The Growing Use and Abuse of Digital Media

By Cosette Rae, MSW, LICSW; Alison Takenaka, MA; Johnny Tock, MS, LMHC; and Gail Curran, MS, MBA, IECA (AZ)

In this era of high-speed technological discovery, technology is everywhere: in our schools, in our homes, and in the hands of millions of youth worldwide. Our children’s dependence on technology now often starts before they can walk and talk.

US University Options in Europe 

By Laura O’Brien Gatzionis, MEd, IECA (Athens, Greece)

There are numerous ways for students to gain global experience and increase their transferable and marketable skills while broadening their horizons. Study abroad has become a typical college experience for many students. Gap years are another fascinating possibility. Many universities, including Tufts, Princeton, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Harvard, actively encourage entering freshman to consider a well-planned bridge or gap year. Families are interested in learning more about English-taught, bilingual or immersion bachelor programs outside of the United States, which may be ideal for independent, adventurous, curious personalities.

Social Media Audit 

By Brittany Maschal, EdD, IECA Associate (NY)

High school students today usually know what to remove from or make private on their social media accounts, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry when the time to apply to college comes around. What you don’t know can possibly hurt you, which is why I conduct a social media audit on all my students, and I often ask that parents do the same. I let students and parents know through my monthly emails, so they know it’s not targeted or personal.

Generation Z Comes of Age

By Mark Sklarow, CEO, IECA

It seems like just yesterday when admission reps and independent educational consultants rushed out to attend workshops and seminars to better understand millennials—roughly those students born from 1977 to 1995. Those students are now close to ending their college careers and are firmly established in the workplace. Their quirks, priorities, focus, and work style are something we baby boomers and gen Xers are now seeing up close: they are our coworkers and, increasingly, our bosses.

Cognitive + Character: Measuring What Matters in Admission

By Heather Hoerle, Executive Director, The Enrollment Management Association

When my daughter was applying to independent schools just a few years ago, I was keenly aware that there was more to her than her academic record. Would a file, for example, share the story of her deep empathy for others? As the executive director of the Enrollment Management Association (formerly SSATB), a nonprofit membership organization for independent schools and the governing body for the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT), that personal experience was especially meaningful because it brought to light the need to help admission professionals go beyond the transcripts, teacher recommendations, and cognitive test scores. Traits that are hard to measure, such as teamwork, empathy, and integrity, are signs of values and character in action and part of what independent schools are looking for in children who apply for admission.

Key Considerations for Placing Transgender, Transsexual, or Gender Nonconforming Clients

By John L. Singleton, CEO Whetstone Academy

Over the past decade, the number of individuals who identify as transgender, transsexual, or gender nonconforming has increased dramatically. Independent educational consultants (IECs), both traditional and therapeutic, are now finding themselves in a dilemma when recommending an appropriate placement for these clients. In response to that increase, however, we are also seeing more discussions and support that are based on the best available research and professional consensus to assist in appropriate placement of those clients.

Why Take a Gap Year?

 By Ethan Knight, Executive Director, American Gap Association, and Sarah Persha, IECA (OR)

From all available data it is clear that gap year programs have profound impact on young people including personal growth, academic attainment, and postcollege success. The two most common reasons students cite for taking a gap year are “burnout from the pressures of getting into college” and “a desire to know more about myself.” With students increasingly reporting that the achievement bar has gone up for the most competitive colleges, forcing students into relentless performance for the sake of college acceptance, it’s no great surprise, then, that the second most common reason would represent a deeper pursuit of self alignment and personal awareness.

The Truth About Liberal Arts Education

By S. Georgia Nugent, Senior Fellow, Council of Independent Colleges

As the former president of two liberal arts colleges, I am dismayed by the misinformation surrounding these institutions and the value of a liberal arts education. For our young people to make well-informed decisions about their future, they need accurate and up-to-date information about the array of choices American higher education offers. Yet many of the stories circulated in popular media today present distorted, stereotypical, or downright wrong information about colleges and universities.

Executive Functions for College Students: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

By Patti Schabinger, MEd, IECA (IL)

While attending my youngest son’s freshmen summer welcome session, I sat with other eagerly attentive parents and students as the dean asked what we considered the most important skill necessary for success in college. Some listeners may have thought academic preparation would trump the list; however, when the speaker announced time management, heads subsequently nodded in silent agreement.

Debunking Need-Based and Merit Aid Myths

By Sandra M. Moore, MA, IECA (NY)

Imagine this scenario: you’re leisurely surfing Facebook when you notice that one of your friends has posted a frantic alert: “Beware of the ABC virus that’s chewing up mass quantities of emails from coast to coast. Do NOT open messages that include in the subject line any combination of the letters a, b, or c.”