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. Our 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. Our college admissions consultants will provide you with the world-class, unsurpassed college consulting assistance you need to be eminently successful in this challenging process.

Why Hire Us for College Consulting?

57% of our students in 2020 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 our students in 2020 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 our assistance, of course), have made attending their dream schools a reality.

All of our 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 ever year since inception who have gotten into and attended every highly competitive school (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth), and all of their peers (Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Duke, Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and more), all the top “Public Ivies” (UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina), all the top liberal arts colleges (Amherst, Williams and Swarthmore, etc.) as well as the top international universities (like Oxford, Cambridge and McGill.)

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Your College Admissions Consultant

Strategic Planning

We offer expert college consulting help. We begin our strategic plan by having a client intake conference, where we address the student’s academic and extracurricular interests, goals and dreams. We ask that the student fill out the Information Form in advance of our first meeting, which encompasses academic strengths, participation in activities, honors, awards and more. In this way, we are able to develop a strong picture of the student by having a conversation based on the comprehensive information our new client provides. An unofficial transcript and a school profile help fill out the picture.

Beyond simply making course recommendations or advising you on standardized testing strategy, your college consultant will brainstorm with you to develop a strategic plan in order to boost your credentials, improve your high school record and ameliorate your weaknesses.

Your plan will take into account the specific philosophies, needs and approaches used at elite colleges. We will help guide you to develop a positioning strategy consistent with this concept.

The bottom line is that we want to help you stand out from the competition. Your college admissions consultant will help to identify and maximize your “hooks” that help differentiate you from other students.

We will guide you to actuate that plan by drawing on our vast knowledge base accumulated over the years. Your college counselor will provide you with our proprietary information regarding extracurricular and summer activities, internships, research programs and high-level educational activities that will give you a “leg up” against the competition.

The College Search

The college match process is just as important for high-achieving students as any other student. Whether you need ivy league college consulting, or you’re applying for a competitive research university, it’s all about your best fit.

Let’s start with the Ivies. All of the “Ancient Eight” have different cultures, philosophies and strengths. Brown, for example, draws students with its open curriculum, which allows students to create a unique educational experience. Yet, Columbia students swear by their Core Curriculum, which provides a true, traditional liberal arts curriculum. Penn has a dynamic urban setting and a “work hard, play hard” ethos. However, some students prefer the idyllic, rural setting of Dartmouth.

Perhaps you’d prefer the environment at a small liberal arts college, due to its intimate size and the ease of interactions with your professors. You may be drawn to colleges with specialized programs that have a music conservatory. If you’re considering engineering, do you want to attend a research university with an engineering school, or would a “3+2” option, where you start at a liberal arts college and then attend an engineering school for your last two years be a better fit?

There are multiple factors you should consider as you build your college list. Our college consulting services will address these important variables. Your college consultant will help you ramp up your understanding of the variety of colleges that may be strong matches by having you research and think about how class size, curriculum, geography and climate, faculty accessibility and mentorship, research opportunities, and the nature of the student body would affect your undergraduate experience. Building your college list emphasizing your best fit is done until we have the grouping of schools that makes sense for you.

In concert with developing your college list, we will, of course, also integrate your proposed college major into the discussion. If you are uncertain about what you want to study, your college admissions consultant will provide the guidance you need concerning the strength of various majors at different universities, interdisciplinary studies and the flexibility of programs at those schools.

We also provide guidance on combined college/graduate programs, like the B.S./M.D. and B.A./J.D. programs.

Campus Visitation Program

Visiting a variety of campuses gives you a feel for the schools’ environments, what you’re attracted to, and where you belong. Our college counseling helps includes imparting all the tips you need to make your school visits worthwhile. We will provide you with an in-depth ratings sheet to document various aspects of each college. We’ll tell you the questions you should be asking and provide information on campus tours and information sessions. If you need advice about where to visit and how to put together a tour, your college consultant will guide you. We’ll let you know the best sites to visit for virtual tours. Your college counselor can also provide you with access to concierge-level visitation services that will give you a better, “behind the scenes” look at different colleges.

