Traveling the college admissions process with our kids can be confusing, frustrating, expensive, overwhelming, yep, all of that. We often turn to our friends for advice and counsel, but they can only help so much. Most have a limited range of experience, their entire sample set is their two or three kids, and they cannot begin to know all of the options open to our teens. And as so many aspects of college admissions change each year, with the best will in the world, our friends are soon out of date.
But there are experts, people who know the vast array of options open to our kids, the best test taking strategies and how we are going to pay of all of this, and many of them share their invaluable insights (without charge) on their own websites.
We have gathered some of the best of the best and if you have a teen applying to college this year, or in the next couple of years, we suggest to subscribe to their free newsletters and explore and bookmark their pages. They will keep you up to date and you will find the answers to many of your questions.
In no particular order here are some of the best of the best.
Top College Admissions Experts
Jeff Levy, Big J Educational Consulting, is an expert on all aspects of financing a college education. His site provides the definitive guide to which schools offer the best Merit and Financial Aid and what the admissions rate looks like for almost any school you can name in the early and regular rounds.
Ethan Sawyer is The College Essay Guy. He has a national reputation and site chock full of invaluable resources. The best way to delve into Sawyer’s considerable trove of resources is to subscribe to his email, so that he will alert your student to free webinars and new posts and podcasts as they are released. Having a copy of Ethan’s book, College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay, will also be a valuable resource once your teen begins to work on their essays. He shared his amazing packages of resources with the members of G&F Parents: College Admissions and Affordability and it is available to you too.
Susan Dabbar, CEO of AdmissionSmarts, is an expert in helping students navigate the highly selective college landscape and working with STEM students. She is strategic as she guides students on building compelling narratives to help them stand out – from internships, to extracurriculars to how to position themselves in their actual applications. Subscribe to Susan’s blog feed, to find out more about admissions strategies and STEM, and follow her Pinterest Board on Scholarships, one of the best places on the internet to search for outside scholarships.
Jed Applerouth, is the founder and CEO of Applerouth Tutoring, a national test preparation service, and our parents tell us their kids have been extremely pleased with the classes they have taken through his online classes. We suggest you start with their expert advice on test taking and test strategies and then sign up for the newsletter to learn about this fast changing area of college admissions.
Lisa Bleich, College Bound Mentor, is the author of Surviving the College Application Process: Case Studies to Help You Find Your Unique Angle for Success and works with students on all aspects of the college process.
Belinda Wilkerson, Steps 2 The Future has more than 30 years of experience working with high school students and works with students in all aspects of college admissions and career planning. Follow Belinda on Instagram and her Facebook book page where Belinda runs regular interactive Facebook Lives and tons of information on scholarships, access and affordability.
Lisa and Bob Carlton, founders of College Matchpoint, assembled a team of admissions specialists and essay writing coaches. Located in Austin, Texas, they help families with all aspects of admissions and have produced the definitive guide to University of Texas, Austin admissions. Their monthly newsletter is chock full of valuable information; get on their mailing list to stay up to date.
Kiersten Murphy, of Murphy College Consultants, is located in Washington State. Kiersten is a college expert with exceptional knowledge in college list building and understanding how to find the best fit for your student. Kiersten has a useful resource page on her website to find links to everything from financial aid resources to college search links.
Nancy Griesemer is the founder of College Explorations and has written extensively on urgent topics. She is a nationally known journalist reporting on all areas of college admissions. Her reporting is well researched and used by families and college admissions. Subscribe to her blog or follow her timely articles on LinkedIn.
Ibrahim Firat, CEO of Firat Educational Solutions, provides information and resources on academic coaching, test prep, school placement and college counseling. For regular updates and access to timely information, sign up for his blog.
Another trove of valuable information is Lynn O’Shaughnessy’s The College Solution site. We love that she has information on community colleges, liberal arts colleges as well as the well-known selective universities and colleges. Her section on admissions is a great place to start.
If you are looking to find your way around campuses and wondering where to stay, what to eat and see, you cannot do better than to check in with Bonnie Klein and Liora Yalof of DayTripper University. These two college moms have scoured college towns and their advice is worth consulting before venturing on campus with your teen.
If you want to see what college looks like from the unvarnished viewpoint of a current student, look no further than CampusReel.
The other great source of college admissions information is the colleges themselves. Many of the admissions departments have EXCEPTIONAL blogs that are relevant even if you are not applying to that campus. These are the people who actually admit kids and parents can learn so much from them. These are some of our favorites.