Why would we need to hire a College Counselor? 
My first thought: to get to College, what is important is, the GPA, the academic rigorous classes taken, the SAT/ACT scores and those extra-curricular activities that were part of our teenager’s life over the last 3 years. With all that, preparing and submitting college applications, writing a few essays couldn’t be such a big deal. 
My second thought: I learned a bit more about the process and quickly felt a little overwhelmed. In particular with the thought that I needed to help my son to prepare his best application(s) possible and that it would bring on unavoidable stress and tensions. Life was difficult enough without it and it might just be too much and bring negativity, anger, frustration to our relationship, right before he was going to leave the home. It would be some of his last memories of interacting intensively with us, his parents. 
My third thought: Ok then, what can I do to make this process easier, more positive for all of us? And that’s when we met Eileen.
I will jump to my last thought:
Best decision ever

Here is why: College applications are complicated, they are not all the same, they have different deadlines, requirements. Even completing on-line forms is not straight forward: for example, college classes taken during High School are not always reported and accounted for the same way. And the more you read, the more it seems to be “mumbo jumbo” and you wonder, “what if I am doing it incorrectly?". And…there are those college essays. My son had been proud to show his independence early on (and it was a good thing), but he was not ready or mature enough to ask back for help or willing to let us review, edit his essays or have an opinion about them. Somehow, Eileen was very good at communicating and connecting with him. He trusted her and valued her input. Writing essays was not his forte, nor did he like doing it, but he wanted them to represent who he was, his achievements and all his potential. He is ambitious and sees himself with a bright future. But it is hard to for him add the building blocks to get there. Eileen was able to help him put his ideas together so that they gave a truthful idea of who he is as a student and as a person. And sometimes, it was done in 50 words, sometimes, 500 words. She did not write the essays for him. These were HIS essays, HIS words, HIS ideas. But she guided him through the analysis process of what to write, how to write it, the grammatical construction, the logical development of the idea, the introduction and conclusion. All skills that will continue to be important for his future, but here, were just focused on all his applications. It takes a lot of patience and talent to be able to work with the teenage mind, to make it cooperate and work constructively. Eileen has the experience and the passion for it. It was clear very early on that she loves what she does. And she is good at it. I am grateful we met her. It was a perfect match for working with my son. She does not promise results. There is one thing for sure though, his applications were the best they could have been, based on his academics, all his achievements and his limitations. He did not have a perfect track record or CV. But today, we are the proud parents of a motivated and enthusiastic student in Computer Science at Trinity College in Ireland. He is ready for this new chapter in his life and advancing towards his future. Hiring Eileen was the best decision we made to help him get there and worth every penny.

Catherine, a parent from Santa Barbara

"Eileen has guided us through the college application process with great skill, enthusiasm and energy. She helped our daughter Sophie choose direction, select appropriate schools as well as with the application process itself. She was very good at maximizing the chances that our daughter would be admitted to the chosen schools. She knows what triggers colleges in an application and is very sharp and thorough in preparing and reviewing the required materials. She’s never focused on the limitations but always sees the possibilities, aiming high but being realistic.

Being immigrants from The Netherlands we were not familiar with the college application process at all. As parents with full-time demanding jobs we weren’t sure how to get it done properly and in time. Eileen turned out to be the perfect match for us. She is a driving force and because of her broad knowledge base she is always able to open up new angles and provide new insights that would help our daughter make the right choices and that would help us understand the process and what we could do to help.

Needless to say that with the expert help of Eileen our daughter’s application process was successful. She is starting with Biological Science at VA Tech in the fall of 2018 after finishing her gap year."

Els & Koos, parents from Oakton, VA

 

"When our son met with Eileen she pushed him further than we ever could, or than he would have pushed himself. She takes a holistic approach to applying to colleges: getting to know our son, together they created a storyline, which helps college admissions readers know him (think elevator pitch). After sorting through which colleges make sense for him comes execution and she organized a timeline and followed up with him weekly. As parents we could encourage from the sidelines without having to also be the coach, and this made for a much more peaceful home.

Eileen had helped two of our family friends (both got into and went to USC), and personally interacts with admissions officers around the country. But once we saw how much the process would grow him in confidence and direction, we saw benefit beyond producing specific college acceptance and went for it."

Dan, a parent from Goleta, CA

 

"Eileen has a special gift as a college consultant bringing out the best in the student and us, as parents.

Our son started out during the first meeting unclear about what he wanted to do in college and where he would best fit for his undergraduate studies. Eileen used a very effective socratic method as well as other tools that helped him reflect upon who he was and where he wanted to go. By the end he knew himself better and was able to articulate his aspirations effectively on the college applications.

Both my husband and I were very involved in the process, and we found Eileen to be a wonderful partner in the process of working with our family on applications. In particular she is an excellent editor. She asked useful questions that helped our son figure out what was missing in the essays. By the end we all felt that the essays and applications reflected his unique personality and qualifications.

Our family asked a lot of questions about specific colleges and Eileen either knew the answers or quickly found answers to all our questions as they arose. She navigates the black box of college admissions processes with agility. That was a huge value and we felt that she provided an invaluable service well worth the fee.

