Building a strong network of support helps you achieve anything!

– Gaurang, Harvard University

A citizen of Hong Kong, Gaurang went to Loomis Chaffee, a boarding school in the US, for most of his high school years. Admitted to Harvard, he is currently taking a gap year, working on a variety of interesting activities: Gaurang is completing a seven-month internship under the Head of Climate and Energy at WWF-Hong Kong, along with helping aspiring US boarding school students prepare for their interviews, learning Chinese, teaching debate in Beijing for two months and spending the last few months travelling in India and Europe!

Gaurang found a vast difference in the resources available, the difficulty of work and life at Loomis Chaffee. Yet, the school instilled a sense of confidence in him and other students. His positive attitude helped him adjust and deal with challenges. Gaurang was one of the most active members of his school community – participating in debate club and MUN, conducting campus tours for new families around Loomis, leading the environment advocacy group on campus and representing the student body on the school’s Food Committee. Gaurang also spent two summers in India teaching 10 students public speaking and advocacy at the Khedwadi Municipal School in Mumbai.

According to Gaurang, “One of the best things any student can do while pursuing their academic and extracurricular goals is to build a strong support network, which includes parents, friends, siblings and cousins, teachers and faculty members, and people that have made an impact in your life”.  The Red Pen is happy we could be part of Gaurang’s support system and help him articulate his many interests into coherent stories for his applications

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?