College Admissions Counseling

IvySelect is one of the best college counseling firms in the world. In this momentous and transitional time in your life, you deserve the best level of assistance to take you through the college admissions process. Working with IvySelect’s college counseling you will have precisely the resource you need to maximize your competitive stature to top-tier colleges and succeed.

Press Release

Press Release

Press Release

Press Release

Press Release

What Does a College Admissions Counselor Do?

A college admissions counselor is an expert that heightens your chance of admission using strategic planning and their experience within the college admissions process. From identifying the right colleges, career counseling, college essay help, to letters of recommendation and more, your college counselor can guide you in the right direction. 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.

100% of our students in 2020 will attend their 1st or 2nd top-choice school

How to Get Started With Your College Admissions Counselors

57% of our students will attend a school ranked in the Top 10 National Universities by U.S. News Best Colleges

In our initial complimentary conversation over the phone, via Skype, via Zoom or whatever your preferred method of communication, we’ll spend time getting to know you by asking questions about your academics, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, fields of interest and your background. We’ll share with you what makes IvySelect different and better – our philosophy, our individualized and comprehensive process working with a limited number of students, how we conduct our meetings, where and how we bring the greatest “value adds” and, of course, we’ll answer your questions.

We think it’s also important to add that we tend to spend a great deal of our time in this “meet and greet” conversation, often much more time than our competitors. We don’t set a 20-minute time limit. In order to learn more about you and where we sense a good fit, our complimentary discussion may run for an hour. At IvySelect, we’re generous with our time at the very beginning of the process and continue to provide that same level of “high touch” experience throughout. You’ll get a feel for how we conduct our meetings and the care we take throughout your college admissions process.

Once you begin your meetings with your IvySelect college admissions counselor, you’ll find that same level of detail and analysis. We meet, normally via Skype videoconferencing, in order to have a hands-on, roll up your sleeves, synergistic experience with our students. This approach allows us to really drill down in our discussions, avoid confusion and brainstorm ideas. With essays, for example, we have found this individualized, personal interaction to be far superior to simply sending your personal statements back and forth via email with notes and comments. In that rich, personal environment, our students are able to articulate their ideas and we can share ours, with the result that our students engage and thrive.

We’d love to share our expertise and make your college admissions process memorable, fun and successful. To get started with us, fill out one of the contact forms on the site, give us a call, or email us at [email protected].

College Counseling Services

Strategic Planning

At IvySelect, 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 IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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.

At IvySelect, 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 IvySelect 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.

Career Counseling

Our students are a motivated bunch and often have very specific career aspirations. However, some of our clients are still finding their way. Sure, they’re intellectually engaged, but are interested in multiple fields of study and aren’t quite certain what career path they will ultimately follow.

For the latter category, we provide a number of services. Whether it’s a “structured interview,” having you take and then having us analyze a values and interest assessment, or pursuing a career exploration, IvySelect has the resources to help you and give you the direction you need.

Based on these assessments and/or conversations, we offer you the college consulting assistance you require to refine your activities and academic interests.

The College Search

The college match process is just as important for high-achieving students as any other student. At IvySelect, whether you are gearing for the Ivy League, an Ivy Peer, a competitive research university or an outstanding liberal arts college, 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 IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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. IvySelect’s college counseling help 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 IvySelect 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. IvySelect 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. The college admissions consultants at IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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.


One of the biggest value-adds that IvySelect brings to the table relates to our expertise in helping you create standout essays. Not all college admissions consulting firms are created equal. IvySelect’s 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 Ivy League schools, Ivy Peers and other 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.

At IvySelect, 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 IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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.


At IvySelect, 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 at IvySelect 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.

100% of our students will attend schools ranked in the Top 25 National Universities by U.S. News Best Colleges


The student-athletes we work with tend to be at the top of their game both academically and athletically. Yet, students who have solid but not spectacular academic credentials may also be able to leverage their athletic talents and be admitted to top-tier universities.

IvySelect will assist you in utilizing this “hook” to your maximum advantage. We’ll provide the guidance you need – counseling you on when to contact coaches, how to communicate with them, how to ask difficult questions and how to answer their queries. Your IvySelect college admissions consultant will assist with your athletic resume, and let you know what you should look for and who you should speak to when visiting a college of interest.
Whether it’s providing guidance on leveraging your athletic talent in the admissions process to top schools, counseling on what to include in videos, providing strategies for athletic letters of recommendation, or helping you evaluate programs to which you’ve been accepted, IvySelect will be there for you.
We’ll assist you in unraveling the NCAA’s arcane rules. We’ll help you interpret “coach speak.” Most importantly, we’ll help you design a college list that speaks to both your academic and athletic interests.

For more information, please see our Student-Athletes page.

B.S. / M.D. Programs

A specific subset of the high-achieving students that we work with are focused on seeking admission to a B.S./M.D. program. IvySelect provides college consulting help in this niche area.

