Great College Advice provides private college counseling services to high school students and their families as they prepare for elite and selective college admission. From comprehensive college planning to more targeted services, Great College Advice offers everything you need to be successful.
We specialize in YOU.
Let us help you develop and execute your educational plan.
We offer a variety of services tailored to the needs of different students. Generally most of our families work with us on a package or retainer basis. Most start with us in the 11th grade, but some will start as early as the 8th grade. Others may start as they enter 12th grade. It’s never too early–or too late–to get Great College Advice.
Start Here: The Roadmap to College
An Introductory Service
For most of our families, we start out with our introductory “Roadmap to College” service. This introductory program provides a 360-degree analysis of the student’s strengths, weaknesses, proclivities, and preferences. In the end, you’ll receive a solid set of recommendations for future planning.
We efficiently and effectively gather the most pertinent information from students and families. Our team will then analyze this information and present our ideas and strategies in a personalized meeting. A counselor will give you thoughtful, personalized information to help you get the most of your high school experience–and achieve success in the college admissions process.
This introductory service costs $450. For some families, this will be sufficient to set off for college on the right foot. Others may elect to continue with one of our packages.
For more information about the Roadmap to College, please click here.
On the Road: The Master Plan
Comprehensive Advising Packages
We offer two different comprehensive college planning packages for high school students. These packages are designed to provide everything a student needs to be successful in this process.
This college planning package is fro families who want strong guidance in every aspect of the college selection and application process. Our priority is to find the “best match” between the student’s needs and preferences and the offerings of colleges and universities. Students who elect this package may be interested in top colleges, but are driven primarily by finding the schools that match their interests. This package is excellent for the family seeking merit-based scholarships to reduce the cost of their student’s college education.
Our “Premier Package” includes all the following services.
- Unlimited contact between family and counselor by phone or email.
- Creation and dynamic revision of a list of selective colleges and universities that best fit the student’s academic, social, personal, and financial needs, preferences, and ambitions, with considerations of admissions chances. Directions on how to research schools on the list.
- Discussion of strategies for how to reduce the cost of college.
- Assessment and recommendations on class choices, extracurricular focus, community service, employment, and internships.
- Strategies for how to approach standardized testing and its role in the admission process
- Creation of a detailed list of activities and guidance on how best to present the student’s accomplishments on the application.
- Guidance on and strategies for getting the best recommendations possible.
- Advice for getting the most from campus visits.
- Preparation for admissions interviews, including a mock interview.
- Personalized strategic application timeline to plan for each section of the application, and to help students meet deadlines and stay organized throughout the process.
- For athletes and artists, basic guidance and advice with regard to athletic recruiting, fine arts portfolios, and performing arts auditions.
- For students with learning differences (e.g., ADHD, dyslexia, and other language-based differences), basic advice and guidance for selecting appropriate schools, communicating with university offices, and reporting differences on applications.
- Brainstorming and editing assistance for personal statement for the Common Application, with unlimited numbers of drafts.
- Brainstorming and editing assistance to finalize up to five additional essays, which may include: supplemental essays required by some colleges, additional information essays, scholarship or honors program application essays, or essays for schools not using the Common Application (e.g., University of California). Additional essays may be added at additional cost.
- Complete line-by-line review of the applications prior to submission.
- Help in determining which school to attend after all acceptances have been received.
This package takes the most holistic approach and best suits families aiming for the most competitive colleges and universities in the US. It is also perfect for families simply desiring an extra level of personalized guidance. Students receive additional substantive strategic guidance on how to craft an appealing application, as well as tactical advice on essays, supplements, communications with colleges, and interviews to improve chances of admission. Most notably, this package provides assistance with a larger number of essays and writing supplements. These supplement are key differentiating factors in the applications to the most competitive institutions.
The Elite Package includes everything in the “Premier Package,” plus the following:
- Unlimited contact between family and the private college counselor (email, phone, teleconferencing, face-to-face meetings)
- Substantive strategic guidance to improve a student’s chances to enter the most selective universities in the United States (e.g., Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, and the top 25 liberal arts colleges)
- Regular check-ins and sustained guidance on developing the student’s academic and extracurricular profile.
- Individualized guidance, research, and identification of appropriate summertime opportunities to amplify the student’s record of achievement.
- Strategic advice and guidance to complete up to 10 winning applications, including all the additional or supplemental essays required by those applications (with a maximum of 25 total essays). Note that the student may submit more than 10 applications, and that assistance with additional essays is available at an additional cost.
- Guidance in submitting applications across multiple platforms (up to 3), including the Common Application, the Coalition Application, the Universal Application, the University of California, Apply Texas, or other state “flagship” schools.
- Assistance with additional scholarship applications when required by the university, as well as applications to honors programs (up to 2)
- Help in addressing deferrals in the early application rounds to increase chances in the regular rounds (including how and whether to apply Early Decision 2) by brainstorming, structuring, and editing communications with the admissions office.
- For students put on a waiting list for admission to a top choice school, we assist in improving chances for getting off that list and being accepted, including brainstorming, structuring, and editing a personalized response.
Keep in mind that families who elect to begin with the “Roadmap to College” will be able to apply the cost of that service to a comprehensive college planning lolegepackage. This allows families to learn more about us and ensuring that we are a right fit for their student before committing to a package.
Starting with the “Roadmap to College” will also allow us to help you choose the package that is the best fit for your student.
To learn more about our Comprehensive Counseling Packages, please click here, or contact us right away for more information (we fill offer a limited number of these full-service college planning packages.
Or if you are ready to get started with private college counseling, you can complete our initial meeting questionnaire.
