Educational consulting is an important resource not only for families but for the professionals who serve them. If you are a professional, it is important to have a working knowledge of the skill set required of an independent educational consultant and vet the approach and experience of a consultant you might refer to. Skill sets, processes, and styles vary from consultant to consultant.
Independent Educational Consultant 101
The Five Things Every Family Serving Professional Needs to Know about Independent Educational Consultants (IEC)
1.) IEC or EC is a shortened way to refer to an Independent Educational Consultant or Educational Consultant. The premier professional organization for IECs is Independent Educational Consultants Association. IECA has stringent membership requirements. It can take years to earn a Professional Level membership which is achieved through experience, extensive program visits, training, and more. Therapeutic Consulting Association, TCA, is a newer organization for consultants and other referring professionals who specialize in serving clients with therapeutic needs. College consultants typically hold membership status in IECA in addition to the same organizations as many public and private high school guidance counselors.
2.) The word “independent” as a qualifier is extremely important. It is advisable to inquire about the consultant’s status when you consider making a referral. The designation “independent educational consultant” is used for consultants who are not affiliated with any school or program. This means the consultant does not ever receive fees for enrollment or payment for referrals. The designation “independent” assures everyone that the consultant works directly for the family or individual without a conflict of interest and therefore serves as a neutral party who can freely ask what is in the best interest of the child. There are consultants who are not considered to be independent because they have a relationship with a number of programs and whose recommendations and referrals will be to the programs on their list and from whom they receive a kickback or a fee for sending a client to the program. This practice may, but not always, be observed in the world of substance abuse programs who have relationships with interventionists, detox centers, and others. It is also seen in student serving businesses focused on bringing international students to stateside schools where consultants and schools have agreed on relationships designed to be of financial benefit to both parties.
3.) In addition to educational planning for admission to private day schools and boarding schools, there are numerous other specialties within the field of Independent Educational Consulting. By far the largest number are college consultants specializing in supporting students through the college admission process and often over the course of several years. Consulting is highly individualized, though some businesses may use a series of workbooks or provide a proven established system they have purchased and are licensed to use. College consultants are experts who provide a wealth of knowledge and support to high school students along the journey to college studies. Graduate college admissions consulting is also helpful when seeking direction for advanced studies. Other areas of specialization include international, learning disability, and special needs, commonly referred to as “therapeutic.”
4.) IECA consultants travel to visit schools, colleges, or therapeutic programs depending on their area of specialization. IECA members are advised on principles of best practices regarding campus visits. Ideally a consultant travels 20% of the time and goes onsite to evaluate firsthand the campuses for many important criteria and to learn of unique program features and the type of student they best serve. These visits result in an impressive database with personal notes. Site visits and the ability to knowledgeably compare and contrast a variety of options set consultants apart when it comes to advising families and students.
5.) Consultants are highly trained experts who participate in continuing education. Therapeutic consultants often participate in case studies with other therapeutic consultants in addition to attending specialized conferences on addiction, trauma, attachment, OCD, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and more. Most have close colleagues with whom they can triage a therapeutic client when necessary. Professionals refer and families hire a consultant because they want to be advised and guided by an expert on academic settings or therapeutic programs. A consultant’s guidance is extensive in scope and far exceeds what can be learned from a google search, a brochure, or a program website. A therapeutic consultant provides services over the course of treatment including monitoring success, advocating for the client, and planning for transition. Therapeutic consultants provide support for families during difficult days and demystify the unfamiliar world of treatment.
Each consultant brings their unique skills and passion to the world of educational consulting. Independent Educational Consultant Elaine Morgan specializes in therapeutic consulting and serves families as a calm, compassionate, and experienced voice during difficult times.
I bring a fresh perspective to challenging situations. I acknowledge the pain and vulnerability of parents. I understand the need for answers, clarity, and hope during difficult days. I am committed to providing a safe and collaborative relationship so parents can create a clear path forward for a son or daughter.
As an educational consultant and certified parent support provider, Elaine Morgan welcomes the ethnic, cultural, sexual, religious, and spiritual diversity of the people she works with.
Elaine Morgan’s work is informed not only through extensive training and professional experience but also through the wisdom of her own life experience. She is able to offer better service to families and individuals because she knows what it feels like to be a parent in need of help and support.
Contact us to learn more about how we individualize our planning with families.