Services Offered & Suggestions for Getting Started:
Get Into High Schools:
Test prep & high school hunt counseling is generally aimed at 7th and 8th graders. I especially like starting in 7th grade (usually beginning or middle of the year) to keep the process at an even more relaxed pace. However, I can certainly work with 8th graders in the first semester in order to raise test scores as well as advise on and enhance the application process. And I will be there in the spring to help with the high school selection process.
While I am based in the Bay Area and am a member of the Bay Area Secondary School Counselors, the hunt for high schools may include not only local day schools but also local, national, and even international boarding school opportunities. Having lived in 5 countries and traveled to over 60, I have a wide network of connections and suggestions not limited to "the usual" for those that want to go further afield. In addition, I have a particular expertise in French schools (especially Parisian) and in placing expats in France and French students abroad.
While many of the more elite, famous schools are certainly wonderful and appropriate for high-achieving students, I don't believe in pushing big-name schools for the sake of the name: The most important thing is finding the right fit for the student and family.
Get Into Colleges/University:
Test prep & college hunt counseling is best started as early as 9th grade (for long-term strategy, and prep for elite schools and those with special requirements) and 10th or 11th grade in general (12th grade fall possible, but that's leaving it till the last minute!). Not only do I prepare students for testing -- PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, AP tests, and more -- but I also counsel on finding right-fit colleges and work closely to ensure the best possible college application and interview.
Another important service for many people is counseling starting in 9th grade (or 8th, after high school selection) about class selection, extracurricular activities, internships, and summer plans. I want to be clear that I do not believe in artificially padding the resumes of high school students and making them look like "good on paper." This is about cultivating the child's real strengths and interests in a way that will not only be meaningful to the student but also have the nice side-benefit of clearly demonstrating that child's unique personality and interests once it's time to apply for colleges. Working with me throughout high school years, I am able to keep students on track academically. This can be especially important for specialty schools, unusual subjects of study, and overseas universities.
As with the high school hunt described above, I emphasize finding a great fit over simply reaching for big names. It's not the name but rather the size, location, specific program specialties, and campus life that determine the best match.
Get Into Middle Schools, Elementary Schools, and pre K/ K programs:
This is best approached in the half-year or year leading up to the applications (so, starting around August/September -- or even earlier in the spring -- for the upcoming December/January application cycle). I focus on Bay Area schools and either Bay Area clientele or those moving in to the area. In addition, I have a deep expertise in finding and placing children in Parisian schools for ex-pats.
Get Into Applications -- all school levels, scholarships, students & parents:
Essay coaching and editing, to help you craft an essay in your own voice, in which your personality and accomplishments shine.
Interview coaching and practice, so you will be prepared, comfortable, and able to show off your best self under pressure. This is where years of interviewing students for Princeton admission and theatrical experience really come in handy!
Organization, scheduling, and keeping you on track: You WILL have fully edited, final-draft essays ready to go and all materials in by deadlines.
Get Into Gap Years, Homeschooling, and Family Sabbaticals:
Services include counseling to prepare for these sorts of unusual circumstances and also working within the framework of regular high school/ college admissions to use them to your best advantage. I have experience in creating curriculum, teaching, and finding resources for homeschooled children and gap years, with deep experience working with gifted children. I also have a knack for helping clients spin their unusual experiences with gap years, homeschooling (and worldschooling), and family sabbaticals into relevant, impressive narratives for admissions.