Training Matters

How to be a Student of Colleges

When I decided to make college admissions advising as an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) my full-time gig, I committed to learning everything I possibly could about the field. I love education and learning new things, so a certificate program was right up my alley. I am very excited to announce that after the 15-month, rigorous program, I have successfully completed the University of California Irvine Independent Educational Consultant Certificate . Those of you who know me well will not be surprised it that I finished the program with an A in every course.

I chose the UCI program for many reasons. It had courses that focused on areas of particular interest to me such as the intensive course on financial aid and a course devoted to the many resources available to IECs to better serve their clients. However, the overwhelming draw for me was the advisory board which was loaded with stars in the IEC world such as Steven Antonoff, one of the “fathers” of the IEC industry and shaper of the ethical practices that inform the practices of IECs across the nation. I am particularly drawn to Antonoff’s work in the field because of his focus on always being open to learning. He calls his book that defines the field of IECs, which is a must read for all IECs, A Student of Colleges. Mark Sklarow is also on the advisory board. He has served as CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) for almost 20 years. My time in the program has given me knowledge and resources which benefits every client that I serve.

Being someone who loves to acquire knowledge, I also decided to participate in the IECA Summer Training Institute in 2021. I wanted to further my understanding of the college admissions process so that I can provide the very best services to my clients. The Summer Training Institute was a great complement to the work I was doing in the UCI program.

Professional memberships are also important to the work that I do as an IEC. I joined the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) as an associate member in early 2021. I admire the organization’s commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards for all members. The IECA also offers two professional conferences each year to serve as opportunities for continuing education and to hear firsthand the latest trends in higher education and admissions. Last year, I attended both conferences. At these conferences I had the opportunity to hear from college admissions officers and leaders in the field. This informs the advising I offer to my students and their families.

This year, I joined Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) as a professional member. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be involved with this group of IECs all focused on college admissions. Both professional memberships allow me access to live webinars with colleges and on topics important in the field. Through these networks, I also connect with a cohort of amazing IECs across the country in a wonderfully collaborative community. My families not only have my expertise to guide them, but through my memberships, I have the expertise of thousands of IECs with an array of specialties who are willing to exchange and share important information with each other.

I have also joined the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) this year, and I am looking forward to attending their conference in Orlando next month. This group is a mix of high school counselors and IECs, and I am excited to learn about college admissions from the many different vantage points a group like this offers.

Nothing prepares an IEC better than visiting colleges and meeting admissions officers. I couldn’t agree with Antonoff more, to be an IEC is to be a student of colleges. This keeps us on the pulse of the latest developments in the admissions landscape. In the past 15 months, I have visited 24 colleges in person and attended 6 webinars featuring admissions officers and an in-depth look at their campuses. I am very excited about a trip with another IEC in April to visit colleges in the Philadelphia area. We met through our UCI program and have developed a strong collaboration that serves our clients well. We will be visiting seven campuses with lots of time to compare our notes and impressions of each campus. Of course, we will also have plenty of time to talk about new ways to serve our own clients even better along the way. I will have the opportunity to stop into a few campuses during my summer travels as well that include schools in New Orleans, the Newport Beach area and Virginia over the next few months. To best serve my clients, I will visit a minimum of 30 campuses each year. There’s no better way to understand the feel of a campus, the types of students who thrive there, and the educational focus than to see it all in person.

In addition to my recent training, I have 8 years of experience teaching college writing and literature and a Ph.D. under my belt. My students will benefit from this knowledge during their work with me on college essays and resumes. I love helping young people find their authorial voices and tell their stories. Nothing compares to that goosebump feeling I get when I know a student has nailed it with a powerful essay that captures just how awesome they are. I also hold an M.B.A. which informs the project management portion of the application process. I enjoy creating systems and keeping clients on track for success.

Being an IEC is a dream job for me. I thrive on helping young people go after their dreams and land in a college that is a perfect fit for them. I bring years of experience in higher education, strong writing and teaching skills, and a commitment to continuing education to my role as an IEC. I am very excited to put all my skills to work for you and your child as you navigate through the last years of high school and prepare for the excitement of college. You can contact me at [email protected] for a free consultation to hear more about the work I do and how it can benefit your child.