Ten Ways IECA Uniquely Serves Educational Consultants

Mark Sklarow, IECA Executive Director

The following is a guest blog post from our partners at IECA, the Independent Educational Consultants Association. This is the first in a series of IECA articles that will be posted here.

Mark Sklarow has served as Executive Director of the Independent Educational Consultants Association for 16 years. Prior to this he was Dean of Students at a private day school in Philadelphia, a Political Science instructor at Temple University, and Director of Education at Presidential Classroom. As IECA’s CEO he presents extensively across the country about trends in the field of independent educational consulting, and offers trainings and assistance to those entering the profession.

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education recently completed a study of the field of Educational Consulting.  Noting the dramatic growth of the field, the research concluded by cautioning parents and other educators to steer clear of the thousands of educational consultants who have refused to subject themselves to the thorough vetting process required of membership in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) or the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).  As a result, there has been increased exploration among consultants in joining IECA.  To assist those unaffiliated, yet serious professionals, here are my “top ten” ways IECA helps to serve independent educational consultants:

1. Referrals: Given our extensive outreach efforts and national promotional work, the IECA print and online directories are referenced by parents thousands of times each week.  Just in the past few days we heard from one member noting that he received 4 referrals in August alone and another new member who noted she received her first client from an IECA referral, less than a week after joining.  A single referral covers the cost of IECA membership many times over.

2. Professional Development: IECA hosts multi-day and full-day training programs for those newer to the profession each fall (in conjunction with NACAC) and each summer.  We partnered with the University of California/Irvine extension to offer the only certificate program in independent educational consulting.  Our two national conferences draw between 850 and 1200 attendees each, including hundreds of colleges who participate in our fairs.  We also sponsor group campus tours throughout the year and IECA members receive invitations to members-only and other group tours through our website.

3. National Staff: IECA’s professional staff of 6 full-time employees means that someone is always here to help.  Whether you are working on your own social networking, need assistance with one of our dozens of member benefits, have questions about an upcoming meeting, need a sample contract or want to examine business expansion or ethics concerns, the IECA staff is available to you.

4. Small Business Assistance: We know that most who enter the field do so with a background in admissions or counseling and chose the profession because they are passionate about helping adolescents.  Yet to “make it” consultants must also embrace entrepreneurial skills and we assist members every step of the way in understanding small business skills from running an office to marketing.

5. Press and Public Relations: IECA spends considerable resources on its public outreach efforts.  Our goal is to make sure that when families, educators and the media think about independent educational consulting, IECA comes to mind.  We make all of our dozens of brochures and fliers available to members to use and continually look for ways to use new media including blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and much more.

6. Leading the profession: Ask anyone who sets the standards for educational consulting and IECA is mentioned.  The recent Harvard Study noted our ‘Standards of Excellence’ and our ‘Principles of Good Practice’ as the two leading documents for those entering the profession.  Our opinions are valued, our leadership sought out.  No wonder those who want to be seen as serious professionals and leaders in the field join IECA.

7. Member Services: Marketing, publications, campus tours, special events, discounts on professional materials and office supplies (including College Essay Optimizer), healthcare programs, liability insurance, mentoring and members-only seminars are just some of the offerings for members.

8. Peer Networking: Central to our mission is a belief that professionals support each other in their work.  Whether through our ListServe, mentoring or interactions during workshops, seminars or conferences, those who join IECA become part of a network of consultants stretching around the globe.

9. Holistic View of Adolescence: We do not believe you can view college admission in a vacuum, and we do not exist to assit only with admission.  IECA believes strongly that independent educational consultants must understand the entire child.  We help ensure our members understand issues like depression, teen anxiety, impact of adoption, learning disabilities, non-traditional families and more, to best serve the needs of all students.

10. Recognition for Excellence: When you include “Member, IECA” on your brochure or Web site, it conveys a great deal about you: that you have been fully vetted, that you are among the most respected, knowledgeable, competent consultants with top-notch training, experience and credentials.  No wonder so many in the media, in college admission offices, and among parents, will only work with IECA Members.

To learn more about IECA and membership opportunities, visit: http://www.iecaonline.com/membership.html

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