We write about college admissions every day here at Ivy Coach. As one can imagine, that can get tiresome and so, in a concerted effort to always keep things interesting, we’ve created heroes and villains of our college admissions blog. As an example, the University of Pennsylvania’s Dean of Admissions Eric Furda is a hero: he has a long history of telling it like it is, even if it doesn’t serve his interest as an admissions czar. And on the other hand, Mark Sklarow, the head of the Independent Educational Consultants Association — an organization whose membership, in our opinion, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on — is a villain: years ago, he attempted to restrain our trade and he has in the past violated the very principles of the organization he is charged with leading. Indeed his public criticism of our organization’s very name while we were members of IECA defied the very by-laws of his organization.
We’re Proud to Be a NACAC Member and Proud Not to Be an IECA Member
Ivy Coach is a proud member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the only organization to which private college counselors are members that is worth its salt. And we are equally proud not to be members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). In fact, nothing made us happier than ripping up our membership (and receiving a refund for membership dues through our credit card company, we might add) when its leader threatened to oust us for charging the fees we command. Just like any business in these United States, we have the right to charge the fees we wish.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents, among them Max and Ethel, came to America to participate in a free market economy — not to have folks like Mark Sklarow attempt to, it seems, restrain their trade. Now we absolutely understand and appreciate that our fees aren’t for everyone and that’s why people have the right to work with less expensive college consultants. Heck, we even said as much to The New York Times and our quote became the “Quotation of the Day”: “Who can say what is too much in America? If someone wants to pay a fee that you command, they have that right.” It would be hard to argue that we’re not exactly open about it!
Yet Membership in No Organization Denotes Quality of College Counseling
So we rolled our eyes backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards again when we read in a piece published today entitled “How to navigate the murky world of college admissions counseling” by Christina Wood in The Week: “While there is no license for admissions counselors, membership in a national organization like IECA or NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) is a good indicator of experience.” Is it? Is it really? While Ivy Coach is a proud member of NACAC, our membership does not in itself denote our experience or our success in helping students earn admission to their dream schools.
And while there are presumably some good ones, we can say with absolute confidence that there are some bad college consultants in IECA…so how exactly is membership in this organization “a good indicator of experience”? Experience in what exactly? Wood writes, “Look for someone with a degree in counseling and higher education, and who visits a lot of colleges.” Bozo the Clown can visit a lot of colleges. Now don’t get us wrong: we do visit colleges. But is that the low benchmark we’re setting for an experienced private college counselor? If so, as our late relatives Max and Ethel would say: oy vey.
That’s all for now. Bye, Felicia.
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