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LAUNCH THOUGHTS - Top 10 Reasons to Use an IEC

Founder and Head Guidance Coach Lauren Joyce Hensel, highlights the Top 10 reasons there is value in using an ethical Independent Education Consultant for the university application process.

1. IECs have qualifications.

To gain membership into the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) and International Association of College Admission Counselors (International ACAC), LAUNCH had to meet stringent guidelines. Qualification for IECA membership include: a bachelor’s (associate member) or master’s degree (professional), at least three years of admissions counseling experience, professional references, and experience working with students. Members must also have a commitment to continuing education and professional development.

International ACAC required you to have a recommendation from a current ACAC member and clear outlines of your business expectations.

LAUNCH is currently an Associate Member of the IECA and a member of International ACAC.

2. IECs visit schools.

Members of the IECA continually visit schools to increase their understanding of campuses and educational opportunities for students. Members average 25 visits per year in their area of specialization. LAUNCH plans to visit 20 schools and universities by December of this year including Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Loyola University of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, GEMS World Academy Chicago, Delft Institute of Technology (NL), University of Amsterdam (NL), Vrije University Amsterdam (NL), University of Leiden (NL), University of Utrecht (NL), Kindercampus Zuidas (NL), Amity International School Amsterdam (NL), International School of Amsterdam (NL), International Waldorf School of the Hague (NL), International School Utrecht (NL), and more.

3. IECs are specialists.

When joining the IECA, members must pick one or two specializations (Graduate Programs, Therapeutic Programs, International, Learning Disabilities, College and School) to better serve students and their families. LAUNCH specializes in serving third culture families and student-athletes in the College and School niche. To serve as many students as possible, we continuously build our referral network for additional services that lie outside our expertise. All LAUNCH referrals match our values and approach to school advice and university guidance.

4. IECs advocate for students.

IECA members operate independently. They are not affiliated with any school or university, which means their sole purpose is to advocate for students by learning about the environment that is best suited to the needs of the student. They help students sift through the overwhelming amount of information available by keeping up to date on changing trends, policies, deadlines, and more. We help research to save families time and guide them on where to allocate their time.

5. IECs provide individualized attention.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends secondary school counselors have a load of 250:1. However, the national average in America is 455:1 per the most recent study completed in 2016-2017. Furthermore, a recent survey by the National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) found that counselors typically only dedicate 30% of their time to college counseling, which averages out to 38 minutes per student. This means many students and families are left to navigate the ever-changing college admissions process alone or with misinformation. At LAUNCH, we work with no more than 10 students per graduating class, which means families receive in depth guidance with a personalized and holistic approach to the university admission process.

6. IECs utilize an unbiased approach.

To maintain an ethical approach to school and university guidance, IECA members objectively get to know a student, their values, likes and dislikes, ambitions, and more so they can delve deep into meaningful research to find multiple best fit options as typically students will find more than one throughout the school search process. We rely on a combination of facts, historical knowledge, student reviews, campus tours, alumni earnings, and more to provide a well-rounded view of a school and understand if our clients will fit with the culture and community of campus.

7. IECs follow sound, ethical standards.

The leading organizations for IECs (IECA and HECA) provide ethical guidelines for all their members. In addition, the International ACAC requires members to adhere to NACAC’s stringent and robust ethical and social responsibility guidelines. Breaking these guidelines can have severe repercussions and results in professional consequences from any of these organizations.

8. IECs offer advice not guarantees.

IECs cannot guarantee acceptance into any school, college, or university. As a result, IECs offer unbiased advice and structured guidance which lead to a strong admissions strategy. They work with families to disseminate false or inaccurate information about schools, programs, organizations, and professionals. At the end of the day, a client is responsible for making their final choices, but at LAUNCH we aim to create increased opportunities through sound, competent, and informed advice and a trusting relationship with our clients.

9. IECs encourage independence.

All IECA members encourage students and families to be an active participant in their school search process. Through a personalized process, IECs can broaden perspectives and opportunities, discuss possibilities in a meaningful way, and encourage students to reflect deeply upon their priorities, wants, and needs regarding a school. By working with a reduced client load at LAUNCH, we are able to actively encourage personal discovery throughout the entire school application process.

10. IECs are your family’s partner in the process.

An IEC’s personalized approach allows us to become partners with students and their families. At LAUNCH, we want families to celebrate their milestones with us throughout the process and beyond. We want them to remember us as a safe place where they were able to launch their future. To start your partnership with LAUNCH, apply online at and remember to #dreamlaunchsoar!

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