• Can’t we just do this on our own? Everything we need is on the internet.

    Yes. And No.   All students and parents seek some type of advice on how to approach the college admission maze. The web is rich with information about college admission. Talking with families that have already gone through the process know the steps from their experience – a year or so ago. The real question is who or what these resources are and if they are fully reliable for the year your child is applying to colleges.

    It is easy to find colleges that look nice and have majors you want -- and reputations that you have heard about already. But when college search engines ask students if they want an urban, rural or suburban campus, many do not even know what that means. Or, when asked the size of college they are looking for, most all students do not know what is considered a small, medium or large college or university. The information may be there but knowing how to use it is critical to selecting and getting into college today.

    At College Advance we counsel you and your student on the best ways to research colleges and financial aid opportunities. Knowing what to look for and where to look shortens the time it would take you to gather information on your own – and specific to your child’s college admission.

    As a result, our students take charge of the selection and admission process with confidence. They will learn the importance of the academic preparation required or suggested by specific colleges. You as a parent will understand how need based and merit based financial aid works.

    At College Advance, we help students personalize the applications. Colleges are putting more emphasis on applicant essays in their reviews. What you say and how you say it makes a big difference. We help your student develop essays that clearly show their writing abilities, creativity, personality and readiness to do college level work – the elements of the application admissions committees seek from their applicants.

    Over the years we have developed techniques and approaches to this process which result in successful college admission to the best, right fit schools – with the best reputations -- for your child.

    College Advance is a great way to support your role as a parent to give your child the gift of an experience of a lifetime.

  • Why do families hire an Independent College Counselor?

    If you need assistance with your taxes, you probably hire an accountant. If you or someone in your family falls ill, you make an appointment to see your doctor. Lawyers are consulted for their knowledge and expertise. And, like many families today, you hire a financial planner to assist you with your financial goals.

    At College Advance we serve a similar role. We advise, counsel, guide, coach and support you and your family through this often confusing maze. Our experience and assistance ensure that you and your student are accessing every opportunity possible to get into the best colleges. Our goal is to work with your child on the admission process but just as importantly, help them academically and socially prepare for their college careers.

  • My first child got into a great college so I already know how it works. Why do I need a College Counselor for the next child?

    Once parents begin college planning with the next child, there is a stark realization – often too late -- that not every student is the same in any family when it comes to their academic and career goals. We help your next student develop resumes, essays, applications, course selections, extracurricular and community service activities that are unique to them.

    College admission can be just as different from one college to another and different from the college your first one attends. Understanding these differences requires additional research time and visits to at least a handful of the campuses. We find that each child in the family we work with rarely applies to the same colleges as their older brothers or sisters.

  • Our School Counselor advises on college admissions. They tell us we don’t need extra help. Why hire another Counselor?

    The real issue here is time and interest. School-based Counselors can only do so much. Their duties include far more than just college prep. Academic, career and crisis counseling take a front seat. Research studies indicate that of all the many hats a School-based Counselor wears, their college counseling role has dropped from 32% to just 21% of their work days. The depth of college knowledge of a Public School Counselor is only often as strong as their personal interest. In California, the Counselor/Student ratio can be between 200-1000. School personnel do not work evenings and weekends and are off most of the summer.

    At College Advance, we are available 12 months a year, evenings and weekends. We are available when you are available. Summer is a critical time for rising Seniors, for example, as they need to work on their college applications. Today, starting applications and essays in the Fall of Senior year is just too late.

    We typically do not need to use guidebooks or websites to research the colleges for our students.
    Our understanding of the colleges and creative ways to get in is based on our 25 years of experience.
    We have working relationships with School Counselors and serve as resources to them if they have questions about certain colleges or the competitive admission process.

  • Our private high school already has a College Counselor with admissions experience. Why hire another Counselor who does the same thing?

    Private, Catholic and boarding school College Counselors help their students with college planning. Tuition pays for in-school College Counselors with depth of experience in the field not found in public school settings. Some do, however, carry other duties.

    Families like to have an independent view of their child’s admission process. They seek outside opinion in order that the student is doing everything they can to get into their colleges. At College Advance we help you learn how to best utilize the resources of your high school. Like a School-based Counselor, private high school College Counselors typically are not available weekends or during the summer.

    Our approach at College Advance is to suggest colleges which may be more competitive than those presented by the high school. College Advance’s focus is solely on you and your child. For public or private schools, the concern is not just the students’ admissions but the reputation of the school. College admission track records bring higher stature to the school and the faculty.

  • How often do you meet with your students?

    The frequency of Skype or face to face visits depends on the student’s current grade level, time of year and need. It is never too late to begin our program. Contact us to determine when the best time would be to begin and which tailored program works best for you and your family.

    We have a variety of packages available from hourly to limited, short term programs. The notes below reflect our full program which does not restrict hours.

    Seniors – This year – especially the first term -- is critical. It is the most labor intensive of any year prior, no matter when you start our program. We have some type of contact with Seniors every 7 to 10 days to establish and meet deadlines, review essays and monitor progress with the applications.

