Inside Higher Ed continues to report on conflicts of interest involving consultants who work for colleges or graduate schools and admissions staff members who moonlight as admissions consultants. Its most recent piece, "Private Counselors Who Won't Double Dip" spotlights the position of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, an organization that Accepted belongs to and that I am president of.
The article cites AIGAC as the admissions organization that has taken a clear stand on dual employment: It bans what the article calls "double dipping."
It quotes me in giving the basis for AIGAC's unequivocal position:
Linda Abraham, president of the association and also of a private counseling business called Accepted.com, said that the group wants to be very clear about the philosophy behind its ban. “You can’t have two masters when their interests may be in conflict,” she said. “As an adviser to applicants, we have to try to have one employer, the applicant.”
Life is full of conflicts and clashing interests. Adding the impossible task of balancing the interests of client applicants and employers who just happen to be deciding whether to accept those applicants adds a layer of complexity and ethical challenge that I don't want to face. In fact, I don't even want the appearance of facing it.
When you seek advice, you should not have to wonder if your trusted adviser and mentor has your interest as primary or that of the school you are applying to. If you choose to seek Accepted's help, or the help of other AIGAC members, you'll know that your interest in our primary concern.
I am proud to be a member of AIGAC, an new organization that is proving to be a leader in defining standards on dual employment and conflicts of interest in admissions. I urge other graduate admissions consultants who share AIGAC's vision and values to join. I encourage applicants to seek out AIGAC's growing list of members when choosing an admissions consultant.