Families frequently ask why they should consider an independent admissions counselor. Some of my clients feel that they require more time than the admissions counselors in their high schools can devote. Other families feel that an objective perspective from someone who is not employed by the school can be beneficial. Many of my families agree that an independent counselor can be of use by helping the parents and students agree on the best strategy for choosing and applying to college or boarding school. Evoking consensus within the family so that the process of applying is smooth is also the job of the independent counselor. There are three main ways in which I help families with the transition process: 1. In the selection phase, I meet with the student and the parents. I ask questions that help me identify which colleges are appropriate academic and social-emotional matches. I then present the family with a list of schools and explain why they would be good choices. Families learn about the admissions process and begin to clarify and understand the student's expectations and priorities. 2. In the application phase, I guide students through recommendations, test scores, transcripts and the applications themselves with particular emphasis on essays. It is my intention to guide and empower students to take control of the process so that they understand how the applications work and are able to successfully complete the applications by themselves. 3. After the schools make their decisions, in the acceptance phase, I continue to meet with families to discuss the best school to attend, first-year course selection, and the best use of the college years. Over the past 27 years, my students have varied tremendously. Some are admitted to extremely competitive colleges, some have special learning needs, many have extraordinary talents and strengths. Some attend large public universities; some matriculate at smaller, private liberal arts colleges. Some study business, some study psychology or biology or engineering or a host of other subjects. Some go to art colleges, some to schools with programs for learning support. If I were to name one quality that many of my students share, it would be the willingness to learn about colleges that are appropriate matches.