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Parents' reviews of tutors are the opinions of Berkeley Parents Net subscribers. Your own experience may be different.
Announcements from tutors are accepted without review as a service to local parents. Please always check references before hiring!
Parents' Reviews of College Admissions Consultants
For amazing help with college essays and the admissions process or any kind of excellent tutoring, Gabrielle Glancy is outstanding! We came to her on the late side and she bent over backwards to help our daughter with an early decision application and with her college essays. A former admissions director herself and a widely published writer, her insights were invaluable. She really helped our daughter focus, hone and polish some really beautiful essays. She's calm, kind, quick and effective and also has a great sense of humor. Our daughter really enjoyed working with her. She gets an A+ in our book! c. lum
For the College Admissions Consultants section of BPN.
For the single and married parents who want the ''Best AND Most'' for their child, Cynthia will get you top Results. She has a special gift of connecting well with her students and is very knowledgeable when it comes to preparing each child for acceptance into the college of their choice. Every student may not have the highest GPA or SAT/ACT score, but Cynthia knows how to be creative and think out-of-the box to help your child develop and implement ideas that will definitely strengthen his/her profile, increasing their likelihood of being accepted. If you want to help alleviate the worry and stress that comes with writing essays for college applications, choosing top colleges and universities most appropriate for your child's interests, while making sure you receive all possible scholarships available, connect with Cynthia. You'll be extremely pleased. I am!
My son's weighted GPA was 3.6 with average ACT and SAT scores when he submitted his college applications. Because of Cynthia's extensive knowledge of what colleges look will for when accepting students, she has guided my son in completing and submitting his college applications. So far, he's been accepted to 8 of 15 colleges and universities; as of yet, he has not been denied. He has been accepted to Sacramento State, San Francisco State, University of Nevada, La Sierra University, St. Mary's UOP, UC Riverside, and Cal Poly. We are still waiting to hear from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, USC. My son chose schools based on the best fit for his profile.
Even if he doesn't get accepted to another college, he has great options. With Cynthia's help, he developed excellent personal essays and became involved in a variety of extracurricular and community service activities. I could not have accomplished this great task without her. Cynthia's college consulting service has been one of my best investments yet and I highly recommend that all parents reserve an appointment with her just to hear what she has to offer. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Cynthia can be contacted at 925-548-0002 or www.college-watch.com Rosalind
I highly recommend Jamie Keller. Jamie is an excellent college application essay coach
who really understands how to help students make their personal statements pop. My
daughter Erin had some ideas about what she wanted to write about. Jamie listened to
Erin, and helped her choose and develop her topics for UC, the Common Application, and
the many supplements the colleges required. She encouraged Erin to believe in the power
of her own voice, guiding her through the process until her finished essays were unique
stories only Erin could tell. Jamie showed her that by using vivid language and
creating images that would stay in the reader's mind, her essays would be memorable
and stand out from the rest. Jamie was right. Erin is now a freshman at Vassar, and I
am sure that her powerful essays were a major factor in her acceptance to the school.
Jamie's contact information:
Jamie Keller, MA Education
510 847-2505 cell
Jamie Keller is an excellent college essay tutor! She helped my daughter 3 years ago and my son this year. She has gently guided them to create a unique statement, reflecting their personality and voice. With my son, in order to work around his schedule after meeting in person a couple of sessions, they worked online via Skype and Word Docs. Each of my children have different ways of working and Jamie was able to encourage each of them to excel and succeed. Jamie Keller (510) 524-8697 Pat H.
I am seeking a REASONABLY priced College Admission Essay Coach. I've contacted three (3) coaches/advisors recommended by this network and, all of which, are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! $180 to $105 per hr? Really? That's more than what AP Physics/Chemistry and some SAT Tutors are charging, and in my opinion, almost more important than admission essays. Any additional recommendations would be appreciated. Anon
I want to recommend 3 Moms who just started their business together in the Bay Area. Their business is called San Francisco Admissions Advisors and their website is http://www.sfadmissions.com - I have already learned quite a bit from them. All 3 are certified college admissions advisors who have been doing this type of work for years. They also have experience working with International students, High School admissions, graduate school admissions and students with learning differences. Check them out - great women who know their stuff! Debbie L.
