College Planning

The college application process can be a wonderfully positive experience—a journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, for many students and families, it can become a time of anxiety, discord, and information overload. At College Matters, our aim is to demystify the process. We break it into a manageable, step-by-step course of action, tailored to each student to minimize stress and maximize success. 


Starting Right

The early high school years are the time to start thinking about the best way to shape your high school curriculum, explore careers and majors, and develop your extracurricular interests.

We focus on what makes you the unique individual you are, on discovering your passions—and how to make the most of them. Because (and this should be a big relief!) anything you do exclusively “because it will look good for college” is just resume padding—and not worth the effort!

Why start working with College Matters as an underclassman? Because we are able to develop a working relationship that can only enhance the work that you do down the road. When we explore your interests and dreams together, we can better keep our eye out for opportunities. When we flush out your academic strengths and weaknesses, we can help you make better educational choices both in and out of the classroom. And when we discover your true voice, we can make sure that the real you shines through in your applications.


Our Right Start package allows students in the ninth and tenth grades to begin working with the consultant of their choice at a reduced rate, which can be applied to a comprehensive package down the road. It’s like getting two years for free!


Starting later

The junior and senior years of high school are extremely busy: increased workload, driver's ed, standardized testing, proms. It can become overwhelming! But by breaking the college admission down into manageable tasks, students can keep their eyes on the prize... and still have some time left over to go to the beach. 

Here’s what we cover with our Comprehensive plan:



Discover your greatness

  • Assess how you learn best and what you find intellectually interesting
  • Find extracurricular activities that you will love and discuss how to get (more) involved
  • Explore careers and future majors
  • Discover what makes you different from every other college candidate

Put the pieces in place

  • Discuss high school course selection—an assessment of coursework and grades
  • Develop a standardized testing plan that plays to your strengths
  • Get the scoop on summer programs and learn which ones are worth the money
  • Research scholarships and contests that can make a real difference in managing tuition expenses (and you’ll receive our monthly email blast that highlights the best of these opportunities)
  • Guide the drafting of your extracurricular resume

The list: home in on the best academic, social and financial fit

  • Prepare a targeted, realistic list of potential schools for each student, based on what we’ve learned together about your goals, preferences, and characteristics
  • Highlight schools that offer merit money—and for which you have a chance of receiving some
  • Have in-depth discussions about the pros and cons of each school
  • Develop a college visit itinerary and strategy to maximize the value of each visit
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Refine the list—removing some schools and adding others—until it feels perfect

Apply to college

  • Develop an application plan and timeline—with all the milestones and deadlines mapped out
  • Decide to apply early action, early decision, or priority - we'll work through the pros and cons
  • Conquer the essay, and Find Your Voice—we spend as much time as it takes to brainstorm and flush out essay topics that convey your distinctive attributes. We are your sounding board as you craft an authentic personal narrative, editing and revising until we both think it’s ready
  • Present a cohesive application—we make sure that all of the pieces of the application work together, but aren't repetitive
  • Review financial aid forms 

The best part

  • Sort through your options in the spring of your senior year. It’s always tough—because each one is a great fit!

College Matters offers a variety of service packages for 11th and 12th graders, ranging from hourly sessions that focus on particular topics to a comprehensive package that addresses all the above issues for the two-year period. Please contact us for more information.


did you know?

College admissions officers can see right through resume padding.  So relax and do what you enjoy.


For Seniors

“We thought we had things under control, but we were wrong” is the common refrain that we hear when new families reach out in the summer before or during the fall of senior year. If that is you, relax… we are here for you.

Our options include the preparation of a well-developed college list, utilizing the knowledge we’ve gained by seeing hundreds of colleges, application reviews, and essay assistance. In addition, families can meet with a consultant to discuss affordability and merit options, have a mock interview, look for scholarships, etc. 

And we often hear, after a loud exhale: “Wow, we feel so much better!”


did you know?

70% of all college students change their major once.  40% change their major twice.