Updated: Nov 13
Why should you consider hiring an independent educational consultant?
If you have a college-bound teen, most likely the process of applying to college felt a little simpler when you applied. Nowadays, friends, neighbors, the media, and the internet have you bracing for an unfamiliar, murky, and nerve-wracking experience. Your school counselor is an important partner, and, they may not have the time or resources to advise extensively on the college search.
IECs are specialists in colleges and college admission, essentially personal college counselors, who understand the application process that your teen will navigate. Having an expert guide at your side can help you move more efficiently through the stages of finding and assessing potential good college fits, as well as in preparing applications— while filtering the noise about college admission.
How should you approach hiring an independent educational consultant?
Look for affiliation with a national professional organization with ethical standards: National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), regional NACAC affiliates, IECA, or HECA.
Independent educational consulting is an unregulated industry. More than any particular credential, look for years of experience, a hands-on practical background, and a commitment to ethics, integrity and highlighting the authentic student voice.
There may be a number of counselors who can provide effective fundamental guidance for you. A sense of comfort and fit with your family and your set of values is vital.
In general, there are some essential qualities and standards you should look for when considering an IEC. The Independent Educational Consultants Association provides a list of questions to ask, which is a good start.
Ask questions that align with your values, and engage your student in finding the right IEC!
Why work with MSquared College Counseling and Mark Moody
My background is the differentiator. After nearly 20 years as a Director of College Counseling at well-known independent college prep schools around the US and overseas, and 5 years as an admission officer, I draw on a wealth of experience. I have individually counseled 800 students on their path to college, and I’ve visited well over 200 college and university campuses around the world. I have supported annual cohorts of applicants to a wide range of colleges, with a front-row seat to the details of their changing admission processes.
I am familiar with high schools, curricula, and colleges in cities around the world, and have lived and worked in Houston, Seattle, Denver, the Bay Area, Shanghai, and Upstate New York.
What Sets Me Apart As a Counselor
My Student-Centered Philosophy
All my work is grounded in the belief that the college application journey should be a joyful rite of passage affirming identity and values. With the right guidance, students can become surer of themselves and their strengths, less susceptible to admission overwhelm, and more compelling applicants as a result of authentic choices and self-knowledge.
By centering students in all conversations, I help identify their guiding values, authentic motivation, and curiosity. We build each phase on the foundation of the previous one, deepening and amplifying engagement, while positioning for an empowered, satisfying process of finding, applying to, and choosing colleges.
This progression allows for an impactful expression of students’ identity and sense of fit with their target colleges when it comes time to work on applications. I provide structure, feedback, practical guidance, data, and keep the guideposts of evidence and student values in view.
With this philosophy, these steps, and an intentionally limited number of student clients, I develop a completely customized plan for each individual student.
My School Based Experience
I have experienced just about every kind of admission scenario, student interest, and special circumstance. I’ve counseled dancers, engineers, recruited athletes, students who learn differently, artists, future physicians, writers, economists, musicians, coders, theater technicians and more.
Having lived 25+ admission cycles, my perspective can help minimize stress.
Working in schools has given me access to years of training in adolescent wellness and support, coaching rooted in neuroscience and mindfulness, and a deep understanding of the rhythms of schools and the nuances of high school curricula, from AP to IB and beyond.
Helping students make the most of what their school has to offer them and build relationships with potential mentors/supporters is an important role I can play, especially as an advisor in grades 9-11.
I offer the kind of personalized insight and support that is a selling point for selective independent schools at a fraction of the cost of tuition at those places.
My Recognized Professional Voice
Over the course of my career, I’ve gotten to know many of the decision-makers in higher education. Collaboration for the greater good is one of my guiding values.
It is humbling, gratifying, and extraordinarily meaningful to me that my client referrals come primarily through veteran admission and counseling professionals who trust my expertise and student-centered counseling philosophy.
I have always used my position of privilege to support students and counselors with limited resources and access, and to make college admission in the US more respectful of adolescent wellness.
I have been and remain active in the national admission conversation. I attend national and regional admission conferences annually, and I have served many professional organizations as a volunteer or board member. I've even helped launch a few groups, including a network and annual gathering of leaders in admission and counseling that has been going strong for over 15 years, the Association for College Counselors in Independent Schools, and the Solstice Network of IEC's with significant practical experience in schools and admission offices.
From this ongoing professional presence, I have built and maintain an incredibly broad and diverse network of admission counseling professionals that keep me up-to-date on trends and the nuances of the admission landscape to best inform and advise my clients.
If my background and philosophy sound compelling to your family, and you would like to bring clarity and purpose into your child’s college admissions process, let’s talk.
Updated October 2023
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