How important is it to hire a coach to help our son with his college essay? My son has good grades and knows which colleges he want to apply to. My only concern is the essay part since I see many people around me are hiring college consultants for their children. How expensive is the service if it is limited to coaching the student with the essay? If you think it is a good idea, then your recommendation for a good and yet affordable college essay coach is appreciated, too. mother of a junior
My daughter had a truly memorable experience with Lesley Quinn. Not only did she emerge a better and more confident writer, she enjoyed the process thoroughly. Lesley understands what the colleges are looking for. She encourages kids to be self-reflective and to dig below the surface to find the most real and compelling story. My daughter found Lesley to be supportive, kind, and fun to work with. In the end, my daughter was accepted to every one of her top choice schools. Heidi
My son, husband, and I recommend Barry wholeheartedly as both a college counselor and a portfolio preparation adviser. Barry is smart, experienced, and great with teens. He offered superb advice, encouragement, and support to our son, who needed to create an art portfolio for undergraduate architecture programs. A wonderful artist himself, Barry's guidance was thoughtful, insightful, and professional. Barry had a lovely, compassionate approach with our son, who was not a confident artist, but Barry also knew how to nudge tactfully and firmly when deadlines loomed and our son got cold feet. The result of their process together was successful: our son was offered spots in three top-ranked US architecture programs that require an art portfolio. If the opportunity arose, we would work with Barry again. Deborah
Sarah Shankman is wonderful! She worked with both of our children on their college application essays. Our kids are very different in many ways. She was able to connect with each of them and help them focus their ideas and efforts. Our daughter was looking for comments from many people, including her parents. Not surprising, she got many different comments. It seemed like she had almost too many ideas and directions to go. With Sarah's guidance, she was able to create sussinct and cohesive essays. She was very happy with the results. Our son would not accept help from anyone, especially his parents. Sarah became the one exception. The process she used was remarkable in getting him first to identify what he wanted to say. Following that, he even accepted her guidance in composing the essays. We still have not read his essays. That's his decision. Both of our children seemed proud of their work. Sarah did not do the writing for them. She brought it out of them. Perhaps more to the point, both of our children have been accepted in programs that were at the top of their list. They actually were accepted at a number of schools. That seemed almost a luxury. I can't recommend Ms Shankman highly enough A relieved parent
I want to recommend great assistance with college essay writing! (Jamie Keller: Jamiekeller1@gmai.com) My son had a writer's block, especially having to write about himself which is hard for anybody. I hired the hgihly recommended (by the moms in my book group with 3 seniors this year working with her):, Jamie Keller. She worked with a painfully rough first draft and somehow got him motivated to address her feedback and come up with other drafts. He absolutely would not listen to any adult feedback so her skills working with him were admirable. I am happy to say that he got into his first choice college. He did finally write a personal and revealing essay for the Common app, which he was able to break into two parts to address the UC apps. Yeah Jamie! I highly recommend her to anyone with a kid is who is resistant to writing. smartsalgal
I enthusiastically recommend Sarah Shankman for assistance in the college application process. She worked with our son on his essays and was incredibly helpful.
Not only did she help him complete his essays early, but she met with him to discuss topic ideas and through that truly helped him find his voice in a very stressful process.
The result was some terrific essays that we are confident helped him gain admission to a great university. Having someone who is not affiliated with his high school -- and not his parent or relative - was invaluable to all of us. Throughout it all, Sarah was responsive and always kept his ideas at the forefront. He was proud of the final product -- as were we.
They worked primarily through phone and email -- perfect given how busy high school seniors are.
She was great and we will definitely connect with her again when our youngest is ready to begin the college admissions process! Cindy
I am looking for a college admissions counselor experienced in helping students with LDs to assist our family in finding a good college fit for my son. He has ADHD, NVLD and dysgraphia. He is also gifted. Thanks for any recommendations!
Dianne can take your child through the entire process, or just bits and pieces of it, whatever works best for you. She helps the student define what he or she is looking for, or needs, in a college, and then narrows down the list via lots and lots of online research into each school--along with her considerable insight into so many schools in the country. You end up with a list of six to ten schools, ranging from safety schools through reach schools, all of which would be a good fit.
She will then work with your student on the essays -- yay! That part is just great. She helps your child find his or her voice and find the story he or she wants to tell. Plus, she keeps things on track and on deadline! I cannot say enough good things about her, and would be happy to talk to you about her if you'd like. You can e-mail her at email@example.com Good luck! Nancy
I am looking for a recommendation involving a college advisor that could guide my child towards her journey to a suitable college. We have some reservations about ''College Quest''. Any input would be really appreciate it. thanks
We had a horrible experience with College Quest. Not only were they outrageously expensive, but my kid came home from every session in tears because of the putdowns. The same essays that my kid wrote (that Austin said were horrible) got favorable reviews from every other essay reader and subsequent college adviser. She also kept suggesting schools my kid had zero interest in. Fortunately, several people lifted my kid's self esteem back after this unfortunate experience at College Quest. Parent of happy college sophomore
Hi. My nanny has three amazing school-age kids, destined for college. One of them will be turning 16 soon so her college preparation needs are quite imminent. She wants to be a doctor. The situation is this. The girl's parents are immigrants and not savvy to the college admissions/preparation process. She has a very good GPA at a local charter school. The school seems great, but I'm not sure they have the resources to offer comprehensive college preparation counseling. I've asked, and I don't see they are working closely with her. Because the parents are low-income, it would really be best for this child to attend a school with a large endowment for scholarships, ie. a very good school like Stanford. I think this child could possibly get her GPA in range, but needs a lot of advice regarding extracurricular activities, and needing someone to check that she is taking the right kind of courses to attend a top-tier school. She will also need assistance with her application, getting letters of recommendation, personal statement etc. I really wish we could afford to hire a college counselor for her but our resources are truly stretched. Does anyone know of any affordable or possibly free resources out there to help deserving students like this get the kinds of college prep assistance that kids in the private schools get? berkeley mom
1) College Track, which has a program in Oakland. Check them out on line at http://www.collegetrack.org/main/index.php
2) First Graduate, based in San Francisco but might be able to recommend resources in East Bay. Rachel
Haas summer program http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/yeah/
main UCB pipeline site: http://students.berkeley.edu/outreach/
college counselors may be willing to give an hour or so pro bono--try contacting some
depending on your time, you can do a lot w/o any special skills--remind her to take the PSAT/SAT and apply to the UC's on time (deadline is super early), offer to read her essay, etc. best wishes
My son is a junior in high school. The only family I know that used a college counselor engaged her services during the student's freshman year to work with him all through high school. We were thinking it would be helpful to hire someone on a short-term basis, or even just for a few consultations, to help my son go over what colleges could be a good fit for him, maybe go over his essays, and so on. Our main problem is that my husband and I just went to the UC closest to home (Berkeley) and didn't apply to too many other schools. I know there must be plenty of great colleges out there I don't know about, and I'd like my son to have broader horizons in that area than I did.
