College Admissions Secrets

Acceptance rates to the nation’s top universities are plunging—to 8, 7, even 6%. Yet, four out of five of my students are accepted to their dream school each year. What’s their secret? They work with me to avoid these 10 fatal mistakes:


  1. Pursuing average extracurriculars: Show colleges you don’t just take advantage of opportunities—you create them. I help students stand out from the competition by pursuing extracurriculars that their peers never even think to join or create (while staying authentic to who the student truly is).

  2. Wasting your summer: Don’t tan by the pool—apply to summer programs and internships, volunteer, and learn. I help students find prestigious internships, conduct research at top universities, and take stand-out (and free!) online courses, obtaining experience that top colleges love to see.

  3. Picking competitive majors: Universities have higher standards for applicants to certain majors. I use secret data regarding top universities’ most and least popular majors to help my students edge out their competition (while staying true to their academic interests and studying exactly what they wish to study in college).

  4. Writing generic “Why Us?” essays: Don’t write one generic essay to fit multiple universities; instead, handcraft “Why Us?” essays just for the school in question.

  5. Taking “easy” APs: Universities have a hierarchy of AP classes, preferring Calculus BC, Physics, English Literature, and Biology over courses like Psychology, Environmental Science, or an AP in your native language.

  6. Receiving generic letters of recommendation: Tell your recommenders how their class transformed your learning, how you contributed to class dynamics, and how you left a legacy at your high school. With that information, they’ll paint a 3D picture of the value you offer universities.

  7. Writing about what you do and not who you are: Your essay shouldn’t regurgitate your activities and achievements—it should be about how you think, feel, or view the world differently as a result of your experiences.

  8. Not preparing for interviews: With insight into top universities’ criteria for evaluating interviewees, I prep my students to be confident, articulate, and natural in their interviews. They answer difficult questions with ease, embodying exactly the qualities these universities seek.

  9. Rushing an application: This process takes time. Students should start writing their essays no later than August of their senior year. And the earlier that students start thinking about college, the better, for they can choose better classes, deepen their extracurricular involvement in activities unique from their peers, and get an edge on other applicants.

  10. Doing one or two things wrong: Often, top universities deny students who would have been accepted if they did a few things differently, such as reword an activities list. I know how admissions officers think because I’ve worked for two of the nation’s top universities.

As a former Berkeley Admissions Reader, a former UChicago Admissions Reader, and a college admissions consultant who has helped hundreds of students get accepted to their dream universities, I have an insider’s view into what to do and not do to get into the nation’s most selective universities.


Free 30-Minute Consult


My packages provide comprehensive guidance throughout the college application process. From the earliest brainstorming session to receiving your letters of acceptance, I'll guide you every step of the way. My packages provide the best value of all my offerings for students and families seeking a complete (very hands-on) solution.


Up to 15 Applications

College Selection Guidance

Many 1-on-1 Meetings

Unlimited Essay Revisions

Personalized Application Advice

Comprehensive Application Review


Free Access to Admissions Guides

Availability on Weekends & Holidays

Help Even Up To the Deadline

Priority Response to Emails

Interview Preparation

Health & Wellness Checkins


Senior Package

HeadStart package

For seniors, this package provides all the tools you need to identify reach, target, and safety schools; brainstorm and write essays; and apply using insider strategies to gain the greatest chance of acceptance to your dream universities. I also help reduce stress during an otherwise very stressful process. 

For students looking to get a head start, I advise students on choosing classes, aligning their extracurriculars with their interests, which standardized tests to take, and how to land a great summer internship. Starting early gives students the best chance of acceptance.  


$10,000 each year

All four years

$7,000 savings

For more information or to purchase a package, contact

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1 Hour Consulting Services