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Frequently Asked Questions
What shall we expect on the first day of counseling?
A meeting with the entire family for a presentation and a questionnaire to help you begin discovering your best college choices or testing options.
What types of customers have you worked with?
We work with students from every socioeconomic strata. We work with students in public, private, parochial and home-schooled situations, within the United States and internationally. Students range in interests from undecided majors, to pre-med or pre-law. They are athletes, artists, dancers and other specializations. We welcome students who need accommodations, as well as students who have excelled and are bound to the highest ranked colleges in the country. We are a full-spectrum college counseling service.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their college advisor?
College counseling is an odd field, in that many enter it not by choice, but by default. A school assigns a teacher to the role, and the person has to do it, not because s/he loves the work, but because it was an assignment. Or, they may love the work, but feel overwhelmed by the student/counselor ratios: 500/1 in many urban public schools. Sadly, some others just enter the field for greed, to make money by placing your child anywhere that is easy admission. Instead of personal attention, they sell workshops with cookie cutter approaches to each student. Counselors, like teachers, need to love their job, to love working with students to find colleges and see them as unique individuals. Counselors should also have experience with admissions staff and frequent visits to colleges. Look for all these traits in your counselor.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Meet as a family with the person before you start the engagement. Make sure that person understands your child and is committed to giving the family significant time and attention. Beware of schemes and people who guarantee a certain test score, brag about promising a certain amount in scholarships, or a certain college admit. We do not advise working with international agents who guarantee admission to a college for a fee.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I have been in education for over 20 years: as a high school teacher at two of the areas leading private schools, as a college faculty member, and as a former Director of Education at the Smithsonian Institution. For many years, I oversaw the National Air and Space Museum's office that provided kindergarten through graduate education programs, including college internships and graduate fellowships. I ended my career there as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Institution, writing its Area of Emphasis on Education for the Secretary and Congress. Specific to high school education, I am also an AP exam instructor certified by the College Board for history, government and English language. I trained teachers to help them improve curriculum design and class room management. Teaching is what I love and designing effective curricula to help others learn and achieve is what I do best.
What are your most popular services?
College counseling and merit aid applications
ACT and SAT exam preparation in all areas of the exams
Accommodations testing and IEP/504 plan development
Addressing gaps in student education caused by the pandemic: Math is the number one request; followed by writing
AP Exam tutoring
General tutoring in subject areas for high school students
Summer internships and study abroad for high school students
Assisting families applying to private high schools with both the applications and standardized tests: ISEE, SSAT, and HSPT
Helping transfer students. Never feel stuck or continue at a college that is not a fit.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have taught high school for many years. I also been on faculty at the undergraduate level at several colleges and been an administrator for K-Graduate school programs at the Smithsonian Institution. I regularly attend conferences in my field. I generally visit 10-20 colleges a year. I have visited hundreds of colleges, including those most popular along the East Coast in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, west and southeast coastal areas. As a result, I am called on to train other teachers and college counselors.
What type of student were you? How did you navigate the college process?
I was fortunately valedictorian of my high school, largely because I loved school and learning. I had great, caring teachers and guidance counselors who worked hard to place me in college preparatory experiences. My father was military and died early; these educators saw my potential as I try to do with my students. With their guidance, I was admitted to almost every Ivy league school in the country. While there are many colleges beside these, never aim low. Believe that you can the college that fits your dreams.
Describe a recent project in admissions that was successful for you?
Despite the learning losses due to the pandemic, students who elected to test and prepared with us did well. 33 was the average ACT composite for most of my students, with some approaching near perfect scores in subject tests. That said, we don't hesitate to help students through the test optional path. This is a great time in college admissions for a student to determine whether or not they want to test. Our goal with testing is not to make money at the student's expense, but to do what is right for the student.
What advice would you give to any parent that would be most helpful in this process?
Start early. Just as you have your child sit down with a pediatrician early, meet a college advisor preferably by the start of middle school; certainly by freshman year. Preparing for college is much easier if you start early. We can help you in almost every way to better your child's high school experience, to create a financial plan for college, and to envision a likely path to a college that fits your needs.
Let's Get Started Today!
New York University and Barnard-International Admit
Thank you so much Jackie! You have been an invaluable part of this process. You went above and beyond for me, and I appreciate that so much. You're the best! Hugs!
New York City and Johannesburg, South Africa
Rice, Northeastern, and UMichigan Admits
I first wanted to say thanks for everything you have done with [our son] . We so appreciated your knowledge and guidance in getting through the application process. But as I went through it with [our son], I realized that we should have started earlier. So I would like to set up a meeting for my daughter (sophomore) and start setting her up for college.