We have the two Loren Pope books (''Colleges that Change Lives'' and ''Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College that's Right for You''), but I feel my son would benefit from talking one-on-one with someone.
Can anyone suggest a counselor who works on this kind of short-term consultation basis? Any idea what such a service might cost? Thanks a ton! Mary
The college center at BHS has up-to-the-minute information about colleges, has worked with students of diverse backgrounds and learning styles, has relationships with admissions officers across the country and really has the knack for fitting the right student with the right school, whether it is an Ivy League school, a community college, a public university, etc.
As an aside, the private counselor told my son that he had no chance of getting into an Ivy League school. Not so his BHS college counselor who encouraged him to pursue his dream and helped him work through the steps he needed to take to get there. Ivy League Mom
I feel I absolutely must let the world (or the East Bay) know about Rebecca Field, a most amazing college counsellor who works out of an office near Lake Merritt, Oakland. She guided my son through the process of applying to colleges and actually made it fun and enriching! She connected with my son immediately. She took the time to get to know him and she was with him every step of the way. She helped him organize, set his tasks and introduced him to try a few schools that she thought would be good for him. My son wanted to go to a small college back east. We thought this would be a challenge, but Rebecca was familiar with the full spectrum of public and private schools nationally. She was able to suggest a few additional schools that were not in "Forty Colleges" but just as good. Jake submitted the last of his applications yesterday and ahead of the deadlines despite a somewhat late start. He feels great about his choices, is excited about college and was able to really think through what he wanted to get out of school. I can say with absolute certainty that Rebecca made all the difference. While some of the choices might have been the same, the quality of the applications, essays and the confidence were entirely due to Rebecca. Debra
I am looking for a recommendation for a good advisor, preferably in the Fremont/Pleasanton area, who can help my 16 year old daughter narrow her college choices. She is not sure what she would like to study, but does want to go to school outside of California. There are lots of firms out there, but would appreciate advice from parents who have already been through this. May also want help on preparing college essays, but I don't want to get locked into any long-term contract. Ruth
Sean Brennan helped my daughter immensely with her college application essays. She is applying to a number of very competitive universities this fall, and between her class load and other activities, she had little time to spare. Sean was able to work with her essays via e-mail and very quickly provided extremely detailed and insightful feedback and instruction for an exceptionaly reasonable price. He also has a blog with detailed discussion of the major prompts this year. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I strongly recommend his services. c.c
I need to find an advisor for my high school junior ASAP. She eventually wants to get into a school like UCSD and I'm concerned she has a Fall semester class schedule that isn't right for her. Her high school counselor just let her pick her own courses. (Unfortunately that's a problem with the summer AP work.) I would appreciate recommendations for college advisors who work well with gifted teens who have lost confidence in their academic abilities. We live in Pleasanton, so prefer someone in the Tri-valley/680corridor region. Stymied parent
I want to recommend Sarah Shankman, a college admission essay coach. My daughter is an excellent student, but dyslexic and writing is not easy for her. She had a hard time finding a topic for her college essay that expressed who she is. Sarah took all the stress out of the essay. She worked one on one both in person and through email and helped my daughter find a topic, organize her ideas and edit her final draft. Sarah also helped her manage her time and finish the essays in plenty of time.
My daughter said: "Sarah helped me take a step back and not just focus on the final essay. She helped me brainstorm and think about what I wanted the college to know about me."
We had a great experience with Sarah and my daughter was
admitted to all of her top choices.
Sarah was recommended to us by friends who used her services in 2010. Those girls are now students at NYU and USC. We found working with Sarah a true delight. After our initial meeting with her, all work between Katie and Sarah was handled without the need of parental involvement, making it a truly student-driven process that allowed Katie to represent her voice alone in her essays. We felt this was very important for Katie to do on her own.
While Katie was accepted early decision to the Vanderbilt School of Engineering, she applied to several other equally prestigious schools and was accepted to several. Sarah helped her tailor her essays to meet the different schools' requirements. Katie loved working with Sarah and found the process very comfortable and positive.
