College Consulting

Navigating the college admissions process can be daunting. There are application essays – how important are they? Letters of recommendation – which teachers should I ask and how do I get the best letters possible? Extracurricular activities – am I better off participating in some activities rather than others? The college list – help! How do I choose the right schools and how can I make myself the most competitive applicant to those schools?

Your college consultant at IvySelect will help you answer all those questions and more. We act as your guide and mentor, providing you with our years of experience and accumulated knowledge, in order to alleviate your stress and maximize your competitive stature as an applicant to your dream schools.

We are college consulting experts. This expertise translates into helping you put all the pieces of the admissions puzzle together in a systematic, comprehensive and thoughtful way. IvySelect’s college consultants will work one-on-one with you to develop strategies to showcase your academic and extracurricular passions, find your best fit colleges and guide you to write your most compelling essays. IvySelect’s college admissions consultants will provide you with the world-class, unsurpassed college consulting assistance you need to be eminently successful in this challenging process.

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Is Hiring a College Consultant Worth It? Ask Our Students and Their Parents.

College Consulting Testimonials

Read more from our clients and what they have to say about our college admissions consulting services.

Your College Admissions Consultant

Why Hire IvySelect for College Consulting?

57% of our students will attend a school ranked in the Top 10 National Universities by U.S. News Best Colleges
100% of our students in 2020 will attend their 1st or 2nd top-choice school
100% of those students will attend schools ranked in the Top 25 National Universities by U.S. News Best Colleges
We’re very proud of our students and all THEIR accomplishments. Their hard work, talent, as well as their presentation of who they are, what they’re passionate about, and how they’ll contribute to the lifeblood of their chosen universities in their college applications and essays (with IvySelect’s assistance, of course), have made attending their dream schools a reality. All of IvySelect’s students have been accepted by and have attended all the top universities in the U.S., as well as top schools in Canada and the U.K. We have worked with multiple students every year since inception who have gotten into and attended every Ivy League school (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth), all of the Ivy Peers ( Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Duke, Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and more), all the top “Public Ivies” (UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan and Virginia), all the top liberal arts colleges (Amherst, Williams and Swarthmore) as well as the top international universities (like Oxford, Cambridge and McGill.)

Learn About Ivy Select Founder and College Admissions Consultant

Michael Goran

As the college admissions landscape has become increasingly more competitive with each passing year, parents and students have increasingly turned to college admissions consultants for help. Consider that the University of Chicago in 2004 had a 40% admit rate. That’s right! The current #6 ranked national university in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings admitted 4 out of every 10 students. In 2018, their admit rate was a minuscule 7%. This trend is not limited to the Ivy League and Ivy Peer schools like UChicago. A few years back, Tulane University’s admit rate was about 30%. In 2019, their admit rate dropped to 11%. NYU also went from admitting students at a rate of about a third of their applicants to 16% for the class of 2023. In the last few years, too, Boston University and Northeastern have broken the sub-20% admission barrier that generally characterizes colleges as being “highly selective.” No wonder that, with the growing selectivity of popular universities, families have increasingly turned to individuals in the field of college admissions consulting to navigate the complexities and competitiveness of the admissions process. We would posit, however, that not all college admissions consultants are created equal. To truly rise to the pinnacle of the college counseling profession, a rare combination of attributes is necessary. The independent educational consultants (IECs) at IvySelect are that rare breed.

Michael Goran, the Founder, Director & Lead Educational Consultant at IvySelect, is among the best college consultants in the United States and, indeed, the world for a number of reasons. He has the professional credentials you would expect from a top college counselor, including completing his education from the graduate-level UCLA College Counseling Program. Michael is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), (which both require an extensive vetting process), as well as the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) and the Western Association of College Admissions Counseling (WACAC).

letters of recommendation meeting

These affiliations, which provide countless opportunities for continuing professional education in multiple ways, along with visitations to colleges, attendance at admissions webinars and conferences, as well as his personal research devoted to top-tier universities, have helped him create a top-notch knowledge base. Mr. Goran’s educational background also sets him apart. He is an Ivy League graduate from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a graduate of a top-rated law school, the Emory University School of Law. He has the requisite intelligence to guide even the smartest student.

As a lawyer, he brings to the college consulting process the attention to detail and the global strategic thinking that are attributes unique to his legal training and practice. Michael also served as an editor for a publishing house, which equips him with professional-level writing and editing skills that he uses to great effect with his students. Yet, beyond his background and over a decade and a half of college counseling experience, there are other attributes that make Michael one of the top college admissions consultants in the world and makes IvySelect one of the best college admissions consulting firms globally. The consultants at IvySelect are top college specialists. Michael and the IvySelect team focus on working with high-achieving students gearing for very selective, highly selective and ultra-selective colleges. Our background and continuing research on elite universities means that we are able to provide unsurpassed guidance to our students regarding this small, exclusive niche of schools. Only a handful of college consulting firms specialize in the arena of top-tier college admissions. We have no doubt that, due to our experience, knowledge base, talent and sophistication, IvySelect is at the summit of this very small group. IvySelect’s biggest value-adds, and what we know also separates us from the competition, are strategy and unsurpassed essay guidance. Michael’s strategic insights have helped his students achieve their goals of getting into the top schools in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Whether this is due to strategic positioning or application strategy, the results have been brilliant. Mr. Goran is also one of the foremost college essay help experts in admissions consulting. We are certain he is among a handful of consultants who, through his guidance and rare talent, can help students elevate their essays dramatically while they write in their best, authentic voice.

