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Here are a few of my recommended affiliations. HECA brings together private educational advisors from around the country. As this is a relatively new industry, the association celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2012. There are approximately 800 members registered throughout the nation, so personal counselors are still hard to find. It can be difficult to get information on consultants as many don’t have working business websites. Most of the members are retired guidance counselors, school administrators, or university admissions officers beginning a second career.

NACAC is comprised of thousands of members who are secondary school counselors, independent college advisors, financial aid officers, university recruiters and enrollment managers. NACAC is responsible for researching many of the foremost publications on college admissions and supports many committees that influence the national policies adopted by colleges and univesities across the country. All members must adhere to a Statement of Good Practices and follow the ethics of the organization. NACAC administers the National College Fairs and the Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.

ASCA is the organization that K-12 public and private school counselors join. The focus here is more on the actual practice of counseling in the school districts. National standards require that guidance counselors complete a graduate program in secondary guidance and receive certification through their state Department of Education. Small group counseling is considered the primary focus of a strong guidance office. While completing my practicum, I conducted small group sessions dealing with anger and stress management, study skills, and handling conflicts. My classroom guidance activities were presenting an anti-bullying curriculum to the gifted students.

IECA is the oldest membership comprised of individual’s with graduate degrees who work with families searching for specific programs.  There are four main specialties broken down into school (private and boarding), therapeutic (emotional and behavioral), learning disabilities and college.  There is also a designation assigned for working with international students.  Each member must visit 50+ colleges every three years and conferences are hosted every six months around the country.  Marketing materials and websites are also reviewed before someone is allowed to join.  Three levels are available: student, associate and professional.