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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

Access. Information. Education. For All.

As a white woman who was raised in an upper middle class family in a predominately white neighborhood, I cannot claim to know what it feels like to be a person of color in this country. I am not naive to the fact that I have privilege, and my children, who attend one of the top public K-12 school systems in the state, are privileged as well. I attended a strong public high school, had access to sufficient knowledge and resources regarding the college application process, and I enrolled in an elite private university for college. I pursued a graduate degree, and spent almost fifteen years opening the doors for students to pursue graduate business education in my position as Director of MBA Admissions.

Now, as a female business owner and independent educational consultant (IEC), I am positioned to share my knowledge, expertise and guidance with families who would like to provide their children with the same kind of access to opportunities that I received. Especially in light of the Varsity Blues Admissions scandal, there is still a misconception that IECs are only for wealthy families or for families who want to get their children into the most elite institutions in the country. While there are some consultants that position themselves that way, they are not the majority. The highly professional, ethical, experienced independent educational consultants with whom I associate, use our extensive knowledge and understanding of colleges and universities to help students and families identify best fit educational options and guide them through the research, planning and admissions process. We want to help create access to this information for those in underserved communities who may not have it readily available, as well as to those in our own backyards. We want to generate awareness of the breadth of available educational options and the process for achieving educational goals for all students - not limit access to this information to just those who can afford to pay - over 95% of IECA members (there are over 2,000!) do a significant amount of pro bono work.

As Kofi Annan once said, "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."

I know I can speak for my IEC peers when I say that we want to help all students have access to knowledge, information and education.

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