Your College Coach
Lisa Woolf
Independent College Counselor
(415) 987-8081
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should we hire an independent college counselor?
A. The process of applying for admission to college can be extremely stressful and
time consuming.  No parent wants the last few years their student is living at
home full time to be filled with pressure and resentment.  By bringing a third
party into the mix a good deal of the stress and need to continually “check in”
can be eliminated.  This does not remove you completely from your student’s
experience of applying to college, but it allows you to take a step back from
some of the time consuming elements and enjoy more of the excitement and

Q. How early should this process start?
A. Every student is different.  Some families find that a few meetings during the
earlier years of high school are helpful in setting a direction toward success. 
In these cases, guidance in the areas of which courses to take, which if any
sports are of interest, the importance of extra curricular activities and where
a part time job or volunteer work fits into the plan can be valuable. 
However, some students are fairly self directed at a young age or have a
concrete idea of where their interests lie during the first few years of high
school and can wait until later to work with a counselor. 

Q. Our student has a counselor at their school, what can an independent
counselor offer in addition?
A. Counselors within local high schools are excellent and should also be utilized by
your student.  However, they often if not always have very large groups of
students to work with and simply cannot offer the amount of time and
attention that a private counselor can.

Q. Why do you suggest holding the majority of your meetings with the student
A. Ultimately, in order for your student to be fully invested in the process of
applying to college, he or she needs to begin to take ownership of each step. 
We have found that success is more often achieved when they truly take on
responsibility for meeting deadlines, making interim decisions, and facing
some difficult decisions.  Although the family is obviously a vital part of the
whole college application experience, in order for the private counselor to
successfully monitor progress and help navigate all of the twists and turns, a
one-on-one relationship between counselor and student has proven to work

Q. How do you assist in the admissions process?
A. We help in many areas throughout the process of college admissions, including
academic counseling, assessment of grades and test scores and
recommendations for standardized testing and preparation courses if needed. 
By combining information provided by students and their families with well
researched knowledge of specific colleges and universities, we assist students
in creating a list of targeted institutions.  In addition we will monitor the
meeting of deadlines and organizational preparedness.  As the application
process progresses, we will provide editorial support with each application
essay and guidance for admission interview preparedness.

Q. How do you help with the admissions essay?
A. We can work with your student to help them choose a topic that works well
for each of their applications.  While we will not edit the finished product to
the point where your student’s voice is lost, we will help to make their essay
a successful representation to present with their applications, and we will see
to it that the essay is completed on time.

Q. How does my child choose a school?
A. Early in the process we ask that your student fill out an intake form, so that we
have an initial impression of what kind of person they are and where they feel
they may be the most fulfilled.  This also helps them to crystallize some of
their own thoughts about college.  As we continue to work together, and your
student becomes more involved in this process, we will gain a deeper
understanding of their strengths and preferences, which will narrow down
their ultimate application choices.  As they move through their junior year in
high school, campus visits and increased contact with individual schools will
help to solidify their decision.

Q. How do you charge for your services?
A. We provide several ways to work with your student and have taken into
consideration many factors in determining our schedule of rates.  Generally
speaking, some families like to initiate contact earlier in the high school years
to begin some practical planning.  Therefore we offer the opportunity to
schedule several meetings at an hourly rate during this time as needed.  In
addition, some families feel the only support they need for their college-
bound student is development and editing of the college essays, and this is a
stand alone option if you so choose.  Finally, we offer two inclusive packages:
one which runs continually from the second semester of junior year through
June of senior year; and one which runs August through June of senior year.
Copyright Lisa Woolf 2016