I stumbled upon the profession of college consulting. I was asked by a friend to help first-generation students with their college applications and essays at a local high school. My very first student, Saad, was from Sri Lanka, where his family still resided. Although he came from a prestigious family in his country, in the United States, Saad’s circumstances were fairly circumscribed. He felt the pressure and responsibility to his family to do well. Despite having arrived in freshman year without advanced English fluency, Saad had managed to maintain a high B average and do reasonably well on the ACT.

We sat together in the high school library during lunch break. Amid the musty book smells, we talked about his hopes and dreams. We talked about college in America. We connected and began to make a plan for him. I was hooked.

After careers in law and teaching, I had found a meaningful next step, but I had no idea how to develop this career. I cast about for advice and mentors, but cold calling independent educational consultants (IECs) was not working. Finally, someone mentioned IECA. I called the office and was immediately given the names of some local IECs who would speak with me. Sure enough, each person was gracious and generous with their time and advice. They all urged me to sign up for the Summer Training Institute. I did and found it extremely useful. I was finally ready to launch.

There are many benefits of belonging to IECA, but one of the best is the camaraderie of its members. Through interactions at conferences, exchanges on the TalkList, and shared experiences during college tours, I have been bolstered and buttressed by this wonderful group of people. As a community, we learn from each other, no matter how many years we have been in the profession. We may have all come from different backgrounds, but we share the love of working with young people and the real desire to help them find their path. I find this both invaluable and inspiring.

Kyle Kane, IECA (SC)