Life as an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC)
by Kathy de Jong, IEC
After spending nearly 30 years as an executive and business consultant in the public and private sector, it was time to turn my attention and efforts towards a career that I felt would make a difference. Helping students prepare for college and improving their admissions odds, is now what I live and breathe each day, and I couldn’t be happier with my career choice.
Life as an IEC is not your typical 9-5 job. After my “mom duties” are completed in the morning, including driving my daughters (16 & 13 years old) to school and doing a few chores, I spend time educating myself. As an IEC, it’s important that I stay on top of the latest industry news and trends. I read professional articles and posts, and chat or exchange emails with peers and discuss the nuances of the profession. This knowledge building is the foundation of my practice.
In the afternoon, my time is spent on my to-do list. Each of my 10th-12th grade clients is on their own unique college admissions journey, and I’ve got tasks to complete to support each one. From building college lists to reviewing applications and essays, I give each student their own game plan, and track down answers to the toughest questions about colleges, admissions, financial aid and scholarships. Additionally, I’m spending time communicating, whether it be by email or phone with students, guidance counselors, college admissions staff, and perhaps most importantly, parents. While the student takes the lead in the admissions process, parents want to know how things are progressing. I totally get that!
In the late afternoon and evenings, I often have in person or virtual meetings with students or families. Working with teenagers can be challenging, but in general, I find that they are excited about their future and willing to make the extra effort to be successful when applying to colleges. I understand that it is difficult for families with busy schedules to meet during typical business hours, so I try to accommodate them as much as possible including on Saturdays, if needed. If I don’t have a meeting in the evening, I will typically spend several hours doing business development, updating my College in 321 Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Collegein321/, writing blogs for my website www.collegein321.com, etc.
Then there are the road trips… Each year I visit up to 20 colleges and universities throughout the country so that I can bring the experience and knowledge back to my clients. It is amazing how colleges can be so different in terms of size, geography, architecture, programs, residential life, and campus “vibe”. I use this information to help guide students with formulating their college lists.
So the days are long and often exhausting, but because this is something that I’m so passionate about, it’s all fun, and I enjoy it tremendously. The best part of the job is getting the calls and texts from excited students when they get the great news that they were hoping to receive from their top choice colleges! The students do all of the hard work, but in the end, I hope I’ve contributed to their success and made a difference.
College in 3-2-1 provides comprehensive college preparation services for high school students including high school course selection, college research and list development, application assistance, essay consultation, and financial aid, extra-curricular and summer enrichment counseling.