Well, these first three or four months of 2019 will bring a whole host of feelings for young people applying to independent schools. They have to ensure that their school work continues to flourish while also looking ahead to exciting new educational opportunities. 

My current clients have applied to schools on Vancouver Island, California, New Hampshire. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York State. It’s an exciting and nervous time. With application deadlines looming for the end of January, it is time to chase all the necessary documents to complete the application, and if an interview has not been completed yet, then the visit needs to be set up very quickly. I help in all this, including interview coaching. 

My primary role as the family’s consultant is to ensure that the best fit of school (s) has been identified and through on-going meetings with me they are ready to choose the number one choice for them, once decisions come out from the schools. My secondary role is to ensure that if the dream school on the list denies a spot that the other schools they have applied to, from reach to safety schools, are also pleasing options. 

During these next 3 months ( March 10th is the decision day for US boarding schools, for example) I will be an advocate with school admission staff for my clients. At the same time, I am looking outward to attract new clients for placement September ‘20. To that end, I will be in Hong Kong from Feb. 20th to the 26th interviewing families. A great place to go to work! 


Shawnigan Lake School – the end of an era

In June, I visited a number of boarding schools in the United States and the United Kingdom. While I live on Vancouver Island and visit the boarding schools here on quite a regular basis, I had the opportunity to make more formal visits to some of these schools very recently.

My visit to Shawnigan Lake School - https://www.shawnigan.ca/page - was to give a personal fare thee well to an outstanding educator who retired at the end of this school year – Headmaster David Robertson. A 25 year career at Shawnigan, with 18 years as Headmaster, saw the school flourish under his expert guidance. I worked with David for ten of those years and was able to witness the magic he wove as a leader.

Shawnigan’s magnificent natural campus was enhanced to become one of the great world school locations. Enrollment swelled to the extent that it is now the largest boarding school in Canada. Programs were challenged to achieve excellence. Endowment for scholarships/bursaries grew immensely. At the same time, students were happy and respected David greatly, while the values he spread and espoused stand the test of time.

All you have to do as a family is to visit and tour Shawnigan to feel the school’s special atmosphere and see the world-class facilities it provides. David’s legacy is assured. He and his wife Lynn were given a great send off by the alumni and parent community around the globe over the year, and by the students and faculty at the end of the school year in late June.

“We Must All Help Each Other To Succeed, Rather Than Put Each Other To The Test To Fail.” Marylyn Rosenthal

Well, it’s been quite a week of mixed emotions. Mid-March is the witching hour of first wave admission decisions for US boarding schools, and for leading day schools in major cities.

Along with my client families, I have been on tenterhooks awaiting school decisions. After years of chairing admission committees, and distributing the results, it is humbling now experiencing the nervousness felt on the other side of the equation. The loss of control over the process is tempered by knowing you have done everything you can do as a consultant to help students succeed. That is what it is all about.

In mid-March I am delighted to have helped students gain the following acceptances:


Connecticut: Ethel Walker School

Massachusetts: Berkshire School
Miss Hall’s School


California: Harker School, San Jose
Stratford School, Palo Alto

Canada: Two applicants to Canadian boarding schools on rolling admissions are awaiting decisions.

Now, on to the next season – which begins today! Many students may have been disappointed with the choices they have been left with. Other families are just beginning to look for next September as they have realized they want a positive change for their children.

So, research and choices have to be made in an encapsulated time. IECA consultants are ready to help. Feel free to call us.

A look at some Australian Schools

I have just returned from a fascinating trip to Perth, Australia. En route I had excellent planning meetings in Hong Kong with my associate, Johnson Cheng. Seen here at dinner with my wife, Jean. We provide advice for parents in their school search.

From Hong Kong we travelled to Perth where I visited a number of fine schools. The school structure there is marked by a public-private partnership system. There are many single sex schools and some co-educational ones. With the far-flung nature of the Australian topography, boarding schools in cities provide great service to the country.

Tradition at the Australian schools very much came through the British influence in the country - just about all schools have formal uniforms, and cricket, rugby and rowing dominate the sports offerings. Academic standards are high, and tuition fees are very reasonable due to government grants to private schools.


I was particularly impressed by Sacred Heart College, a co-ed day school in the Catholic tradition: located across the road from the beach, the setting was spectacular. The other two schools I visited are also excellent. Scotch College is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school and was founded in the Protestant tradition, somewhat similar to the United Church of Canada. Hale School, a boarding and day school, is the oldest boys’ boarding school in Western Australia and was founded in the Anglican tradition. 

All of these schools are highly competitive for entry. It is the same everywhere - competition for the best abounds.

Jean and I were also able to enjoy a couple of Indian ocean sunsets!