by Mark H. Sklarow, CEO, Independent Educational Consultants Association
As we close in on our 40th anniversary, there is much to celebrate but there’s no reason to avoid an undeniable truth: For most of those years, independent educational consultants have not represented the diversity of the U.S. population. Moreover, because their independent
educational consultant practices have typically focused on their own communities, the students they have worked with have also been unrepresentative. Fortunately, given their deep commitment to students, outreach to underserved students has become a hallmark of IECA members.
But times are changing in exciting ways.
Two weeks ago we held our Summer Training Institute on the campus of Swarthmore University. STI informs us about the future—where the profession is heading—as the vast majority of those who attend are just entering private practice, drawn from counseling, admission, law, medicine, education, and more.
Consider a few statistics:
- 16% of STI attendees were international, about double the typical number, including nations that have never been represented at STI, such as Dubai, Vietnam, and Thailand
- 30% of attendees were racial and ethnic minorities
- 25% of attendees were male, by far the largest class of males in STI history
- The attendees were decidedly younger, with a much higher percentage than past years’ entering their first career
- Domestic attendees came from a broader range of urban, suburban, and rural locations.
I have been saying for years that diversification of independent educational consulting will require expansion beyond our historical base in the suburbs. Fortunately, the tide has begun to change. Communities where IECs didn’t exist just a few years ago now see the emergence of successful practices. These newer clients are more representative of the nation’s diversity both demographically and economically.
One look at our 2015 STI attendees, and I know we are on the right path.