Our son will be beginning the college application process next summer and we will, no doubt, be calling upon Sarah to help him find his voice and tell his story successfully in his college application essays. We encourage you to visit her website at www.sarahshankman.net to find out more about her services. You won't be sorry! Lisa
Marilynn Aiches is an incredible college councilor and tutor. She's great with all kinds of students. She worked with my son and daughter and saved us all kinds of angst. Her expertise, insight and support was invaluable every step of the way from curriculum choices, extracurricular suggestions, to college choices. Plus, nobody can get a student to write an essay like she can. She's passionate about what she does and gets amazing results. I recommended her to 8 other friends and all of our children have been accepted to their top colleges, including the most selective ones. An added advantage is the fact that Marilynn, in addition to her private practice, works for UC Berkeley admissions. This gives her insight into what makes a great college application. I'd call soon because she gets booked up. Believe me, you won't regret it---and better yet, your student will thank you. Mine did. Marilynn Aiches 510.559.8815 email@example.com Kathy
My son is a junior in high school and wants to major in visual arts with a BFA. Does anyone know what are the best California state colleges, (not the UC's as they are too big), or a small private colleges locally in California they can recommend with a strong fine arts program.? Also can you recommend a college counselor/coach who is familiar with strong art programs in college? SB
Hi -- I'm searching for a college adviser who can give my daughter some support through the college decision-making process. She's a junior, with great grades and the right temperament for college, but she seems paralyzed in terms of starting the process. She's expressed concerns that she feels she has to know what she's doing (going to be/study) before she can even think about/look at schools, and that she's afraid of making a ''mistake''. As parents, we've tried to express our views that going to college is when you discover these things about yourself but she's unconvinced.
I'm really looking for someone creative and open who can help her to think imaginatively,and maybe help free her from this need to judge herself overly harshly and over-analyze. She's like this in other things, too. She responds better to adults who are more sharp-witted/edgy rather than the sensitive (= motherly) type. Thanks! Mom whose teen needs to look before she leaps
We interviewed several college counselors and ended up working with Ethan Ris, who made house calls and was definitely different from the rest of the pack. Instead of just going through a standard spiel (i.e the same thing we could get from the high school counselor ...) he took the time to really get to know our daughter personally and then helped her formulate a strong list of colleges and a game plan for the college process. (He's also much younger than most counselors, around 30 I think, which seems appropriate for connecting with teens). She saw the possibilities and got excited about going off to school for the first time. She is now a very happy freshman at a great school back East!
Ethan has a website at www.ethanris.com. Good luck!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel ... Erica
Seeking a tutor to help my teen daughter with her college essay and planning. She hasn't decided the major/minor yet, highly interested in art (I don't think that will end up as her major). Great grades (3.8 GPA), but not strongly focused on science or AP classes and with limited extracurricular activities. Ideally I would like someone who can come to our house in Cupertino or within a reasonable driving distance (10 miles or so). Lisa
I would like to recommend an outstanding college admissions consultant in Berkeley. Edith Zinn has over 20 years of experience and is a former University of Michigan Admissions Officer. She worked with my daughter two years ago and with my son last year. Edith typically begins working with students in the winter to spring of their junior year, and assists them with planning senior year coursework, when to take tests, and recommending prep work/materials/tutors, if needed. She spends time getting to know each student, drawing out individual strengths and qualities to highlight in the college application resumes and essays, and helps the student to develop a list of colleges that are a good match. She helped both of my children craft really remarkable essays, and ultimately present themselves in a way that gained them admissions to their first choice universities. With Edith's assistance, my son was one of 600 admits (out of 10,000 applicants) to the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UCLA last spring where he now attends. Edith works on either a flat fee or hourly basis depending upon your need/preference. She is a true professional and I recommend calling her as soon as possible. Edith can be reached at 510-528-0503. Chris
I highly recommend Barbara Gates for help with college application essays. My son felt hopelessly blocked when it came to writing his personal essay. He wanted his experience to be told it in his own voice, but the draft he brought to Barbara, if honest, was wooden and lacked movement. Right away, Barbara proved to be a wonderful listener. A high school English teacher for decades, and a gifted published writer, and editor, she has a natural ease in drawing from a reluctant teen the experiences that shape a life and the details that make it unique. What is wonderful about Barbara is that she did so without ever giving suggestions, letting my son take charge of the entire process. She helped him link his initial ideas, moving the story to a thoughtful, arresting conclusion. After three revisions, the final product has kept the freshness of the initial draft. I have heard that the best story reads like unfolding self-discovery. By this standard, my son's essay is a winner. Best of all, thanks to Barbara's unobtrusive help, he can rightfully and proudly take ownership of it. Barbara tutors in her home office in West Berkeley. You may contact her at (510) 486-0236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Grateful Parent
I would like to get references for college advisers in the Bay area (Contra Costa/Alameda counties preferred) as well as fees etc--I have heard those professionals are great but I don't know much about how they work, fees etc. I have a 15 yr old son and feel we need to get all the help we can before deciding on which school is the best for him. Thanks in advance! Patty
