The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is a not-for-profit, international professional association representing experienced Independent Educational Consultants (“IECs”). The Association sponsors professional training institutes, workshops, conferences, and webinars, and publishes a directory of qualified independent educational consultants. They offer information on their website to students and their families about a variety of issues. The Association also works to ensure that those in the profession adhere to the highest ethical and business standards.
One way to ensure that an independent educational consultant is ethical is to hire an Independent Educational Consultants Association (“IECA”) member who has been vetted through IECA’s intense application process. IECA suggests that parents ask the questions listed below to any consultant they wish to hire.
To make this a straightforward process for parents, I have listed the answers for The Summit College Counseling, LLC below each question that IECA suggests parents ask before hiring an independent educational consultant.
I am an associate member of IECA.
Here are some of the questions that parents should seek the answers to —
- Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships? (Do NOT trust any offer of guarantees.)
No, The Summit College Counseling, LLC does not guarantee admission to any school on the final list of colleges you apply to or guarantee being chosen to receive any scholarships, regardless of the amount involved.
The aim of the counseling process at The Summit is to discover the student’s academic strengths, highlight their accomplishments and extracurricular activities and create a strong application that will bring to light what they have to offer every college campus. We will work together to find the “right fit” college/university list for each student, places where they will thrive as they start the next phase of their lives. The objective is to help each child put together their strongest application for admission, based on their strengths, to universities that are best suited to meet their needs.
- How do you keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures? How often do you get out and visit college, school, and program campuses and meet with admissions representatives? (The ONLY way to know about the best matches for you is to be out visiting schools regularly—we suggest IECs visit a minimum of 20 campuses per year.)
My goal is to not only meet the requirements set forth by IECA of visiting a minimum of 20 college campuses a year but to exceed it. I believe that I can only be an effective counselor if I am able to learn about the colleges and universities I intend to recommend for each student. Having been through college visits with both of my children, I understand how important visiting college campuses is and how the information we glean from those visits is so critical to determining if a college or university is the right for a student.
In addition to actual campus visits, I have quite a few resources I have obtained and identified that I will use to learn about the colleges/universities and trends in the field. In addition to IECA, I am also a member of the Western Association of College Admissions Counseling (“WACAC”) and the Southern Association of College Admissions Counseling (“SACAC”). I will soon be joining the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (“NACAC”).
During the pandemic, I have kept with the trends in college admissions counseling and college visits by doing virtual training sessions and virtual tours of college campuses.
- Do you belong to any professional associations? (NACAC and IECA are the two associations for independent educational consultants with established and rigorous standards for membership.)
I am an Associate Member of the IECA. I am applying to become a member of NACAC in the near future.
- Do you attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?
Yes, I am attending training workshops, webinars, college fairs on a weekly basis. Given that the pandemic has forced all the trainings and college fairs online, opportunities to participate in learning about national and regional trends abound.
I have just completed the Summer Training Institute sponsored by the IECA. I am planning on attending the fall conferences for NACAC and the IECA. I sincerely believe that I would be ineffective as a counselor if I did not participate in ongoing professional development. I intend to avail myself of all of the learning opportunities that present themselves. I have joined affinity groups across the country so that I can learn from my colleagues in the field.
- Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral? (They absolutely should not!)
- Are all fees involved stated in writing, upfront, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees?
The contract that you will be presented will include a fee schedule, terms of engagement, and the services that will be provided by The Summit College Counseling, LLC. Please read the contract carefully before you sign it and please ask me questions you have about the terms listed in the contract.
- Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf? (No, they should NOT; it is essential that the student be in charge of the process and all materials should be a product of the student’s own, best work.)
This website and The Summit’s contract clearly explain that it is the student’s responsibility to fill out the applications for admission and draft their essays. I will not be filling out the application, rewriting essays, or filling out financial aid forms.
However, I will be guiding students and their families throughout the process. Pursuant to the terms of the contract, I will be available to answer questions about college applications and the financial aid process. I will also be available to guide the student on the college essays they draft. Please review the terms of the contract to understand what is going to be provided.
- How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)?
I obtained my College Counseling Certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles in June, 2020. Although I have been working with students since February, 2020, I only started my business once I obtained my certificate.
My experience understanding the college admissions process began with my son in 2015 and intensified in 2018 with my daughter. I helped guide both of my children through the college admissions process.
- What was your background prior to going into independent educational consulting? What was your training and education?
I am a civil rights lawyer and I worked for Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. until my family relocated to China. During our stay in China, I was actively involved in fundraising activities to help Chinese charities and international causes. I have included my resume for your review on this website and on my LinkedIn page.
- Will you use personal connections to get me into one of my top choices? (The answer should be NO. An IEC doesn’t get you admitted—they help you to demonstrate why you deserve to be admitted.)
It is a very simple answer — No. My role is to help the student put forth their application for admission that is driven by their achievements and strengths. The focus of my efforts will be to help the student demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted to university.
- What specialized training do you have (LD, gifted, athletics, arts, etc.)?
I am currently focused on college admissions counseling. I am learning more about working with athletes, students with disabilities, and students interested in pursuing the arts. However, I would not consider myself an expert in those areas.
One of the skill sets that I bring to this job as a result of being a lawyer is my ability to research, communicate, and network with other professionals in the field. If I can assist a client, I will say so and if I do not have the requisite expertise, I will try to find professionals who would be better suited to assist the student and family.
- Do you adhere to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA?
As a lawyer, I was bound by a code of ethics that I adhere to even today. I am a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan. I intend to adhere to the ethical guidelines set forth by IECA and NACAC for private college counseling.
Why choose The Summit College Counseling?
At The Summit College Counseling, my goal is to provide one on one counseling to meet the needs of every student and family. Each child is unique and their story needs to be celebrated and shared with the colleges and universities they apply to. The aim of the counseling process is to discover the student’s academic strengths, highlight their accomplishments and extracurricular activities and create a strong application that will bring to light what they have to offer every college campus.
We will work together to find the “right fit” college/university list for each student, places where they will thrive as they start the next phase of their lives. The goal is to help each child put together their strongest application for admission based on their strengths as it plays out in their high school record to universities that are best suited to meet their needs.