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Saddened by college admissions scandal

Good morning:

Like many of you, I have been following the college admissions scandal that has been in the news these last few days.  As an independent college counselor with more than 30 years of experience, I am angry and sad that this is happening today. 

However, I am not surprised.  I have met many parents who will brag so much about their child’s college acceptances, that it almost feels like, for that parent, their child’s college admission validates their parenting skills.  Bragging about one’s children is certainly one of the rights of parenthood.  But lying and cheating to ensure that your child gets into a high-ranking college is  definitely wrong!

The parents in the cheating scandal paid Rick Singer, architect of this scam, millions of dollars for his promise of admission to such prestigious schools as USC, Wake Forest, and Georgetown.  “

“What we do is we help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school,” Singer said. “They want guarantees, they want this thing done. They don’t want to be messing around with this thing. And so, they want in at certain schools.”

So, I did what I would call, ‘side doors”, quoted Singer.   

Students’ identities were falsified so others could take the admission tests, coaches were bribed and the wealthy and entitled parents paid for it all.  I am sure that there will be more indictments as this story unfolds.

As a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, as well as two other professional organizations, I am committedIEC to helping families find and match colleges that are a good fit for the student. Additionally, I support students through the entirety of the admissions’ process. 

I commit to you that I adhere to high ethical standards in all of my interactions with students, families and colleagues.  Any compensation I receive comes directly from the families, and only after a comprehensive review of my services and contract. 

When I began in this business four years ago, I worked with Dr. Charlotte Klaar, of Klaar College Consulting, who is also a friend and colleague.  In reviewing the written draft of my contract, Charlotte wisely shared the need for a statement letting the family know that I offer no guarantees. All of my contracts read: I do not guarantee admission into any particular college or university.

We have all heard the phrase:  “Buyer Beware!”  In hiring a college consultant, I believe that phrase should read:  Only hire consultants who are members of IECA or HECA (the Higher Educational Consultants Association). 

Not everyone can become a member of either of these organizations.  There is a lengthy vetting process, that includes background, education, references and number of colleges visited.  Members of HECA and IECA are solely concerned with the student’s well-being and helping them to gain admission into a school where they will thrive and succeed on their own merits. 

I continue to be angry at the audacity and entitlement of some of the wealthy who, obviously, thought they could pay their way around the system. 

But the overwhelming emotion I feel is sadness for all of the students who didn’t get into their dream school because the child of the entitled took that slot instead.  And I hope that one of the outcomes of this scandal is a more equitable admissions’ process, where all are considered based of their merits alone.

If you have any questions about this, please email me at or call me at 240-285-1920.