Commonly Asked Questions
College Consulting

We’ve heard every question in the book for students and parents in the college consulting discovery process. Our philosophy is different – we work with around 15 and no more than 20 seniors per consultant as they apply to university so that we can provide an incredible amount of individual attention, in order to ensure that they have the expert guidance they need to stand out as college applicants. Rest assured, we know what we’re doing. And we’re very, very good at it! The coalescence of all these factors is why IvySelect is one of the top college admissions consulting firms in the world and Michael is one of the best college admissions consultants in the profession. You will be in expert hands with IvySelect College Consulting and we’re here to answer your questions. Read our answers to the most commonly asked questions about college consulting below:

IvySelect College Consulting is one of the top college consulting firms in the world. IvySelect’s college consultants work with a limited number of students. Many college counseling firms work with 40, 50 or even 70 rising seniors per admissions cycle. We provide unsurpassed expertise in the college admissions process. As essay specialists, we are certain that we are among just a handful of consultancies in the country that can help students elevate their essays dramatically, for best effect. When it comes to strategic planning, IvySelect college consultants offer world-class guidance in helping our students develop academic and extracurricular profiles that stand out above the competition. Our 1-to-1, comprehensive admissions program gives our students the individualized, strategy-based help they need to be competitive applicants to top-tier schools.

Our parents, like all parents, want the best for their children. The college admissions process, particularly in the lofty air that we work in with your children, who are seeking admission to the top schools in the country, can be daunting, confusing and stressful. At IvySelect, we help alleviate your stress by offering our expertise in guiding your child. This allows you to focus on offering your support to your child and acting as a sounding board when your child needs that support. You don’t have to be the “college application police,” or worry about whether you’re offering the right advice. You’ve hired IvySelect to offer the expert-laden guidance that will help your son or daughter successfully navigate the admissions process to elite colleges and universities.

Although there are cases when we work on an hourly basis (e.g., with 9th graders, transfer students and graduate school students), the vast majority of our families seeking college consulting help work with us on a comprehensive basis. Given that we purposely work with a limited number of students in each high school class (i.e., 10th graders, 11th graders, rising seniors) to provide the individualized attention they need, our comprehensive package predominates in our practice. These costs can vary by year and also by special needs and circumstances (e.g., international students, B.S./M.D. applicants). Please call us to discuss your situation so that we can offer the appropriate information.

Having “ivy” in the IvySelect name is a double-edged sword. Beyond coming to us because we are one of the top college counseling firms in the field, there are students and parents attracted to us simply because of our name. There are other families that assume that we only work with Ivy League applicants. Neither of these situations are true! Our students tend to be high achieving, for sure. Yet, they apply to a variety of schools, significantly beyond the Ivies. They may apply to Ivy Peers (like Stanford, Duke, MIT and UChicago). Or, top flagship public universities may pepper their list (think UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan and Virginia). Engineering applicants look to apply to top schools in their field of interest (Georgia Tech, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and more). Liberal arts colleges also make other students lists (like Amherst, Williams, Bowdoin, Middlebury, etc.)

For some of our students, who are absolutely very smart, but may not have the ultra-competitive credentials of some of their peers, a school like Boston University might be a big reach and at the top of their list. We happily work with those students too, to help develop their credentials and make them competitive applicants to their schools of interest.

As specialists working with high-achieving students gearing for top-tier universities, IvySelect attracts students from all over the world. Based in Los Angeles, we work with students from across Southern California, but, given the specialized nature of our practice, our students come from every corner of the United States, as well as from multiple countries in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Africa. These students are attracted to IvySelect because we are one of the best college admissions consulting firms in the world.

IvySelect’s practice is national and global in scope. We meet with our students virtually by videoconferencing via Skype, Zoom and Google Meet.

For those seeking college consulting assistance, we normally begin our comprehensive college admissions package in 10th grade (or international equivalent). Many students also start working with us in 11th grade. Depending upon space and our interest in working with a particular prospective student, we may take a few students who are rising seniors, either over the summer or at the very beginning of the school year. Some students applying to college for the first time also come to us during a gap year.

IvySelect’s college admissions consultants have experience, talent and a knowledge base that is world class. We also possess Ivy and top graduate school credentials. Unlike school guidance or college counselors, we don’t have a base of students that can rise as high as 800 or more. We each work with about 15, and no more than 20, students in each class. We can provide a level of personal and individualized attention that high school counselors simply cannot duplicate.

Even for students in the most elite boarding and day private college prep schools, we are able to provide you with a far greater level of service, helping you work through, for example, all of your supplemental essays to each of the colleges to which you apply. IvySelect’s college consultants also advocate just for YOU. High school counselors have to advocate for all their students and may counsel you to apply to less selective schools than we might, because they think another student has a better chance of getting in. They may be concerned about their (the counselor’s) reputation with admissions officers if they have a potentially unsuccessful applicant apply that they’ve recommended.

While we, of course, don’t want you applying to schools “over your head,” you are our only priority. We have often found that where we feel the fit is right, we have been able to move a student “up the list” to more competitive colleges. He or she was accepted by more highly selective schools than were on their high school counselor’s list for the applicant. The schools were not beyond the student’s reach. The student just needed the college consulting help, knowledge and guidance provided by IvySelect to be a competitive and ultimately successful applicant to those elite universities.

IvySelect college consultants generally stay in the background, guiding you without the knowledge of your high school counselor. We work to make the process as seamless as possible. For example, should your counselor feel strongly about you writing something in your main Common App personal statement that we disagree with, we will finesse the situation, so that the counselor is satisfied that you’ve taken their advice. There are times, however, when interactions with your high school counselor can be beneficial (e.g., international students whose counselors are relatively unfamiliar with the college admissions process in the U.S.) In that case, and others that are appropriate, we’d be happy to email or speak with your counselor.

Contact Your College Consultant

Work with experts that are among the most successful and highly experienced college consultants in the world. Michael Goran and the IvySelect team will work with you to craft your college application and to help secure a spot at your dream college.