so much effort, not just during the application process, but throughout their middle and high school years. Sad for the parents who scrape and save to send their children to college. Sad for the counselors who work hard every day, are ethical and truly want what’s best for their students, knowing that does not mean buying their way into college.

I became a consultant because I enjoy working with students, helping them to understand who they are, what they have to offer and how to present the best version of themselves to a college or university. My role is to guide them to find their best fit college, not to create an illegal side door for them.

As an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), I have sworn to abide by the IECA’s Principles of Good Practice.

The fundamental role of independent educational consultants (IECs) is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?

I am proud to serve as an independent educational consultant and of the students that I’ve worked with who are thriving at schools where they, deservedly, walked through the front door.