Eileen had a good strategic sense, great instincts and useful guidance throughout the many-facetted admissions process. II was a fun to work with Eileen because of her can-do energy. This was particularly important for our son when he felt overwhelmed at times with the magnitude of the work required to apply to top schools. She was always a positive force, which we very much appreciated as a family, and with her help he really accomplished amazingly beautiful applications to a full range of colleges and universities."

Cathie, a parent from Santa Barbara, CA

 

“We can not say enough about Eileen and how grateful we are for all of the guidance, support and expertise she has provided our son and our family during this very stressful college application process. Eileen is a true professional and it is very obvious that she loves what she does, and does it very well.  We are on the east coast, and Eileen is on the West coast.  When we first started this process we weren’t sure how this would work.  It has been seamless!  Through Skyping and telephone calls, it feels like she is sitting right there with us!  Eileen has such contagious energy, and always has a smile on her face.  It feels like you are talking to a good friend! Looking back, we can not imagine going through this process with anyone else!!  We feel very lucky! Thank you, Eileen!"

Ellen & Greg, parents from Wellesley, MA

 

"The reason we hired you was that the other consultants we spoke with either told us our daughter was magnificent or they told us that her scores were not good enough for the colleges she wanted to attend. Your approach was to present the facts but also a path to try make her dreams happen, if she was willing to do the work. And, you followed through by really pushing her on standardized testing, giving her resources, setting expectations, and insisting that she make improvements to her essays. You are by nature an immensely positive person and having you for our daughter to talk with was invaluable. Somehow, you were able to make a personal connection. We so appreciate your work with our daughter. Thank you."

Parents of a Santa Barbara High School student, Santa Barbara, CA

"I want to thank you so much for all of your help on Connor's application. He submitted it last night:) I think it is an excellent application and I think you helped so much in getting him focused and keeping him on track. I feel very confident that all of the essays are far, far better than they would have been without your assistance.”

 Nancy, a parent from Vienna, VA

 

"Richard and I wanted to thank you very much for guiding our daughter through the college application process. Since neither he nor I have grown up in the American system of higher education we were really not able to help Franziska at all in this process and we are extremely grateful that she had you as a competent advisor."

                                                                                    Corneila, a parent from Santa Barbara

"Eileen is amazing! She knows the college game inside and out. Working with our son, she helped him map out his entire four years of high school in advance. He has understood, from the very beginning of high school, what he needs to achieve to get into the college of his choice. He has internalized it, and now as he chooses courses each year, he thinks strategically about how they fit into the plan he and Eileen developed. She explained early on that community service is a component of a good college-application resume, so he pushed forward with renewed energy to complete a project for the local middle school and, in the process, earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Eileen is articulate, quick-witted, very accomplished personally, and the mother of two exceptionally successful young men who were admitted to world-class universities. Best of all, she speaks respectfully with young people, never speaking down to them, but helping them to see that they are capable of much more than what they might think."

Scott and Geneé, parents from Irvine, CA

 

"Two are the aspects behind our decision to chose a college consultant. The first was to have an outsider to play the role of the task master to keep up with the crazy pace of college admission hoops: SAT,ACT, research schools, visit schools, pick a major, write essays, assemble resumes, line up letters of reference, etc. The second was the industry insider role to educate both parents and students in their quest to sift through the inundation of data associated with college admissions -- scholarships, financial aid, early decision, early action, large schools, big schools, majors, minors, and sports. Applying to college today is really a new and more complex game than in the past. Eileen's style is to work directly with the student, but keep the parents in the loop. Her enthusiasm and spirit was contagious enough to keep our daughter on track. It gets crazy when the applications are due, and it was great to have her in our corner."

Valentina and Paul, parents from Santa Barbara, CA

 

"Our family is very grateful for all your expertise, guidance and most of all for helping our son in the daunting process of college application. With your professional help we were able to accomplish all the steps of the Common App, essays, activities list, etc. We enjoyed very much talking to you and getting to know THINK YES!"

Liliana, parent from Johns Creek, GA

"Eileen has worked with our students in finding appropriate colleges to apply to. She went above and beyond in order to help them with successful applications. The students liked her so much and thought she was really helpful. She has a big heart with great passion. She always put students' interest first and goes the extra mile to help them -- we really appreciate it. Students receive warm and friendly help from her at any time. She is a great person and our long-term business partner and life-long friend. It's our honor to work with her again."

Hiway Consulting (an agency that assists Chinese nationals attend high school in the US)

"Eileen guided my twin sons during the college application process and the entire family had a great experience. As one of my sons put it “the college application process was not as stressful as everyone described it”. Eileen tailored and guided each twin according to their unique needs and interests. It was wonderful as a parent not having to worry about application deadlines, essays and pushing teenagers. Eileen was organized and methodic during the process, while still being supportive and encouraging the boys to do their best. Even though I was not involved in the details of the application process, thanks to Eileen’s communications I knew the status of the process."

Diana, a parent from Springfield, VA