Independent Educational Consultants Association: Part 1

IECA, Independent Educational Consultants, College Consultants

If you don’t have the energy to read Part 1 of our blog series on the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), we’ll sum it up for you. We at Ivy Coach think membership in this organization isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

This blog, originally posted on February 16, 2015, is being reposted today in response to the Independent Educational Consultants Association’s (IECA’s) demand that we remove it. First the Independent Educational Consultants Association tried to tell us what we can and cannot charge. And now they’re trying to tell us what we can and cannot write? Nothing we state in either blog about the Independent Educational Consultants Association is inaccurate and, as we have been advised, we are entitled to express our opinion to our large reader base of how we believe that membership in this organization isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It is all truthful and thus we are free to write whatever we so choose…and indeed there is more to come. This is America. Perhaps the Independent Educational Consultants Association should consult the United States Constitution. 

Today, we at Ivy Coach are reminded of that beautiful performance by Jim Carrey in “The Majestic,” and that gripping closing speech. As Jim Carrey’s character so well articulates in the film, “That’s the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman. It’s everything we’re about. If only we’d live up to it. It’s the most important part of the contract every citizen has with this country and even though these contracts, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, even though they’re just pieces of paper with signatures on them, they’re the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation. Not by you, Mr. Chairman. Not by you, Mr. Clyde. Not by anyone. Ever. Too many people have paid for this contract in blood.”

For years, the Founder of Ivy Coach has been a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). About four years ago, there was a perception that the Independent Educational Consultants Association was having difficulty convincing independent college counselors to become — and remain — members. After all, what does membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association do for someone if you can even manage to say that whole jumble of words in one breath? You get the honor of being invited to a couple of waste of time conferences in which they serve stale danishes? You get the honor of giving them $600 a year of your hard earned money so that you can put a logo at the bottom of your website to claim membership in this organization in the hope of boosting your credibility? Maybe that’s helpful to the independent college counselor who’s just starting off, trying to secure a few families a year as clients to help their children gain admission to college and eke out a living to support their own family. But for a company like Ivy Coach, with our global reputation earned over decades for helping students gain admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams, that $600 that our Founder paid for membership always seemed like it would be better spent paying one of our consultants to help a veteran on a pro bono basis gain admission to the college of his or her dreams after dutiful service to our country.

We were recently contacted several times by the Independent Educational Consultants Association. They had a couple of gripes with us and we’d like to discuss these gripes on our college admissions blog, a blog, we should note, that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each month from high school students to parents of high schoolers to school counselors, admissions officers at highly selective colleges, deans of colleges, and even parents of Manhattan kindergartners. Hey, they like to get a head start. Anyhow, over the next few days, we’re going to be spilling the juicy details on how we believe membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and while we suspect we’ll take some flack for it by members of their organization, a few of whom we respect, we’ll make like Dr. Seuss and “be who we are and say what we feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

We’re only going to focus on one of their gripes at a time because, as our loyal readers know, we blog every day — including on weekends, Super Bowl Sunday, and even on Christmas and Yom Kippur. We know, our Founder Bev Taylor’s cousin Sandy Koufax would likely not be pleased that we blog about college admissions on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. But we do it anyway. We’re workhorses like that. Alright, so you’re waiting for the first gripe. Well here goes. You ready? Bum bum bum bum (to Beethoven’s beat)…

We are accused of having expensive fees. Guffaw! [Silence]. We know. Apparently, an alleged student who never used our services inquired about our fees, at least according to the Independent Educational Consultants Association who shared with us this tale. The alleged student, who never became our client, was apparently very upset that we charge high fees — so much so that she allegedly called the Independent Educational Consultants Association in the hope of securing justice in America. When the justice seekers of the Independent Educational Consultants Association called us, we believe that they were taken aback that we said it’s entirely possible someone was quoted such fees. We even had the chutzpah to ask what the issue was. The woman from the ethics committee was rather astounded that we could defend such fees. She seemingly lost her words.

And here is what we have to say about that. We make no apologies for our high fees. We are a boutique firm. We have limited time — especially around deadlines when we’re worked to the bone. We don’t work with everyone. In fact, if we don’t like someone, we won’t work with them at all. Life’s too short. There are too many apple pies to bake. And we’ve never denied having high fees. Watch this segment on “CNBC.” An old fee of ours is out there on television’s airwaves. It is our firm and deeply held belief that it is un-American of the Independent Educational Consultants Association to tell us that our high fees are a violation of their standards of practice (not to mention, we believe, an attempted restraint of trade). In the land of the free and the home of the brave, we can charge whatever we d#mn well please. It’s the fees we command for our expert work. And where in the vague “Principles of Good Practice” of the Independent Educational Consultants Association does it state what precisely is a high fee that a company cannot charge for their expertise? A grande vanilla latte combined with a chocolate croissant at Starbucks costs $6.60 in Santa Monica, California. That same grande vanilla latte and chocolate croissant costs $7.29 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That which is a high price and that which is not is speculative and sheer opinion.

Oh, and one other thing about that alleged student who the Independent Educational Consultants Association (boy typing that name is tiring — you’d think they’d have hired a copywriter when they were brainstorming names) claims contacted them? How on earth do they know that this student was in fact a student? How on earth do they know it wasn’t a competitor of Ivy Coach? How easy is it for anyone to call and claim whatever it is they want? According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association, this complaint reached them “just days ago.” Well, that same woman from the ethics committee claimed the young woman was “recently waitlisted” at Duke. Last we checked, Duke hasn’t come out with decisions yet. In fact, they don’t come out until the end of March or early April. It’s February 13th. No student — not one — has been waitlisted by Duke not only in recent days but in recent months. And the student wasn’t deferred in recent days either because Early Decision notifications came out over a month and a half ago. We have no idea who this alleged student was and we don’t care. We care about our own students and that’s enough to exhaust us. If our fees made this young woman cry, she’s got a lot of growing up to do. There are a lot of things worthier of crying about than finding out that a company you contact because you’re interested in their services is too expensive for you. And as for the Independent Educational Consultants Association, you’d think that any organization that purports to be reputable would have an official screening process for complaints, one that required forms and research rather than simply listening to a ridiculous phone call as it seems they did. Perhaps if we called the Independent Educational Consultants Association and told them that the Tooth Fairy was real, they’d believe that too and attempt to reach out to the Tooth Fairy to confirm.

Check back tomorrow for more juicy responses to the laughable gripes that the Independent Educational Consultants Association has with us! It only gets more ridiculous. Bye Felicia!


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  • Denise says:

    OMG. I love this. Way to tell it like it is Ivy Coach!

  • Jackson says:

    As someone in the independent college counseling world I could not agree more. Very well said and good on you for saying it. It’s about time someone called them out.

  • Parent of HS Junior says:

    I can’t wait for Part 2!!!!!!

  • NA Consultants Inc says:

    I hold Ivy Coach as one of the best resources for any person working in the college admissions field. For over 40 years I have worked publicly and privately in this industry and find no better credible and professional consultants than Ivy Coach.

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