Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need an independent counselor?

High school counselors are very knowledgeable and have many resources at their disposal, yet many are overburdened by a large caseload of students and simply do not have the time to give all students personal attention.  Our work complements these counselors; we respect our colleagues and their experience. We do offer our own perspective on college lists, the essay and strategy.  Our clients find great value in receiving a second opinion on their essay topic and/or their list of targeted colleges. An independent counselor may also be for you if you need more time and attention from a college counselor, or if your student would benefit from one-on-one help with applications, supplements, and the common application essay. 

Here’s a testimonial on this topic:  “ I told [my friends] how helpful it was for both of our boys to hear your perspective, and how you offered suggestions and advice that neither [my partner] nor I would have considered.  We all had very good high school counselors, but it was still so helpful for my kids to talk with you.”  -Pam S.

When should I start meeting with a counselor?

Sophomore or junior year is an excellent time to meet. This allows time to develop a list of schools, establish a timeline for the process, and plan college trips. We join you where you are in the process, and we move forward together. We have also helped students who, as seniors, have yet to begin the process.

Why is The College Coaches the best choice for my son or daughter?

The College Coaches is an outstanding option because our counselors have spent years in schools (many with over 20 years of experience) working with students and families. We stay current with the latest college admission trends through our conversations with college representatives. Our knowledge of colleges is bolstered by countless campus visits. We understand and enjoy adolescents, and we are experts at navigating the college process.  Our services are offered on an hourly basis, allowing families to only pay for what they need. This model renders more flexibility than packages.  

Our test prep company is now offering College Counseling–should we use their services?

Test prep companies are experts in test prep. Most do not have experience in college counseling, teaching writing, or interacting with the college reps to keep current.  Our coaches are laser-focused on college counseling, not cross-selling unrelated services.  

What can I expect at the first meeting?

The first meeting will last about an hour and will give your coach a chance to get to know you and your son or daughter. We will use the answers to your questionnaire to prepare for the meeting, ensuring that the meeting is tailored to your personal needs. You will leave the meeting with the following: a timeline for the process, trustworthy resources, general tips for an effective college visit, recommended test prep providers, merit aid data, and information about paying for college.

How do you help students with essays?

For the primary essay, three to four sessions usually works. We do not push the students for more than an hour unless we are really close to finishing, and they are still being productive. We have started from scratch with students who have not had the time or motivation to do a draft, and this goes quickly when done correctly!  We offer essay support as a fixed fee bundle or hourly.

Don’t edit your own soul

What do you do as a coach? Get the student to write the essay… draft and self-edit until it is presentable? It is still their work, right?

Always their work…their voice….integrity of writing is in Kathleen’s blood as an English teacher and is a core ethical requirement for all coaches.  Our coaches have a unique process which Kathleen developed called a “talking draft”.  For this process, the coach brainstorms topics with the student, asks probing questions, and captures their responses in their voice as an initial draft.  We guide the student on which essay topic would serve them best based upon our many, many years of conversations with college representatives. 

Would one essay work for all of the schools?

We would start with the Common Application essay.  This essay usually works for all colleges. Supplemental essays are unique to each school

Do you edit supplements?

Yes, we can work with students on their supplements together, via Zoom, or we can edit them via Google Docs.  Supplemental essays are often overlooked by students and parents.  Yet, supplements are an extremely important way to distinguish your application from others.  Colleges want to know why you are interested in their school, and why it is a great fit for you. 

How do you set up the session/sessions? 

Sessions are on Zoom or in-person based upon your preference and the location of your coach.  If your cherub happens to have a draft of an essay, he or she can email that ahead of time, and it can be edited together. Or, if he or she has not started or is not a fan of writing, our coaches use our unique and highly effective method called “The Talking Draft” (explained above.) This writing technique gets the ideas out your cherub’s head and onto a computer screen. Then we look over the responses together and decide how to craft an essay out of them. It works like a puzzle…a bit of thought, otherwise painless, and your cherub gets a great feeling of satisfaction when it is done.  All scheduling is done via our Calendly system.

What kind of students do you have experience working with in the college process?

We enjoy working with every kind of student! We have experience guiding students with learning style differences (ADHD, dyslexia, audio processing, etc), anxiety, and ASD. All students, whether they are high-achieving or struggling academically, are welcome! Our team is LGBTQ friendly.  A partial list of the high schools we have supported is here.