My daughter, Courtney, went to Jamie Keller, www.learnwithme.com or (510)524-8697, for help with her college application essays. Jamie did a wonderful job of gently coaching her to bring out her own voice in her essays. Here is Courtney's recommendation:
My name is Courtney, and I am a freshman at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon (go Pioneers!); I went to Jamie last year in September when I was having trouble composing my personal statements for UC and private schools. Jamie Keller helped me more in the space of a single hour than my Lit teacher had in an entire month! In two sessions (one hour each, one week apart due to scheduling conflicts on my part) at Jamie's house in Berkeley, we had written a 700-odd word essay, which I was able to use for most of my 16 college applications. In another hour, I had a shorter essay (300-odd words) which I was able to use for a few other applications. Jamie helped me pull up creative ideas and ferret out those which I was most passionate about, suggesting a more dynamic verb here and a change in syntax there, leading me to create a written masterpiece which, despite my poor math scores, earned me a place on an Ivy League waitlist (colleges nation-wide were positively inundated with applications this year, and admissions abruptly became intensely selective and difficult). With so many qualified applicants jockeying for position, personal statements are often the only way to distinguish oneself against the crowd nowadays. I'm certain that Jamie Keller's help afforded my own distinction, and a place on the second-most-beautiful campus in America! Patricia
Barbara Austin, PhD (English), inspired my son to work hard at grades, SATs, leadership and community service. She was able to help him clarify his essay ideas and figure out to which schools he wanted to apply to. She meticulously prepares students for the SAT/ACT and hires a very skilled math instructor for the math section of the test, and coaches the English herself.
In 2009 my son got into Brown University with her excellent guidance. He was also accepted at Swarthmore, Amherst, UCLA,UCB College of Creative Studies, Washington U St. Louis, UC Davis, and several other schools. I have nothing but the highest praise for Ms. Austin's college counseling. Thanks. Dorothea D
My family and I would highly recommend Sharon Travers as a college app essay tutor! She was tremendously helpful throughout all parts of my brother's college applications. She walked him step by step through the essay writing and he couldn't have ever expected or asked more of her. He states, ''Without Sharon, I feel I would have never had even a change to get into any out-of-state school. I would recommend her to anyone who needs help with any part of the college application process.'' Please contact her! She's wonderful and very knowledgeable! Kate S.
Re: Timeline & strategy for high schoolers
for our BHS senior we used a college councelor who I highly reccomend- he does the SAT/ACT prep, essay prep, college selection guidance, checks the applications and even help with deferring for a GAP year. Fees are mostly 1X set fees and I thought he was amazing: Terry MacClure 510-898-8040 email@example.com. We started at the end of 10th grade. mm
My son had a great experience with a college application
essay tutor, Jamie Keller (firstname.lastname@example.org
www.learnwithme.com). ''Writing college essays can be really
stressful - like any of of need more stress in our lives -
and Jamie made it fun while helping draw out the best of
him. Here's what my son had to say about her: When I
started the college essay writing process, I really had no
Idea how to approach it. Jamie helped me play with ideas
and words and I ended up writing one of the best things
I've ever written, which I think helped get me into
Our kid is an earnest student with not-bad grades and a lot of worries about leaving home. We're hoping to avoid escalating nerves in our houseshold by starting to think & talk about the college application process with our sophomore now. The thing that appears to be causing the most worries are the essays, so we thought we'd start slowly with some experienced coaching on that pretty soon. Can anyone recommend someone in the East Bay or Contra Costa who is particularly skilled working with students who lack confidence (about both writing and adult life)? Perhaps a tall order, we know... -Trying to Gear Up
It's clear both you and your son are anxious about the college application process and about having him leave home. But my instinct is that dealing with that now may not be productive or relieve either your anxiety or your son's. Most of his thoughts about everything, including college and himself, are likely to change a lot between now and the fall of his senior year. Many sophomores--especially boys--are simply not ready to deal with the introspection a good essay requires, and suggesting that he begin thinking about that now may only add to his insecurity. (Most teens are sure they have Nothing to Say.)
Of course you need to make sure that he is taking the courses, getting the grades, and developing the habits that will help him succeed in college. Beyond that, I would focus on a general and positive message about college: wonderful time of life, unique and special experience, lots and lots of wonderful colleges out there, plenty of places and opportunities that will work for him, lots of time over the next 2 years to explore options. If he is specifically anxious about the essay, you could show him what some simple and unthreatening prompts look like (the UC prompts are straightforward and not ''tricky'' examples).
But the best way to prepare for the essay is to (1) write daily in a journal about impressions, reflections, responses to the world around him and (2) read good fiction and nonfiction, including memoirs and biographies that pull out central themes and lessons from individuals' lives. Good luck!!
From a parent who has been through the process, I felt that the summer before her senior year was ample time to develop a strong essay; however, the advice Cynthia provided during the earlier years was invaluable. We could not have made it through the process without Cynthia. Her genuine concern and dedication for my daughter's success turned a chaotic time into a fulfilling journey for my daughter. I believe you would have the same experience. She can be reached at 925-548-0002 D.
