Success in Choosing a College
with Marna Atkin


The process of selecting the perfect college for each student begins with research and the understanding of what the latest trends are and the educational resources that are available. 

On this page, I have provided a few resource links that will help provide some basic information, as well as stimulate questions.  These links are just a very small sample of the many resources I have and will share with you. 

With my many years of professional experience in the area of College Counseling I will guide you through the process and provide you with answers that will result in the best possible college selection experience.


Resource Links:

The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

The trusted free networking and information site for students to connect with Colleges, Universities, and Scholarships.

The College Board

Career Voyages

This web site is the result of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to provide information on high growth, in-demand occupations along with the skills and education needed to attain those jobs.


  • Student Resources

  • Parent Resources

  • In Demand - Check out In Demand ó Connecting today's students with the careers of tomorrow. Each issue will explore careers in a different high growth industry. It will provide students as well as guidance counselors, parents and teachers with interesting and relevant information about career opportunities, education and the skills needed for various jobs. It offers resources to explore careers and tips about how to help students build successful futures.

Other Quick Links


Your guide to undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, career education and online degree programs.




  College News

Families engage independent educational consultants (IECís) because they are:

1. Available. Consultants arenít tied to a school, a school district, or a school calendar. They work with students in the immediate neighborhood or across the world thanks to readily available technology. Not surprisingly, consultants do much of their most important work over the summer months getting seniors ready for the admissions process, and many work long weekend and evening hoursóafter team practice or between dinner and homework.

2. Responsive. Itís part of the business model. Consultants have to respond promptly to emails, phone calls and other forms of inquiry or theyíre quickly out of business (see 12 below). Deadlines are everything in the world of college admissions and no one is more aware of time constraints and the need for immediacy than independent educational consultants.

3. Knowledgeable. Consultants spend significant time visiting college campuses and attending professional workshops, conferences, or college fairs. Itís no secret that colleges have different personalities and management practices. But itís virtually impossible to get a feel for these personalities or keep up with changes in programs and facilities without visiting on a regular basis. Yes, itís expensive and time-consuming, but the best consultants devote as much as 20 percent of their time being the eyes and ears of the families they serve.

4. Credentialed. Reputable IECís maintain memberships in organizations such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the Higher Education Consultants Association, (HECA), NACAC or local NACAC affiliatesóeach of which sets individual membership requirements demanding years of specialized experience, education and training, and a firm commitment to continuing education.

5. Specialized. One size seldom fits all, and IECís work hard to provide personal services tailored to meet the individual needs of students and their families. In fact, an increasing number of consulting practices are venturing into areas of specialization that include working with learning differences (LD), athletes, artistically talented students, or international families. Thereís not a computer program or algorithm in the universe that could ever hope to successfully sort out the very human personalities, interests and needs IECís routinely encounter. And itís often the personal interaction and specialized knowledge that succeed where scattergrams fail.

6. Unbiased. Because they voluntarily agree to decline any and all offers of compensation from schools, programs or companies in exchange for placement or referral, IECís are able to maintain independence and offer truly unbiased opinions and recommendations. They are free to compare and contrast various educational opportunities and programs, so as to offer their families the best possible professional advice.

7. Local. Most IECís work locally with students in their surrounding communities. They are familiar with individual school district policies and the administrative quirks of local high schools. They know course sequences (which vary from district to district) and how to find classes or programs that may not be available within a studentís high school. Sometimes they know teachers and school counselors and can help students make course selections based on experience with a particular high school. While the internet is fine for some kinds of advising, the face-to-face mentoring services offered by IECís are often the most valued by students and their families.

8. Ethical. As members of the above-mentioned organizations, IECís must adhere to NACACís Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), which governs the actions of consultants in their relationships with students and families, schools and colleges, and with colleagues.

9. Supportive. IECís provide the buffer between an increasingly stressful process and families trying to sort out the shifting sands of college admissions. Changes in policies and procedures together with unpredictable outcomes inevitably produce anxiety. IECís are sensitive to their role in the process and commit to helping reduce stress for students and their families. There are no ďbestĒ collegesóonly ďbest fitĒ colleges in the world of highly-skilled and knowledgeable IECís.

10. Connected. IECís seek out businesses and colleagues who provide additional services needed by college-bound high schools students and their families. They often know the best tutors in the hardest subjects and can recommend test prep companies with solid track records of success.

11. Committed. The best consultants are committed to the idea of college access for allóregardless of background, race, or income. And most provide pro bono services to low-income families or they serve in volunteer programs designed to raise awareness of college and financial aid opportunities. Educational consultants support their communities and provide behind-the-scenes services most of which youíll never read about in the popular press.

12. Parent-recommended. Anyone in the consulting business will tell you no amount of marketing ever brings in as many clients as simple word-of-mouth. Informal surveys of IECís suggest that as many as 90 percent of families seeking college consulting services are referred by other families. The best IECís are well-known in the community and respected for the services they provide. Itís as simple as that.

Book Signing at Barnes and Nobles
January 19, 2010


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