Testing Strategy

Even with the pushback against standardized testing and with more schools joining the “test optional” or “test blind” movements, the SAT and ACT still remain important factors in admissions at a number of schools. We will advise you about whether to take the SAT or ACT, when to take it and how many times to do so. Our college consultants will also discuss whether to take Subject Tests and when they’re appropriate. Our counselors can recommend top standardized test tutoring companies that have helped our students score high and increase their competitiveness in the admissions process. We’ll help you navigate the waters so that you have a successful outcome.

College Application Help

For high-achieving students, the college application is more than a ministerial task of filling in boxes and providing a bit of data. How you approach your college applications is key. Our college admissions consultants possess a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of how to make your application the best it can be. We’ll help define your application strategy in order to tell your story as well as convey your strengths and your academic and extracurricular passions. Most importantly, your college counselor will help you describe why you’re a great fit for a particular school and how you’ll contribute to the campus community in a substantial and meaningful way.

We’ll also provide you with all the information you need to know. Understanding the different decision options – EA, ED 1, ED 2, SCEA, Rolling & Regular – are critical to forming your application strategies. Your college consultant will work with you to develop a specific plan of action to meet deadlines, create a resume, and fine-tune your application strategy to maximize your credentials. Of course, our college counseling services will also assist you with tips on filling out your Common App for greatest efficacy, particularly with regard to the activities section as well as your college-specific supplements.

College Essay Help

One of the biggest value-adds that we bring to the table relates to our expertise in helping you create standout essays. Not all college admissions consulting firms are created equal. Our college consultants possess the rare ability to help students elevate their essays dramatically, in their own voice.

We do this in a very synergistic way. The process begins with brainstorming ideas. Due to our knowledge and experience, we are able to review your interests and talents and filter out the nuggets that will help you produce “essay gold.”

Our world-class college essay help includes taking your personal statements through drafts, where we provide unsurpassed insight into what’s working and what needs to be changed. We’re not shy about offering you constructive criticism that will dramatically improve your essays.

Our college counselors will also share essays with you from the competition – our previous students who have attended the most elite colleges and universities. These essays may be in your field of interest, or in an activity in which you’ve participated, such as a biomedical research internship. You’ll learn from our alumni how a great essay in that subject or activity is written.

However, it may also be an essay in a totally unrelated field, but where your college consultant is helping you learn how to write with more emotion by seeing how other students successfully conveyed how they felt; or, where your advisor is trying to show you how to write an essay with greater sensory detail.

None of our students copy from our previous students’ essays, but they learn, almost through a process of osmosis, how high the level of writing needs to be in order to create a sparkling, engaging essay by reading previous applicants’ personal statements. You’ll integrate that knowledge, almost intuitively, as your writing gets better and better.

Our college counseling assistance includes providing you with our proprietary insight into how admissions officers evaluate college essays. We’ll help you discover your “life themes,” which will tie together your essays with the other pieces of your application. We’ll work with you for months on the multiple supplemental essays that you’ll be writing in your applications to highly selective universities.

Should you work with our Founder & Director, Mr. Goran, you’ll receive expert guidance from an award-winning writer and professional editor.

We consider our essay guidance one of the two centerpieces of our practice (along with strategic planning and positioning). We spend much more time in the essay writing process with our students than many of our colleagues. We do so in order to provide our students with the world-class guidance they need to create top-notch essays for elite university applications that stand out from the competition.

We are not only one of the best college counseling firms in the world, but also true essay specialists, and the results speak for themselves.

To learn much more about our philosophy regarding essays and how we are different, please see our College Essay Specialists page.

Deadline Management

Your college consultant will make certain that you stay on track, meeting all your deadlines.

