Endorsements from Michele’s past clients include:
Michele Hernandez is a joy to work with professionally and personally. Admittedly, I initially experienced some reservation about the long distance relationship with respect to my son. However, Michele was always pleasantly available, immeasurably resourceful, and incredibly prompt in response. Actually, the time change with respect to the West coast benefits any hardworking Northeastern student, who often prefers to conference after 10 or 11 p.m. because of the busy high school schedule and the late night studying. At any hour Michele exhibits boundless energy, patience, and affability.
Michele is masterful in her field. With respect to college applications, I liken her approach to the difference between decorating your home alone, versus having a great interior decorator assist you. Michele always allows the student to guide the process and make the application a reflection of himself. However, the finished product is amazingly professional, appealing, and representative of all of the student’s talents and strengths.
Personally, Michele quickly inculcates respect in the student for her gift with language and writing and her tremendous knowledge of so many academic areas. My son, as did I, thoroughly trusted, admired, and liked her. It was a wonderful and productive relationship from start to finish. I am satisfied knowing that my son deservedly received the best guidance and direction with respect to the college odyssey, which Michele amazingly was able to make a pleasant process.
– Son admitted early to University of Pennsylvania, class of 2008
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the exceptional counseling you provided for my son in his campaign for admission to Dartmouth. Because of your academic insight and experience, the carefully calculated strategy you developed allowed us to prepare for the process well ahead of schedule and position D’s numerous attributes in the most compelling voice. Your attention to detail, professional performance and results orientation are obviously what sets you apart from the balance of college consultants. I always knew that D. was an exceptional candidate and qualified for an elite academic institution but with your help, we became more informed and much better prepared to confidently manage what could have been a very stressful process. As you know we have a Dartmouth family legacy and consider your effort a major contribution in keeping the dream alive. Hernandez College Consulting should be there first and only call. Michele, thanks again for all your help. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
– Son accepted early to Dartmouth, class of 2008
In the highly competitive, almost Darwinist, world of college admissions, Michele helps bring method to the madness. Her process, encouragement, and direction, were essential to bringing out the best of our son in his application. This contributed significantly to his outstanding results: an acceptance rate over 85% to schools that reject over 85% of the students who apply. At the end of the process, our son was left with the tough decision of figuring out which of the top schools was the best fit for him. He settled for Princeton”
– Parents of Princeton, class of 2008
I MOST HIGHLY recommend the professional services of Michele Hernandez!
My son is a motivated student who has had, since the 7th grade, an aspiration to attend an Ivy League school. I felt the best chance of him being accepted into an Ivy was to seek the advise of a counselor who was knowledgeable with the application process so that his paperwork would present him in the most favorable light possible. I began my search for a local advisor on the internet. My google search came up with Michele and incorrectly indicated that she lived in Westchester County, New York (where I live). I decided to call her (her web site only listed her impressive credentials and a toll free telephone number). At the time, I did not know that although she grew up in Westchester and her parents still live there, she lived out of state. When I had my initial conversation with Michele, I was so impressed that it did not matter that she lived miles away. I hung up from our initial 15 minute conversation in a total sweat because in that short span of time, I was given 2 hours worth of information and guidance (I really didn’t think anyone could talk and think faster than my wife). I went home and told my son and wife that I had located an advisor, but when I indicated the cost, they both summarily rejected her as a candidate. I told them that Michele was going to be in the area the following week (she travels to the New York area several times a year to meet all her clients personally) and that they should at least meet her. After much discussion, I was told that they would reluctantly meet with Michele, but there was no way they would consider hiring Michele due to her cost (“we can find someone local for less than 1/3 the cost!”).
Well, after meeting Michele at our house for 1 1/2 hours (and getting 4 hours worth of advice), my wife and son were so impressed that they decided that Michele was the one for us. They both indicated that, indeed, she would certainly be worth the cost.
Thus, the journey began. One of the first things my son did was to consult with Michele on a literature assignment. She was familiar with the reading and was able to assist him with a paper for his AP English class thanks to her decade of teaching experience in English. After only a month of working with my son, she had already helped him improve his writing style, a skill that would prove indispensable in the coming months when writing college essays.
Michele was also instrumental in helping my son choose which schools (both Ivy League and others) he wanted to apply to. As a graduate of Dartmouth College, Michele encouraged my son to look into her Alma Mater. He was sufficiently impressed with it after reading their literature. A month later, we visited the school and we both instantly felt this was the school for him. He applied under the Early Decision program and, in December, was accepted!!!
Michele put in endless hours with our son on all aspects of his application and testing process. After his early admission application had been submitted, it would have been easy for Michele to sit back and wait for the result to arrive. But instead, Michele pushed forward and worked with him on all of his other applications (we burned them in the fire place after he received his early acceptance letter). The fact that she was 3,000 miles away had no effect on the quality and quantity of efforts put forth by Michele. Both I and my son talked to Michele on a weekly basis and never felt that we couldn’t call her up over the slightest question. When we received his acceptance, Michele was the first person I called. If you are looking for an advisor who is at the top of his/her game, I suggest you look no further than Michele Hernandez.
