In the spirit of the New Year, I think it’s only fitting to come up with some resolutions for 2012 that will help me continue to improve as a counselor – and therefore better help my students in their search for their dream schools. So here they are (in no particular order) – my resolutions for 2012:
- Apply for associate membership with the IECA. The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is the leading organization for educational consultants in the U.S. and has set the national standard for ethical practice and counselor education for those of us in the educational consulting field. Membership in this organization will not only afford me access to a wealth of educational opportunities in my field, but it will also connect me to a substantial network of fellow professionals nationwide. For my students, the opportunity to work with an IECA-approved counselor means that they can be assured they work with someone certified to uphold the highest standards of practice when it comes to the college search and application process.
- Visit as many schools as time and finances will allow. My ability to pair students with the appropriate schools for them is only as good as my firsthand knowledge of those colleges and universities I’ve had an opportunity to visit in person. In order to increase that knowledge, I resolve to continue to visit as many schools as I am able to in 2012.
- Continue to write and publish as much as possible. According to the well-quoted proverb, knowledge is power – which means that, as more and more students seek to participate in collegiate equestrian programs after high school, I have a responsibility as a counselor to share as much information about the availability and intricacies of these programs as I can in order to assist them with the search. The best way for me to do this is to write and publish as many articles about the process as I can. (For my latest articles, check out Junior Equestrian Magazine online.)
- Seek professional alliances when possible. As one of the pioneers in the field of educational consulting for equestrian students, I don’t have a lot of colleagues with specific ties to the horse world who can help me to bridge the gap between finding the right academic program for a student as well as the right riding environment. That said, Sloane Milstein of College Riding 101 has proven to be an excellent resource with her knowledge of NCAA riding and her background in coaching – look for us to pair up in 2012 to better serve the needs of both her clients and mine.
- Dedicate time to my own riding. As a counselor for equestrian students, one of my greatest assets is my own personal experience as a horsewoman (and competitor). In order to continue to understand what my students are going through, I need to make sure that I carve out enough time in 2012 to compete my own horse so that I can relate to them on a peer level as well as that of a counselor. My gelding is on target to make his debut at Prix St. George this summer and we’re two scores away from our USDF silver medal – wish us luck!
What are your New Year’s resolutions? If they include finding the right school for you, let me know – I’d like to help!