Choose Your Own Adventure
For families who feel they do not need the comprehensive approach to college planning, we offer private college counseling services tailored to the varied needs of families and students.
Personalized College List
For students who need help in identifying “right fit” colleges, based on their preferences, needs, and ambitions, and who will complete all applications and essays independently.
- Administration and review of complete set of diagnostic questionnaires and assessments
- Review of resume, test scores, academic record, extracurricular accomplishments
- Two one-hour meetings between counselor and student
- One 90-minute meeting with parents to understand student’s academic, social, and personal needs, preferences, and ambitions
- Identification and presentation of 20+ colleges and universities that match the student’s academic, social, and personal needs, preferences, and ambitions; list divided into categories of “reach,” “target,” and “foundation” schools; student determines which 10 schools to which to apply based on the larger list.
To request a Personalized College List, please contact us.
Essay Writing Assistance
Our counselors help students brainstorm topics, give advice on structure, and provide editing support for college essays, which for some schools can make the difference between acceptance and rejection. We do not write essays for students. Rather, we ask questions and provide suggestions to guide the student through the process. We review and revise the essay with the student until it is a clear reflection of the student’s intent, and the voice of the student rings true. Our aim is to help the student present a positive and appealing picture of the student to the admissions office.
For more about our Great College ESSAY Advice, please click here.
Senior Application Review
We designed this service for students in the final stages of the application process to provide an accurate read on the strengths and weaknesses of that application, and to give feedback on how the application can be improved. A counselor will look at all pieces of a single application, including transcript, test scores, extracurricular involvements, and outside interests. We will identify gaps in the student’s record with regard for the chances of acceptance at that school, and provide recommendations on how best to fill those gaps.
To request a Senior Application Review from a private college counselor, please click here.
Some families prefer to engage in college planning on an hourly basis, and we are able to accommodate the needs of a wide variety of students in this way. However, our Comprehensive Packages are priced in a way that ensures high value with a predictable cost.
Some families will start with us on an hourly basis, but then rapidly convert to a Comprehensive Package because they see the value of not having the clock ticking. We like students to be able to ask for anything and everything they need without limitations of time and cost.
We do, however, offer bundles of five and ten hours to allow families to manage the twin investments of time and money.
For more about our hourly services, please click here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our College Planning Services
When is the best time to begin private college counseling?
Generally speaking, it’s good to begin making plans earlier rather than later. Because of the competitive nature of admissions at many selective universities, as well as the more complex application procedures, we usually recommend that students begin private college counseling sometime in the 10th grade. Some have decided to start as early as the 8 th grade. However, we also work successfully with high school seniors in the final weeks before applications are due—and achieve excellent results. So there no wrong time to get the right advice.
How are your college planning packages priced?
We base our prices on the year the student graduates from secondary school. Families get the best value by starting early with private college admissions counseling. To learn more about our current pricing, please contact us.
What is your process?
We have a strong set of materials that we deliver to students and families over the course of our relationship. These materials cover each and every aspect of the college planning process. These materials include presentation slides, supporting documents, parent tip-sheets, and organizational tools.
In addition, we organize our students using a best-in-class web-based platform to help them stay on task, record their progress, and engaging in college research.
Since no two students are identical, the exact order in which all these materials are delivered depends on the student’s needs, as well as on his or her school and extracurricular schedule.
We employ outstanding tools. But we are not a factory. We use what we need when we need it to keep each individual student moving in his or her unique direction.
How often do you meet with a student?
We meet as often as necessary to ensure that the student is successful in reaching his or her objectives. Because we tailor our services to meet the individual needs of each student, we don’t have a set schedule of meetings or contacts. At some points in the process, we may meet only once a month. At other points, we may meet daily—supplemented with emails, phone calls, and the occasional text message.
All this said, most students on our Premier Package will receive approximately 30 of college plannin time. Those on the Elite Package will receive approximately 45 hours of our time. However, we don’t watch the clock. Our aim is for each student to be successful, so we take the time necessary to deliver on our promise.
Do you meet with parents, too?
Absolutely. We take a team approach to college planning, and parents are primary members of the team. No one knows a child better than her parents. So we meet with parents to get insights into the student’s choices, priorities, and communications style. We also take pains to communicate (and respect!) parental preferences. We update parents regularly on student progress via email and phone conversations. Parents are always welcome (and expected!) to connect with us with their questions at any time.
If I don’t live near your offices, how do you communicate with students?
While our counselors can’t claim to be “digital natives” like our kids, we have been catching up fast. We use the latest in distance technology to communicate with and instruct our students. Teleconferencing has become a relatively routine tech tool, and we use it daily. The added advantage to using teleconferencing—even for our local students—is that there is never a need for busy students to commute to our office. Now, more than ever, private college counseling is available to everyone, everywhere. No matter where you live, you have access to Great College Advice.
What is your success rate?
Perfect. But as we explain, everything depends on your definition of “success.” We do not guarantee entry to any particular school, university, or program. But we do guarantee that we stand by our students to help them identify the most appropriate and exciting educational opportunities for themselves—and give them the best possible chance of admission. For more about how we can (and cannot) measure our success, please check out this article from our blog.
How often do work with students bound for the Ivy League?
All the time. We have had students accepted to every one of the Ivy League schools (Harvard , Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia , Dartmouth , Cornell, University of Pennsylvania), as well as the other most highly selective schools in the country, including Stanford, University of Chicago, MIT, CalTech, Johns Hopkins, and Carnegie Mellon. Each year we are delighted by the success of our students in being admitted to these top universities.
Do you give presentations at schools or civic groups?
Absolutely. Please click here for more information about our college planning presentations and seminars.