Earlier this week Mark Sklarow, Executive Director of the Independent Educational Consultants Association wrote a blog piece that generated a lot of buzz. It was titled: "Getting Kids Into" Ivy League Colleges: Absolutely NOT the Job of an Independent Educational Consultant.
He was a little fired up because he'd been reading a lot of membership applications that espoused "insider knowledge" and "admission secrets" that would translate into an "advantage" for the student working with the consultant.
Outrageous claims like this get me a little fired up too. Admission to a college is not a prize to be won. Don't forget-- you still have to GO to college once you're admitted. This is why ethical independent educational consultants focus on the student as a whole and help students discover schools where they can be successful.
Think about this scenario-- Let's say Emma is a solid student at a good high school with good standardized test scores. She could get into any number of schools, but a school such as Harvard would be a long shot (and an academic struggle, to boot). Maybe she applies anyway and gets in. Any number of people would question her turning that down.
But this is exactly why admission is not the prize. Emma might flunk out. Or she might struggle to graduate in seven years with poor grades. Is that worth it? Or is worth going to a school where she could graduate with honors, be a leader on campus because she's not struggling academically, and graduate on time? That's the scenario I'd rather see.
If the Ivies were the end-all, be-all, then the thousands of other wonderful colleges out there wouldn't exist.
I'm not yet a member of IECA, but I strive to abide by their Principles of Good Practice. This is why I will never claim to get a student into college. Students get themselves in, IEC's help get everyone through it all.