    We begin working with rising Seniors in the summer. By the beginning of the school year much of the process is completed which means earlier submission of the applications.

    Juniors – This is the ramp up year. From resume building to course selections and academic progress monitoring, we maintain close contact throughout the year.   College research is on-going with students required to discuss their findings at each meeting.

    Sophomores – Course selections, academic monitoring, extracurricular and community service activities are recommended. Lists of colleges are developed based on our formal and informal personal inventories and career tests. Students also review their curriculum for the following year.  Counselor appointments are flexible but we schedule update meetings throughout the year.

    Freshmen – Course selections, study habits, and teacher/student relationship cultivation are discussed. Resume building is discussed at each session.  Recommended summer options are researched.  Course progress and grade monitoring are on-going.

    Elementary - Eighth Grade – Our counselors meet with younger students on an as-needed basis.  Our role with you and your child depends on the needs of the family.  Each session is as much for you as the parent as it is for your child.   Developing the preliminary resume is discussed.  Age-appropriate activities are suggested for the school year and summer.  For seventh and eighth graders, high school selection, course planning, study skills, and the importance of extracurricular activities and community involvement are discussed.

  • What makes College Advance the right place for us?

    The expertise of our Counselor is what makes College Advance unique.  Developing college lists for our students is easy as we have been on those campuses and have sent many students to them.  We rarely use guidebooks to find the best choice colleges for our students as a result.

    The college preparation and planning process is also educational.  College Advance alumni consistently tell us that by working together, they learned how to get organized, meet deadlines, seriously consider education and life goals, develop an understanding of what it means to plan ahead and how to write creatively about themselves.

    Upon completion of the program, students also tell us that they have landed at the best college with the tools to be academically and socially successful.  College Advance confirmed for them what their college major would be and the career they plan to pursue.

    Colleges with great reputations are not created equal.  We help you consider top schools and why specific colleges have a reputation – and for what.   Most importantly, reputation does not always match current realities. At College Advance we keep you abreast of reputations that are building and those that are sliding at colleges you are targeting.

  • I would like my child to join your program but they are not interested. They just think it will be more work. How do I get them to realize they need the help?

    Students resist digging into college selection and admission because of the stress and anxiety which permeates high school campuses.   As much as students are in denial, it’s time.

    Our program does not mean more work for the student – it means less! We guide you and your student every step of the way.  Our techniques show you ways to streamline the admissions process, offering our expert advice as to what you can do and should do – or do not need to do – and when.  Confidence that you are doing everything right raises motivation, interest and follow through.

    Our Counselor talks candidly with students to explain exactly what to expect from this project which will help define their future. Developing immediate rapport with them is critical. We have phone or skype  meetings with students who are hesitant or skeptical – for whatever reason.  Showing a student that with College Advance applying to college will be easier than they thought it would be.  Fears are quieted and the focus kicks in.  And, the message about “now is the time” would come from us. Students quickly learn that parents do know what they are talking about!

    We suggest you say to your student that hiring College Advance is as much for you as it is for them.  Parenting a teenager through the process is much easier and saves time as a result of having current and correct information about college admission – from an independent, knowledgeable source.

  • How do you compare to other Independent College Counselors who do what you do?

    College Advance is quite different from most of our competitors.  We have worked in college admissions offices, recruiting and evaluating students.  Check out the section “About Us” to learn more about the background of your counselor.  Professional development is critical and seen as required by College Advance.  It is what we do to make sure you get the most current, up to date information on your colleges.

    College admissions officers bristle when they hear Independent College Counselors describing their role as “positioning, “marketing” or building the student “brand.”   Many students and parents think that getting into college is only about promoting, selling and pitching their students to colleges’ admissions staff.  It actually does not work that way.


    The dramatic increase of professionals entering the field of Independent College Counselors has been prompted by the increased competition to get into college today.   Despite the overwhelming number of College Counselors starting their own practices, there still is no uniformly recognized credential as is true in other fields.

    Membership in college admissions professional organizations means an Independent College Counselor is serious about advancing their understanding of college admission.  Completion of an on-line “how to” college counseling course through a university extension division does not speak to the quality and depth of the college counseling others offer.  There is nothing that beats experience in a college admission office, a high school college counseling center and serving as a consultant to public schools to build their college-bound culture.

    At College Advance we subscribe to the same philosophy of our colleagues in admission.  Quality college counseling takes into account the experience of the college bound student in and outside of the classroom.   Evidence of what the students learned from these experiences is what colleges need to see.  Colleges today – even large, public universities – take a holistic approach when reading applications, looking at everything the student could bring to their campuses.

    In the end, getting into college is only the first step of the higher education experience.  Getting out -- graduating in 4-6 years from the college where you start your first year -- is the definition of accomplishment and success which lasts a lifetime.


If you have a question about college admissions or our College Advance programs, feel free to call, text or email us using the form on the Contact Us page.