Letters of Recommendation

The value of outstanding letters of recommendation cannot be underestimated. A teacher who writes that a student is “one of the top handful in a lifetime of working with thousands of students” is priceless. It’s up to you to impress your teachers, but we can help guide you in how to secure the best letters of rec.

We will share with you templates of letters written by our previous students to their teachers, that their teachers, in turn, used to write outstanding letters of recommendation. Your college admissions consultant will assist you in showcasing your “defining moments” to your recommender. We’ll show you how to set forth adjectives that describe you and anecdotes that will help your teacher immensely as he or she writes their letter of rec. Further, we’ll work with you on your letter to your teacher, so that it will tie into your application strategy and create a unified picture of who you are, what your strengths are, what you’re passionate about, and what excites you.

See the Letters of Recommendation page for more information.

Interviews

We have first-hand experience interviewing students in their college application process. We provide mock interviews, using actual interview questions. We will guide you on how to answer particularly difficult questions or deal with an especially difficult interviewer. Our college counseling includes interviewing techniques, how to come across confidently but not arrogantly, how to articulate your passions and much more.

We will also share specific questions that different colleges ask and how to develop your unique list of questions to ask the interviewer.

Please refer to the Interview Prep page for more information.

Demonstrated Interest

Not every college cares about demonstrated interest, i.e., showing interest in a particular college in an engaged manner. Yale, for example, doesn’t track whether you visit campus. Yet, other schools will look to evidence of real interest in their school through activities like campus visitation, attending an information session when an admissions officer from a particular college comes to your school, speaking to an admissions officer at a college fair, calling or emailing the admissions office, engaging with the school on social media and more.

The college consultant who works with you will share strategies to maximize your demonstrated interest where relevant. Our college consulting services include discussing the ultimate show of demonstrated interest – applying to a school Early Decision, where that school has this option – and the concomitant benefits of this strategy for a school that’s number one on your list.

College Selection Advisement

Congratulations – you’ve made it to the finish line! The power dynamic shifts once you have a group of schools that have offered you admission. Pressure comes in a different form at this point, however. You’ve got great choices, but which school do you choose? Your decision will undoubtedly be part emotional and part intellectual, based on the research you’ve already done about the colleges that would love you to attend their institution.

For those of you struggling with a decision that you need to make in a relatively short period of time, your college admissions consultant can help you make the choice that’s right for you. Academic programs, campus feel, research and internship availability, access to professors, financial considerations and more will all factor into the equation. If you need guidance in this area, we’re here to help.

If, along with your acceptances, you’ve also been waitlisted at a school or schools that you’re still interested in attending, we’ll advise you about what to do next. We’ll guide you in writing a compelling letter of continuing interest (LOCI). Your college consultant will help you with weighing the benefits of staying on a waitlist versus making a final decision about enrolling in a school that has offered you admission.

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.

Commonly Asked Questions About College Consulting

We’ve heard every question in the book from students and parents in the college consulting discovery process. You will be in expert hands with our College Consulting and we’re here to answer your questions. Read our answers to the most commonly asked questions about college consulting below:

We are one of the top college consulting firms in the world. We provide unsurpassed expertise in the college admissions process.

Many college counseling firms work with 40, 50 or even 70 rising seniors per admissions cycle. 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.

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, our 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.

Rest assured, we know what we’re doing. And we’re very, very good at it! The coalescence of all these factors is why we are one of the top college admissions consulting firms in the world for high-achieving students and Michael is one of the best college admissions consultants in the profession.

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. 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 us 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.

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 those applicants. This is simply not 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, we attract 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 us because we are one of the best college admissions consulting firms in the world.

Our 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.

Our college admissions consultants have experience, talent and a knowledge base that is world class. We also possess credentials from the most elite schools. 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. Our 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 us to be a competitive and ultimately successful applicant to those elite universities.

Our 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 our team will work with you to craft competitive college applications to your dream schools.