An Independent Educational Counselor (IEC) is an individual who is hired by families to provide expert college counseling assistance. IECs are qualified professionals who are independent of high schools and colleges and work on behalf of families in order find the best academic, social and financial 'fit' for students. An IEC is similar to a school counselor in that they assist students in the college process; yet in many ways they differ.
1. Professional Organizations
One way to ensure all IEC's are acting in the best interest of your family is to hire an IEC that is a member of a professional organization. There are two major professional associations in which an IEC can belong: the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). Each of these organizations maintain ethical guidelines, known as Principles of Good Practice, in which each member is required to follow. In addition, each IEC must meet particular qualifications in order to become a member, such as education, work experience and/or professional mastery. I myself am a member of IECA. In this organization, I have attended the Summer Institute Workshop at Swarthmore College, a bi-annual conference in Boston, viewed webinars hosted by leading professionals in higher education, attended professional development seminars, met with many college admission representatives and subscribe to a daily list-serve to share with colleagues. In addition to these organizations, many IECs who have work experience in a high school setting (such as myself) may belong to the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) and/or their local state affiliates, such as the Illinois Association for College Admissions Counselors (IACAC).
Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as a Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at QuestCollegeConsulting.com or email him at tjaworski@QuestCollegeConsulting.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuestCollegeConsulting