As your child prepares for college, you’ll hear advice from every corner: Which classes are best, which standardized tests to take, which extracurricular activities to join... Everyone’s an expert.  Wouldn’t it be comforting to have a guide on this confusing journey?

We can be that guide. When it comes to college counseling, you have many options. Here are three important issues to consider before deciding who should support you and your child through the college search and application process. (Spoiler alert: You should work with us!)

Availability and Time Commitment

Your child may attend a top high school with dedicated college counselors, but how much time will they spend together? We love school counselors. They are knowledgeable and are our colleagues and friends. But they will be the first to admit that time can be tight as they try to accommodate hundreds of students per grade level. School counselors are generally available during school hours. That’s a good start, but a handful of 30-minute appointments junior and senior year may not be enough for everyone. At NSCC, we spend hours with our students; we are always a text, phone call or email away. Ask us anything, any time. As parents ourselves, we know the importance of keeping families in the loop, maintaining a flexible schedule and being accessible 24/7.

Up to the Minute Expertise

Even among college consultants, experience and expertise varies. One thing that sets us apart is our commitment to professional development, networking and higher education. We both received Certificates of College Counseling with distinction from UCLA, in a program that included rigorous coursework, collaborative projects and extensive hands-on training. We are also active members of several professional organizations, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Independent Educational Consultants Association and the Higher Education Consultants Association.

Our involvement with NACAC, IECA and HECA keeps us up to date on current research and trends and provides ample opportunity to visit schools and network with college admissions officers and counselors. We visit dozens of colleges and universities each year, meet with deans and regional admissions officers, and collaborate with local colleagues to keep a pulse on geographic trends. We do all of this to make sure we can help our students find the schools that are right for them.

Multi-year Planning

Ideally, we start working with students near the end of 8th grade. That may sound early, but it’s the optimal time to start planting the seeds of college preparation. Our goal is not to pound the idea of college into your child’s head, and we certainly stay away from the “this will be good for your college application” vibe, but the truth is, we want our students to start seeing how high school will help inform and prepare them for college.

By 9th and 10th grade, we’re ready to get more specific. Most colleges look for students who demonstrate determination, dedication and self-discipline. We work with our 9th and 10th graders to help them identify activities and projects that fuel their passions and inspire them to achieve. We also create a standardized testing timeline and guide our students to take an appropriate college prep curriculum that demonstrates their ability to succeed in college level coursework.

During 11th grade, we create an individualized college list that incorporates the characteristics that are most important to our students and their families (class size, geographic location, major areas of study, etc.) As the year goes on, the list evolves as students learn about different schools and refine the qualities that matter to them.

We practically hold our seniors’ hands as they complete their applications – through essay coaching, interview prep, organizing letters of recommendation, checking that test scores are sent to the right schools, and ensuring that they complete every application accurately, completely and in a way that shows how qualified and prepared they are.

Let’s Work Together to Help Your Child Succeed

NSCC is about so much more than just helping kids get into college (although that is important!) It’s about helping your son or daughter become more responsible, independent and productive so they can succeed, wherever life takes them. Contact us to set up an appointment, and find out how we can work together to help your child soar.