Recently Sarah worked with our daughter to help her write her essays for the University of California and the Common Application. My wife and I greatly appreciated Sarah's guidance throughout this process. First, Sarah helped and encouraged our daughter to brainstorm ideas for each question. She then patiently worked with her to fine tune subsequent drafts until her essays were completed to everyone's satisfaction. Sarah's editing skills were remarkably helpful for staying within the required word limits while making sure the essays remained consistent with our daughter's own writing style and persona.
Our daughter enjoyed working with Sarah very much. Sarah helped her to produce top quality final essays in a manner that was reasonably paced and relatively stress free. Having Sarah assist with the essays enabled my wife and I to help support the overall process without getting too involved in the actual writing. This proved to be a very good strategy for keeping peace in the family and produced essays that really do reflect our daughter's perspectives and experiences.
All of us greatly appreciated Sarah's quality work, professional skills and supportive personal style. She is a very good writer and editor, and works very well with students facing the challenge of the college essays. Regarding the cost, Sarah's rates are very competitive for the quality of service she provides.
Finally, with Sarah's help our daughter was admitted to the University of California, Santa Cruz, Northeastern, and University of San Diego.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information. Eric K.
Does anyone know of a college advisor they can recommend? Our son is a Junior at BHS in Academic Choice, overall a B+ student, and we are looking for some guidance on college choices/opportunities and planning. We find the www.collegeboard.com website very helpful, but want to take a more targeted and personal approach. Thank you. Mom
We found Wendy on the recommendation of some friends (she is also recommended in the BPN archives), and we couldn't be happier. We, in turn, have referred another friend. whose daughter was so thrilled after their first meeting, they have decided to drive all the way from Cupertino to utilize her services! My son, now a senior, has begun receiving his college acceptances, and says he would tell any of his friends who are now juniors that they would be lucky to work with Wendy! I recommend you email or call Wendy to find out more about her and her services.
Wendy's contact information: email@example.com 510-384-5962 Happy mom of a senior
My daughter is a junior in high school and now is the time to start looking at colleges. I don't know where to start! She won't qualify for a UC but could get into a CSU. However-I imagine there are plenty of great private colleges that would work for her too. I just don't know where to start---and also wonder how we can find out if it is worth it for her to apply to private schools knowing we will need tuition assistance. Please help.... wondering and starting to worry
Fortunately, my daughter has now found help on the application process where she is being encouraged and valued for her skills and her writing. She is back to feeling positive and excited about applying to college. I am sorry we wasted our time and money with Ms. Austin. Learned the hard way
My daughter (a junior) is interested in exploring colleges that provide an alternative path to education. She is doing her share of research on-line and with books, but we are looking for a college counselor/consultant to help direct her with her search of non-traditional colleges. We would also appreciate any feedback from parents and students who have attended any alternative colleges. Thanks! Melissa
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is 510-384-5962. She is located in Kensington. I live in Central Contra Costa County and found it worth the drive - but a lot of the work she does with students is by email. I'd contact her right away if I were you. She fills up fast. Good luck! sunhopes
I can recommend an EXCELLENT college essay coach: Lesley Quinn (I think she has a website). She worked with our son on all his admission essays and we were blown away by the end result. She's not cheap, and she doesn't help identify the best colleges - her focus is just the essays - but she's kind, insightful, goal-oriented, encouraging, and best of all, our son loved working with her and he got everything done early (which was a miracle). She talked with me for about 30 minutes on the phone (for free) about our son first, and then he met with her two times to brainstorm essay topics. After that, they sent essay drafts back and forth by email. Good luck. anon
We're going to want our high school junior to start thinking about his college essays pretty soon (he doesn't do well under the pressure of looming last-minute deadlines). He also works best one-on-one so signing him up for one of these summer bootcamps we're seeing isn't the best fit for him. Anyone have a recommendation for someone who can support him through this important writing challenge? Carol M
In the roller coaster ride of the admissions process, one of the best moments was a letter from a senior admissions officer at a small liberal arts college, who wrote to my daughter: ''I just wanted to tell you that I LOVED your college essay. Great work!''
That's my summary of our experience with Lesley Quinn.....great work! She can be reached at www.lesleyquinn.com. Happy mom/ successful senior
I am looking for a good college counselor in the Lamorinda area, who can provide assistance to an average student. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd be very grateful. Thanks for your help. Allison
I am looking for a college prep counselor for my daughter who is a junior at Albany High. She asked me to help her find someone who can do some aptitude/interest testing for eventual college/career choices and to help her sort through the options for her college education so she can become more clear about what might be right for her. Any ideas or recommendations? --Diane
Our daughter worked with Lesley Quinn (525-4104). Lesley totally got what our daughter wanted to convey and worked gently and insightfully, making suggestions that allowed her to develop her story and convey both her experience and her personality without feeling as if she were losing her voice or her control; her essays remained her own in every way. We'll never understand the mysterious application evaluation process but we feel that our daughter's essays conveyed to a room full of strangers a lot about who our daughter is. We highly recommend Lesley to those who face this daunting task. -A relieved parent
A while back, someone posted a recommendation for a woman who helped with the college admissions essay process. I think her name was Jamie? I can't find her in the archives, and would be grateful if someone could post her name and contact info again. Thanks! parent of high school senior
My son is going to start the college application process and I'm looking for a consultant who can help him with his personal statement essay. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone who has good experience with this? My older son received help from a former U.C. Berkeley application reader, but she is no longer available.
