• Dr. Thom

What to Expect When You Work with Us



When you hire a plumber, you mostly know what to expect. They will show up at a designated time, assess the problem and desired outcome, customize a solution to your home’s needs, perform services with highly skilled professionalism, and send you a bill. Easy-peasy.


Furthermore, most people accept the need to hire a plumber in the first place. Residential plumbing has been around since early Rome, and thus the idea of hiring a plumber to fix an issue in your home is relatively commonplace. People generally accept the fact that their home’s water works is a complex system, and that unless you possess specific kinds of expertise, fixing it yourself runs the risk of a flooded bathroom or two.


But what about hiring someone to help you with your child’s college admissions and scholarship process? Isn’t that pretty straight-forward? I mean applying to college when you went to school in the 80s and 90s wasn’t so hard right? How complicated can it be?


The answer to that is - quite complicated in fact. Terms like demonstrated interest, super-scoring, and restricted early action were not in use in previous decades. This is not even considering the significant changes in scholarships and financial aid. For example, institutional grants (the kind of financial aid most people are hoping for) have increased as a percentage of total financial aid from 47% in 2009-10, to 62% of total funding in 2019-20. That means scholarship offers are getting more complicated, and competition is getting more fierce. Trying to do this yourself as a college search DIY-er can (to use the metaphor) end up with the educational equivalent of a flooded basement (i.e., high student and parent loans, and missed opportunities).


So what can you expect when you hire an educational consultant? Here’s what it is like to work with us:


On call and on demand college coaching


We serve as your student’s college coach, just like how your student might have a sports or musical coach/mentor. We help them understand the process they will be navigating, help them prepare for what it will demand of them, and guide them to a successful outcome. Just like a good coach however, we do not step in and perform any of the actual work for them. They write the essays, they contact the colleges, they learn how to advocate for themselves. This is vital to the learning process.


We know that students have school and activities that might mean that they need assistance at odd times of the day, and we’re there for them. We don’t work “office hours” and expect students to fit into that. We’re there for questions when they need us.


A customized approach


We start working with students at the beginning of the school year, whether it is freshman, sophomore, or junior year (we’ll get to senior year a little later). The longer you work with us, the more we can help in selecting courses, helping them learn about colleges throughout the process, and generally get a head start on the application process.


We have monthly meetings with each of our families to go over a different topic and stay in touch with how things are going. As we get closer to the start of “application season” which generally begins the summer before senior year, we begin meeting more frequently and often with students. We focus on starting the college essays, getting high school resumes in order, and finalizing college option lists.


While we have a process that we often follow, we are committed to being a small (you could call it boutique if you want) group, and work diligently to customize the whole process to fit your student’s needs, whether your student is a potential student athlete, music applicant, or anything in between.


Quick launch


One of the things we do when we first start working with a family is a series of launch meetings where we cover expectations for everyone (consultant, student, and parents) and start to get a better sense of the types of colleges that fit your student. We also devote time to helping families understand college costs, financial aid, and assist them in setting a budget for college. We also introduce the family to the many different resources we provide, from standardized test prep, to our CollegeHub software that helps families research colleges and stay organized in the college search, to our twice monthly learning webinars where we teach a component of our process to help everyone feel more confident.


We’re with you until graduation


Think of our program as operating in phases:


  1. Freshman/Sophomore year: Establishing healthy habits and beginning to investigate colleges.

  2. Fall of Junior Year: Getting financially ready for college and getting an early estimate so you can prepare. Course planning.

  3. Spring of Junior year: ACT/SAT prep and ramp up for application season. Course planning.

  4. Summer between Junior and Senior year: Early application season, essay work begins.

  5. Fall of Senior year: full blown application season, let’s get to applying on the Common App and all other forms of online applications.

  6. Early spring senior year: scholarship season, completing the FAFSA, competing for scholarship and honors programs

  7. End of senior year: deciding and celebrating


And yes, you would be forgiven for thinking, “Wow, all I had to do was fill out one paper application when I applied to college.” I know. I did too. It’ll be okay. We’ll be with you the whole way.


Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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