March 18, 2019

The Independent Consultants’ Pledge to Ethical Responsibility

Many of my clients, colleagues and friends have asked me for my opinion on the matter of the recent college cheating scandal.  As a longtime independent educational consultant, I am acutely aware of the stress caused by the competitive nature of the application process. However, it is always the job of the consultant to provide a model of ethical behavior when advising students and families as they navigate this process.

As a member of three professional organizations with thousands of members in each, I have a deep commitment to the standards and ethics of each.  IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association), NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) and HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association) have all denounced the outrageous efforts to bribe, cheat and lie as a means to achieve the end of college admissions.

Here are several public statements offered this week by my esteemed colleagues:

“Those that want to stop the use of all paid assistance misunderstand the fundamental role of independent educational consultants. IECs help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.”
~ Mark H. Sklarow, CEO of the IECA

“HECA feels strongly that families seeking help with the college search and application process outside of the school setting should do their homework to ensure that they hire someone who is a member of a professional organization with a strict code of ethic…Every HECA member is charged with providing sound advice, confidentiality, integrity and respect for their students, parents, and the colleges to which they are applying.”
~ Brooke Daly, HECA President

“The National Association for College Admission Counseling is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. Admission and counseling professionals understand and have valued ethical behavior as stated in our Code of Ethics and Professional Practices for well over 80 years. We strive to ensure that all students are treated equitably throughout the process.”
~ Stefanie Niles, NACAC President

What to expect from a professional educational consultant:

If you choose to work with a qualified and experienced independent educational consultant, you will discover the following:

  • We offer our professional background and expertise in navigating a complicated application process with children of all academic capabilities, talents, interests and needs.
  • We do our best at all times to give appropriate advice and guidance.
  • We are active members of professional national organizations that adhere to strong ethics and provide us with opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, college fairs and university tours.
  • We offer reasonable rates, both hourly and packages. Many independent educational consultants, including College Essay Whiz, also offer their services in a voluntary capacity to those who cannot afford to pay.


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