Our Standard Program is an all-inclusive suite of services, covering every aspect of the college preparation, search, and admissions process from start to finish. We’ll work together with the goal of completing applications and all supplementary materials, regardless of deadline, by mid-November of your senior year. After the admissions cycle has ended, our relationship will continue at least through decision day, May 1st of senior year.

We take on new students at any point during high school, but an ideal time to start is during sophomore or junior year.  Meetings happen online or in-person at our office in Skokie, Illinois.  Ready to get started?  Click here to schedule a new student consultation!

Karl Lenss, M.Ed.

Director of College Counseling
NACAC logo

Andra Sipols, M.Ed.

Essay Coach



We’ll examine your preferences – likes, dislikes, needs and wants – to help define the ideal college environment for you. You’ll also work with your counselor to prioritize your preferences, setting the foundation for the college search and building your best-fit college list.

You’ll learn how to use our favorite college search resources to start building your “big college list” of schools that align with your best-fit criteria. You’ll also learn how to maximize the college visit experience and how to demonstrate interest early and often throughout your high school years.

With the help of our expert teachers, you’ll learn how to master every test topic using our custom curriculum that blends dozens of resources, including content from the most recent ACT and SAT exams. Every lesson will be tailored specifically for you – from start to finish! In addition to exam content, we also teach and reinforce exam strategies that will help you perform your best on the day of the test.

You’ll gain a strong understanding of what colleges look for in an applicant and how colleges make admissions decisions. You’ll also gain knowledge about the current admissions landscape and learn how recent trends might affect the way you apply to college.

In this session you’ll create a plan to add more depth and dimension to your extracurriculars, making them more meaningful to your student profile. You’ll also develop future academic and career goals, create a strategy to market yourself and your skills, and brainstorm different ways to differentiate your student profile from other applicants.

Forget the personality and interest “tests” you’ve previously taken in school. YouScience™ is different because it uses proven science and algorithms to encourage self-discovery and confidence in your college and career choices. This activity will dig deep into your skills and motivations to match you with college majors and career paths that might fit you best.

You’ll learn how to craft a skills-based student resume for use on your college and scholarship applications. This activity will also lay the foundation for a professional resume that you’ll be able to use during future internship and job interviews.

You’ll learn how to clean up your online footprint and avoid social media pitfalls that might put your chances of admission at risk. You’ll also work on creating a professional online presence and use your resume to create a solid LinkedIn™ profile.

Work with your counselor to explore summer enrichment options and make a concrete plan for your upcoming summer break. Brainstorm, plan, and execute a capstone project that combines your academic, extracurricular, and community service interests to tie your whole candidacy together.

You’ll develop a list of must-share things to deliver in admissions, internship and job interviews, on college essays, and in conversations about yourself. This exercise will give you a deeper understanding of how to make your unique personal qualities and experiences shine in an organized way throughout the college admissions process.

In anticipation for writing college essays and participating in college interviews, use your “greatest hits” to craft an effective elevator pitch that concisely explains who you are and what you’re all about!  This elevator pitch may be recorded and delivered via InitialView™ to admissions committees as a supplement to your applications.  

Your counselor will share with you a recommended list of at least ten schools that best align with your academic and social-emotional Key Criteria. You’ll also discuss the progress you’ve made on your own college list and make plans for additional research and/or college visits if necessary.

Your counselor will teach you how to hone relationships with teachers, mentors, and other influential people in your life to ensure that they become solid personal references. You’ll also learn how to properly solicit and receive quality letters of recommendation from your references well ahead of any application deadlines.

Lay a foundation for your personal statement and supplement essays by reviewing common prompts and brainstorming potential topics.  Use your Big College List to begin to outline and understand the volume of essays you may need to write to complete all of your applications.  

*Add-on program.  Not included in the Standard Program.


You’ll work with your counselor to write a creative, compelling, and well-polished personal statement essay that will be used for the Common Application and other application platforms. You’ll frequently receive critical, unbiased feedback from our coaches, and as a result, you’ll be confident that your personal statement is creative, compelling, and professionally vetted. Most students schedule 5-7 personal statement essay writing/editing sessions with their counselor and/or essay coach.

You’ll work with your counselor to write creative, compelling, and well-polished supplement essays that are tailored for each school you apply to. You’ll frequently receive critical, unbiased feedback from our coaches, and as a result, you’ll be confident that your supplement essays are creative, compelling, and professionally vetted. Most students schedule 5-10 supplement essay writing/editing sessions with their counselor and/or essay coach.

Work with your counselor to finalize your list of schools. Open application portals and make preparations to complete applications ahead of deadlines!


Add finishing touches and review final comments on your personal statement and supplement essays.  Ideally essays should be (mostly) complete by the end of September.

We’ll look at all of the different college application plans offered by schools on your list and use recent college admissions data to create an admissions timeline that maximizes your chances of admission. You’ll also review individual school policies on submitting ACT/SAT scores and create a plan to submit them ahead of deadlines.

Fall of senior year, you’ll work on completing your actual college applications. Upon request, your application can be reviewed by your counselor prior to submission. For an additional fee, your application can be reviewed by three former admissions directors from “top-25” institutions (ask your counselor for more information about this add-on service).

Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal knowing you have completed your college applications! All Standard Program students should be on pace to complete all applications and supplementary materials by mid-November of senior year.