The students who are admitted to these incredibly selective programs generally have years of significant research experience, may have co-authored a paper in a scientific journal, have participated in medical conferences, have worked as EMT’s and most likely have volunteered hundreds of hours in hospitals.

Although many students are interested in biology and are interested in being pre-med, one or two week medical-related programs that include shadowing of physicians, or instances where students have done some cursory research or belong to a health professions club in school, are not the types of experiences that will garner serious consideration for admission to B.S./M.D. programs.

For the student, though, who has manifested a significant level of interest in medicine and research, exhibited maturity beyond their years, has demonstrated a sophisticated sense of compassion and can articulate why he/she must be a doctor and how he/she will contribute to the medical profession and society, a B.S./M.D. program can be a great fit.

We have worked with a number of students who apply to just 2 or 3 of these programs as part of their college list, while others have applied to 8 or more. They have gotten into some of the top programs in the country, such as Brown PLME. We’ll help you identify which programs are right for you.

Your IvySelect college counselor will work with you on the often multiple, niche essays that are part of the application process to these programs. We’ll help you articulate in the strongest possible terms why you are a good fit for their program, what you’ll bring to the table, and why you absolutely must be a doctor.

Interviews are also a vital part of the B.S./M.D. process. We’ll guide you on how to effectively articulate your interests and how you will contribute to the medical profession.

IvySelect’s college consultants are B.S./M.D. specialists, who will help you make your best case for admission to these exceedingly selective programs.

See our B.S. / M.D. Programs page for additional information.

International Students

As one of the best college consulting firms in the world, IvySelect is expert in helping international students who want to apply to and attend top U.S. colleges and universities. In particular, the Founder and Director of IvySelect, Mr. Goran, was one of the original 15-20 college consultants who are Professional Members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) to be awarded the International Specialty Designation. In order to attain this status, Mr. Goran was vetted by the association based on his extensive experience counseling international students.

Over the years, we have worked with students from all over the globe. So, we are especially sensitive to the unique educational and cultural barriers faced by our international students. IvySelect’s college consultants can provide the help you require to navigate the daunting array of educational, financial and social issues that are particular to international students.

The importance of obtaining guidance from a college counseling firm like IvySelect, which is familiar with the nuances of students applying from abroad, cannot be underestimated. You’ll benefit tremendously from having an experienced IvySelect college counselor who is expert in both working with international students and the American college admissions process, who can analyze different educational systems, unique transcripts, distinct cultural approaches regarding grading, written teacher evaluations and the availability of extracurricular activities.

IvySelect’s guidance in this specialty is unsurpassed. We’ll provide the knowledge you need to increase your comfort level as we walk you through the unique admissions process at U.S. colleges and universities. We’ll help you learn about different universities, different programs and different campus environments. Utilizing our individualized, comprehensive international college consulting program, we will be in sync with your specific needs and goals for college.

On our International Students page, you’ll find more information of interest.

Application Submission

Your IvySelect college admissions consultant works with you for months on the various pieces of your applications. We’ll make sure all components – essays, resumes and more – are readied for maximum impact. Prior to submission of the applications, we’ll do a thorough review to make certain that everything is at the top level required to make an impact.

Financial Considerations

What’s the FAFSA, CSS Profile, the EFC and the Net Price Calculator? You don’t need a dictionary and a “financial aid to English” translator to find out! IvySelect college consultants are equipped to provide you with an overview of the financial aid and college funding process in order to help you make sense of what can seem like a daunting process. We can point you to elite universities that, depending on family income, have no loans and provide grant aid. We’ll make you aware of schools where just applying prior to a “soft” deadline can place you in contention for merit aid scholarships, with no additional essays needed. For sophisticated financial college planning, we can refer you to specialists who can help ease the monetary burden associated with attending a university.

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 IvySelect 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 IvySelect 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.

Stress Reduction & Confidence Building

At the end of the day, there is no denying that stress is built into the college admissions process, particularly for high-achieving students applying to top-tier schools that have witheringly low admissions rates. However, we’re here to coach you every step of the way. We’ll help you alleviate stress by providing sure-handed, expert guidance and answering all your questions. We’ll direct you to let you know what you have to do and counsel you to meet deadlines. You’ll feel your confidence growing as we move through the process. We’ll help you forget about the urban legends and stop you from worrying about what your classmates and fellow applicants are doing. We’re in the process together, and we’ll develop a unified vision of who you are and how best to present yourself to admissions officers.

If you read through testimonials on the IvySelect website, you’ll see exactly what we mean. The writings are from students like you, who have gone through the process of applying to top-tier universities with IvySelect. You’ll take away the consistency of their comments regarding the feeling of confidence we engendered in them, due to our guidance.

With your IvySelect college admissions consultant, you’ll be in very, very good hands.

College Admissions Counseling​ Reviews

Reviews by Students and Parents

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Speak to an Admissions Advisor Today

Our college counselors are highly experienced in the world of admissions and they know what they’re doing. Michael Goran and the IvySelect team will guide you to completion on your college application, so that you can get the best admissions possible.