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Tips for Hiring a Professional Independent Educational Consultant

After you wisely decide to hire a college admissions consultant to assist you in pursuit of your goal of attending an elite college, the next question is: Which one? You should seek an independent educational consultant (IEC) with the credentials, experience, and resourcefulness to ensure that you achieve your goal.

When comparing the qualifications of prospective IECs, key factors should include the education, awards, publications, and experience of the college counseling firms and, more importantly, the individual consultant with whom you will be working.  In addition, include a review of professional memberships and certifications as one of the criteria by which to distinguish the best private college consultants..

There are three national trade associations that serve educational consultants: the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), and the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC). IvySelect is a proud member of all three organizations. Michael Goran, IvySelect’s director and lead consultant takes particular pride in his Professional Member status with the rigorously selective IECA.

As the most relevant association for educational consultants, IECA accepts only the most well-qualified members with superior expertise, experience, and professionalism. It recommends that, in your search for an educational consultant, you consider these 10 factors that characterize their members.

  1. Experience: IECA members must have at least three years of qualifying experience working with many students before their applications are considered.
  2. Campus Knowledge: IECA members must have visited and evaluated more than 150 campuses with a strategic plan to stay knowledgeable and current.
  3. Professional Integrity: IECA members sign a pledge that governs their interactions with high schools, colleges, students, and parents. It requires that they never misrepresent a student’s record or interfere with the ability of admissions officials to form an accurate assessment of a student. Members may not accept compensation for the placement or referral of a student.
  4. Truth in Advertising: Members must submit their marketing materials so that IECA can ascertain that no false promises are made to clients.
  5. Education: IECA members are required to have a graduate degree in counseling or a related field or the equivalent in experience and training.
  6. Commitment to Innovation: Members attend conferences and workshops hosted by IECA on developments in the field and receive credit for doing so.
  7. Equality of Opportunity: More than 90 percent of members conduct their own pro bono work. In addition, the IECA Foundation has assisted more than 750,000 students and contributed more than $800,000 to help counselors, parents, and students.
  8. Reducing Conflict and Anxiety: Understanding their role in the admissions process, members assure students and parents that there are worthy options for all college aspirants. They are committed to reducing anxiety and conflict.
  9. Peer Review: Members show their commitment to the success of clients by providing professional references during their IECA membership review.
  10. Ethical Standards: If a member violates the IECA’s Principles of Good Practice, they are removed from the association.

Michael Goran, IvySelect’s founder, is an IECA college specialist, a designation that demonstrates his adherence to the association’s demanding criteria for this distinction. Michael is among the few college specialists to also have been certified as an international specialist in recognition of his successful record in this specialty.

Like IECA, the other two national associations of which IvySelect is a member, HECA and NACAC, contribute in unique ways to the vitality of the educational consulting profession and the college admissions community at large.

While IECA serves members in a range of specialties—such as graduate and prep school admissions and therapeutic placements—HECA focuses solely on consultants who specialize in transitioning students from high school to college. HECA also has strict requirements for membership and hosts conferences and seminars. It also offers credit-carrying courses that share and expand the body of knowledge of the educational consulting field.

NACAC casts a wide membership net that welcomes all types of industry participants to share ideas in a like-minded community. Members include IECs, guidance counselors, college admissions officers, faculty, administrators, and lenders. Even students and parents are invited to participate as non-voting members with free access to a range of useful references and resources.

An overview of the exceptional credentials of Michael Goran and IvySelect will be the subject of an upcoming post. Meanwhile, a summary is available for review on the About Us page of the website.