12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Independent Educational Consultant

**Adapted from the IECA Website
Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships?
There are never any guarantees. At Campus Direction, you will work with a Certified Educational Planner who has achieved the profession's most rigorous educational standards and adheres to a strict code of ethics. Guarantees would be a violation of this gold standard.
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?
A Certified Educational Planner must conduct ongoing in-depth visits to enhance knowledge of colleges, schools, and programs. It is essential to personally meet with Directors of Admission and Heads of School. Approximately 30% of my time is spent on campuses and visiting programs.
Do you belong to any professional associations?
I am a professional member and former trustee of IECA. I am a member and former trustee of The Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Other professional memberships include The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS); The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP); The Small Boarding School Association (SBSA), and the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP). I served for eleven years as an executive board member of the IECA Foundation.
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?
Participation in continual professional development is required of all Certified Educational Planners. There are numerous conferences, symposiums, meetings, and workshops that I attend every year. These are invaluable opportunities for consultants to learn best practices and stay current with trends and changes in the law.
Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral?
Never. Doing so would be a violation of IECA's Principles of Good Practice and the AICEP's strict code of ethics.
Are all fees involved stated in writing, up front, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees?
Yes. Each client family receives a written engagement letter outlining services and fees to review before signing a contract and release of information form.
Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf?
A parent or guardian must fill out the candidate's financial aid forms. The student is responsible for completing the application, including essays. I will assist with the essay review before submission, but the IECA and AICEP code of ethics prohibit their members from rewriting the student's work.
How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)?
I have been an Independent Educational Consultant since 1994. I became a Certified Educational Planner and a professional member of IECA in 1997.
What was your background prior to going into independent educational consulting? What was your training and education?
I was born and raised on a boarding school campus and worked in their admissions office during my college years. Admissions experience is often a prerequisite for becoming a successful IEC. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I was mentored in the field of educational consulting by three of the industry's most highly regarded pioneers and became a member of IECA and AICEP as soon as I was professionally qualified to serve client families.
Will you use personal connections to get me into one of my top choices?
Definitely not. The strict code of ethics enforced by the AICEP and IECA organizations prohibits educational consultants from using personal connections when working with candidates.
What specialized training do you have (LD, gifted, athletics, arts, etc.)?
Nearly thirty years of experience working with all kinds of minds and a wide variety of student profiles have provided the opportunity to learn which school, college, or program would be the appropriate "fit" for each of my candidates. Engaging in professional development and being knowledgeable about specific qualities that distinguish every institution is essential to successfully serving my students.
Do you adhere to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA?
Yes. Adhering to the ethical guidelines established by IECA is paramount. Campus Direction is known for its gold standard of excellence which includes ethics, integrity, and mutual respect.
One way to ensure that an independent educational consultant is ethical is to hire an IECA member educational consultant who has been vetted through IECA’s intense application process.
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