My daughter struggled with her college essay last year. She is a good enough writer but had enormous trouble talking about herself. Mid-summer, she consulted with a very expensive and well-known tutoring service. She got a sense of where to start and a ''hook'' for the essay and then got bogged down and remained there for months, despite more sessions with the original tutor. With the deadlines coming up, she found another person to help, who gave her advice that sent her another, and I might add, fruitless and frustrating direction. At the 11th hour, we finally found Jamie Keller, who read my daughter's lifeless essays, talked and listened carefully to her, and then patiently taught her how to show, rather than tell her story. Jamie worked with her through multiple versions and helped her find her voice. The final essays were compelling and rang true. In working with Jamie, my daughter gained confidence in herself as a writer, and she is sure that her essays helped her get into Cal. Jamie's number is 524-8697. Relieved Mom
I need a recommendation for a smart, sensitive, straight- talking private college admissions counselor who is reasonably priced, for my high school junior child. We know the basics and can research schools. We need someone to help our child with writing essays, staying on task and meeting deadlines, so that Mom isn't always the bad guy. Advice on where to apply (what is a ''safety'', what is a ''reach'') will be helpful as well. We live in Walnut Creek/Lafayette area. I have read previous posts to this list, but would really appreciate up-to-date recommendations. I have heard from too many friends who have been unhappy with the counselor they used. THANKS!! Junior Mom
Can anyone recommend a college coach to help a junior in high school start to figure out what type/size of schools they should look at. My daughter is an average student with lots of extracurricular activities who has no idea what she wants to study or where to begin the process. She'll be taking the SAT and ACT next month for the first time but we don't know what the next steps are beyond that. She is very busy with sports and her other activities and has asked if we could find someone to help us get organized, focused, and begin to navigate this process. Any recommendations? Thanks!
My dyslexic daughter is a junior in high school. Does anyone have a recommendation for a college counselor who is good with kids with learning disabilities? anon
Students with learning differences (LD) should keep four general ideas in mind when considering colleges.
First, by federal law, every college in the country has programs and services for LD students. UC's, community colleges, Harvard. All of them.
Second, you are unique and complex - not just ''LD.'' So consider colleges based on other factors - majors, location, extracurriculars, campus life, etc. - but also see if the LD services fit your specific needs.
Third, unless LD has had no impact on your academic performance in high school, disclose it in your application - and, more importantly, say what you have done to overcome any limitations it created for you.
Finally, don't rely on general advice. Call colleges directly. Call Admissions. Call the Disability Office. Tell them your situation and ask about procedures and policies.
Secondly, not all college disabilities services are created equal. This was a major part of our son's college search. We learned that by law every college/university must accomodate demonstrated learning disabilities, but not all colleges have the same quality of services. Be on the look out for the term, ''Comprehensive'' program. You can ask if the college has a ''Comprehensive'' program. It is often a fee based program that includes a seamless relationship between disabilities (accomodations by law) and the student and the faculty. It may include weekly meetings with a personal advisor, accountability, organizational specialist, reading specialist, counselling, etc. Check out the program at the University of Denver: http://www.du.edu/disability/ It is a model program that has now celebrated its 25th year of the Learning Experiential Program for LD and ADHD students. Best to you! l
My daughter left for college recently and I'm reminded how
enormously helpful her private college counselor, Annissa
Hambouz, was in helping her to find a good fit. Annissa
has been a private school teacher here and in NYC, relates
well to teens, is well organized, creative in her advice
and selection of schools and really sees each student as an
individual. She has students around the Bay Area, including
Marin and the East Bay. annissa[at]learninsausalito.net
(website www.learninsausalito.net 415-516-8998
I wanted to pass on the name of a fantastic college admissions consultant.
Edith Zinn in Berkeley is a former University of Michigan Admissions
who worked with our son. She helped him develop a strategy, find a list
schools that were right for him, and then present himself in a way that
colleges found attractive. Importantly, Edith is not one of those
counselors who works via fancy marketing or a one size fits all formula.
helped our son craft his own strategy. With Edith's help he was admitted
Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, the University of North Carolina, Carleton, and
top tier schools. Edith has been active in the field for at least 20
gets her clients via word of mouth. Her phone number is 510 528 0503.
usually books up early for the college admissions season, so it is worth
contacting her soon.
We are looking for a college advisor who has expertise and experience helping with applications and selecting colleges for ADD kids (whose academic record is not steller). Thanks for any suggestions. worried mom
Hilary Roberts has tutored my son, Aaron, in his college application essays. She had a good sense of the amount of help my son wanted, and addressed his needs well. This helped him (and us parents) tremendously in this very high pressured situation. Aaron is now in his first choice college, and wishes to thank Hilary for her wonderful assistance. Her email address is: email@example.com. Sincerely, Paul
I would recommend Mrs. Judi Flannery who use to work at Holy
Names High School. You can reach her at Jpflann99 AT aol.com.
