Previous PageNext Page

Step-by-Step Guide to College Admissions

I help each client family view the college process as project management, in which the student's future is the project. First, we establish parameters for cost, selectivity, programs and majors, and individual priorities. The counselor brings an informed perspective and fresh ideas to mediate parent-student conflicts or prevent them from ever developing. The student completes various self-assessments, a process that concludes with setting goals to enhance established skills and develop others. Matching these goals with educational programs is the focus of college search.

“As parents we found the process to be daunting, but Tish was incredibly helpful in simplifying it.”


The process begins with a conversation, usually in the presence of parents, that explores the student's attitudes, achievements, and aspirations. The counselor will anaylze the student's transcript and test scores, and introduce informal assessments that define parameters of college search.


The process should include different phases for research and allow plenty of time to compile a portfolio of written statements and other elements that can be used to respond to requirements of each application.

The counseling process will reveal answers to some big questions:

Where should I apply?

One of the counselor's most important functions is suggesting appropriate colleges for the student to research. Later she’ll help narrow the list to about ten best-fit colleges where the student will file applications. The applicant's stats should fall comfortably in the mid-50% range of admitted students at most colleges on the final list and include at least two where the student can be confident of gaining admission. Using guided exercises, the student will write out personal criteria and systematically evaluate each school on list, considering academic, financial, social, and career goals.

What are my chances of admission?

The admitted student profile is a quick statistical portrait reflecting GPA and course rigor, class ranking and SAT scores. The counselor will lead the family in utilizing effective tools assembled on this website. CollegeData hosts student bloggers who share their outcomes and insights on the application process. Reviewing the archives of these applicant files is a good way to measure yourself against the competition. Scattergrams, found on CollegeData and elsewhere, also compare individuals to the applicant pool.

CollegeConsult Santa Barbara