by Mark H. Sklarow, CEO, Independent Educational Consultants Association
As readers of this blog may know, IECA has suggested to Common Application for several years that they make use of independent educational consultants in the early stages of each year’s release. While these efforts were unsuccessful, I am pleased to share with you a significant change.
The Common Application invites about 20 college advisors to participate in the beta-testing phase. That is, 20 college advisors get to use the CA prior to its launch to advise on questions and concerns, offer suggestions, and hopefully locate any glitches prior to the nationwide launch. I am pleased to report that this year, for the first time, a third of those selected for the beta test team are independent educational consultants, joining school-based and community-based counselors.
I am particularly pleased that all of those independent educational consultants selected to participate are IECA members, giving us an important role to play. Their work began last week.
This decision came after many months of behind the scenes conversations between Marilyn Emerson (then IECA President) and me with leadership of the CA, including Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Director. As Scott said to me, this decision symbolizes the turning of a page, demonstrating the Common Application’s new commitment to outreach and inclusion with our professional community.
While only a handful of IECs and counselors are part of this advanced review group, I believe you will see a greater openness and responsiveness from Common Application’s leadership to IECA members throughout the application season. We are also pleased that Scott will lead a breakout session at our next conference in Orlando, Florida.
It is also worth noting that, beginning next month, the CommonApp will add a new Director of Outreach. The person assuming this position has worked extensively with independent educational consultants during past work at Guilford College, Bucknell University and Muhlenberg College. IECA will continue to have a liaison with the Common App and they are welcoming suggestions submitted directly from IECs through the ‘Ask a Question’ tab at recsupport.commonapp.org.
We look forward to this new era of cooperation and outreach and IECA and its members stand by to offer what assistance we can in ensuring The Common Application remains a valued tool for our students, their parents, and the colleges with whom we work.