Former Parent from HNHS
My daughter is having a very positive college counseling
experience with Annissa Hambouz. Ms. Hambouz was a social
studies teacher and college counselor at a private school
in Marin until this year and is now full time in her own
practice. She relates well to teenagers, is well
organized, creative in her advice and really sees each
student as an individual. She works in Marin and the East
Bay. website www.learninsausalito.net 415-516-8998
Since it's getting to be that time when the Seniors need to write the application letters for the UC's, private colleges, etc., I'd like to recommend the person we used to help our daughter write hers. Hilary Roberts was able to help my very burned-out-on-school senior meet her deadlines and make a couple of rough drafts in a timely manner. Hilary was persistent when my child would have liked to have avoided the entire subject, but she persisted in a professional manner, so it worked. I appreciated that she brainstormed without writing or dictating the letter so the final product was definitely a true sample of my daughter's thinking, grammar and syntax. I recall the fees we paid to be reasonable and the relationship professional and leading to good feelings of accomplishment. I would absolutely recommend Hilary Roberts as our daughter was accepted at most of the schools to which she applied and had many good choices and I do attribute that to the synergy of the work they did together. Before engaging with Hilary I had concern that the essays wouldn't get written. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org Jill
I'd like to recommend a tutor who helps teens write application essays for colleges & universities, scholarships and other academic programs. Monica helped my daughter write a successful essay that reflected her personal experience and voice while ensuring the application requirements were met. She has excellent rapport with teens.
Monica has over 10 years teaching and tutoring experience, including work at the UC Berkeley Student Learning Center and Summer Bridge Programs, UC Berkeley's Early Academic Outreach Program and Pre-College Academy, and UC San Diego's OASIS Writing Program. She specializes in helping students in every step of the process, from brainstorming topics to polishing and editing final drafts.
I highly recommend Monica's services and I feel she's well worth the $50/hour rate. Monica Ng Muller can be reached at email@example.com or 510-282-3273. Deb
My daughter is a junior at BHS. We are thinking it would be a good idea to consult an independent college counselor for assistance. I have searched the archives, but found only one or two listings. Does anyone have current advice for me along these lines?
She seems to know her stuff, and she gives the kids lots of information, but also makes them research certain things independently (like she'll come up with a long list of colleges that might meet your child's needs, but then expects your child to send for the initial materials to narrow the list.)
Her hourly fee was reasonable, and ultimately, it didn't cost us that much-. And the hassle we saved in not having to be the ones to edit his work (it's amazing how much easier it is for teens to accept feedback from adults who are not their parents....)made it all worthwhile. Anyway, good luck! barbara
I'm looking for recommendations for a college counselor who has specific experience working with homeschoolers and kids who have nontraditional high school experience. I've seen some of the posts on college counselors here, but I'm hoping someone knows of one that works with our particular situation - I have a 16 year old daughter who completed two years of public high school before taking the CHSPE exam and thereby ''testing out'' of high school. This year she is not enrolled in school, but is continuing to pursue academic work through other programs. She is a very high achieving student with great grades and test scores, but we need more information about what she'll need to do to apply to college without a traditional high school background.
To the parent(s) looking for a college counselor: If you can't find a local counselor who is available, as a back-up you might check out the college(s) that you attended. My alma mater has a free college-counseling service for alumni who are parents of college applicants. The service is available regardless of where the student wants to apply for college, and it can be given by e-mail, phone, or in person. I have gotten some useful information and advice from the counselor who administers that service. Juliann
I highly recommend Barbara Manierre (464-1056). She brings enthusiasm and good humor to the college application process plus a wealth of first hand knowledge about schools, a high level of organization, and great editing skills. By setting up writing deadlines, she was able to get my 'leave it to the last minute' son to work on multiple drafts of his essays and reduce the overall anxiety of the process considerably.
I'm trying to choose/hire a college counselor. I need someone to work w/my dtr on essays, to help her find the best scholarships, and to keep her on schedule/deadlines. She's already compiled a list of schools. Seems the ones with whom I've spoken want to help compile the list. And, I feel the first consultation should be free, to determine the efficiency of the match, but most seem to want to charge quite a bit for first meeting, without any promises about what services they will provide, etc. I guess I don't know much about this as a field. Comments, ideas, help? Alison
On the other hand, there are many many college admissions advisors (I being one of them) that simply charge a flat hourly rate and will cater their services to the particular needs of the parents. It sounds like that is what you are looking for.
I think the factors to consider in choosing a college counselor are:
1. Reputation 2. Area(s)of expertise 3. Price and most importantly 4. ChemistryI think that it is super important for both parent and student to feel completely comfortable and open with their advisor.
Since their are a lot of independent counselors located the bay area, the best thing to do is shop around. Let the counselor know what your needs are and see you both can work from the same page.
As with anything, clear and constant communication (and a good vibe) are key.
I hope this helps. Robin
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