– Early decision, Dartmouth 2008
Michele Hernandez provided outstanding guidance in every phase of the college search process for our son. From college selection, interview preparation, essay writing, advice and help with testing, summer activity recommendations, to the final applications, the stress was gone, and Scott was able to realize his potential and was admitted to his first choice school. Michele’s insights were invaluable to our whole family and we look forward to working with her again with our high school freshman. Do not attempt the college process without Michele’s help!
– Son admitted early decision to class of 2008 at Middlebury
“We “stumbled” onto Michele relatively late in the “game.” To be candid, I was surfing the web one day in July (the summer before our daughter applied to college) and found the Princeton Review Parent’s Forum relating to college admission. As I recall, there was a discussion about Michele’s book and it caught my attention, especially since we had found her book to be the most useful discussion on the subject of college admissions by far. As you can imagine, some of the posters were praising her book while others commented less favorably. Surprisingly, someone claiming to be Michele, herself, responded as well and I wrote that person to express my support (I had been impressed with her book). She graciously replied to my e-mail and advised me that she also did some private, fee-based counseling. Needless to say, the possibility of benefiting from her personal insight and guidance as my daughter applied to college intrigued me. But, to be honest with you, there was a part of me that rebelled against this, as well.
My wife and I discussed the subject over the next couple of days and we reached out to our daughter to solicit her opinion. (She was participating in a research program at a university for the summer, some 1500 miles away, and was not due to return home until August.) Obviously, we had mixed emotions. The expense was significant and we have always prided ourselves on playing on a “level playing field.” Our daughter’s views were mixed, as well. She was determined to gain admission to her schools of choice on her own and questioned why we believed that she might need help. Regardless, the more we talked about this together, the more convinced all of us became that Michele could and would provide the kind of insight and assistance that would help assure that our daughter’s application would best represent all of her strengths while minimizing any weaknesses that she may have had. So, we “bit the bullet” and agreed to give it a try.
At first, our contact with Michele was strictly by phone. Michele graciously answered all of my daughter’s questions, as well as our own. Our daughter had not yet received any of her college applications, but we peppered Michele with questions regarding her proposed senior year curriculum as well as for advice for our daughter’s upcoming college interviews. We decided that it might be beneficial for all if a more personal “connection” could be accomplished and my daughter and I flew down to Florida to meet with Michele personally, as well. This personal connection, while not absolutely necessary, did help to forge a bond between Michele and our daughter and, I suspect, made it easier for both to work together over the subsequent months. If you have the luxury of meeting with her, I strongly urge you to do so.
Allow me to share with you some of the more important ways that Michele helped:
1. She advised my daughter to drop French 4 in her senior year. Our daughter is a wonderful student but is “tone deaf.” This fact, coupled with the poor quality of language teachers in our local school district (which has a stellar reputation nationally, but not for language instruction), undermined our daughter’s performance in French. Michele advised her to drop French 4 and to take another AP course instead. As a result, our daughter benefited from yet another AP course on her transcript and a stellar report card that was submitted to her early decision school in November. Candidly, I doubt that we would have had the courage to take this course of action without Michele’s advice.
2. Prior to her first on-campus interview, Michele asked our daughter to prepare an activities chart. Many of my daughter’s friends had planned on preparing resumes, but Michele strongly advised against doing so, saying that the activity chart, if properly prepared, would prove to be more appreciated by admissions officers who interviewed our daughter. Michele reviewed and critiqued the chart (faxes were “flying” between our home and hers) and the end result not only served to present our daughter’s activities in a very organized and impressive fashion, but also made the task of completing college applications that much easier a month later because all of the applications required a similar chart to be completed. To top it all off, EVERY admissions officer who interviewed our daughter made a point of “gushing” over her activities chart during or after the interview. (Granted, our daughter’s activities and leadership roles were quite extensive, but Michele helped her organize a presentation that made her look even more impressive.)
3. Michele helped our daughter develop a “theme” for her application. She reviewed her coursework to date, her summer academic experiences, etc., and helped our daughter focus her application on her consistent pattern of conducting independent research in the field that had always interested her.
4. Michele and our daughter brainstormed for several hours (especially while on our visit to Florida) about potential essay topics. This process helped motivate her to write essays in August, prior to the start of school (something that I strongly encourage your child to do). After our visit, our daughter constantly forwarded drafts of essays to Michele and solicited her opinion and comments. Michele was careful not to write the essays for our daughter, knowing that the essays needed to be our daughter’s work and appreciating the fact that the essays needed to be written in our daughter’s “voice.” But, her input was very valuable as it helped our daughter to “tighten” her thoughts and assured that her essays were complete and supported the theme that she wanted to present in the application itself. Moreover, after completing her “early decision” application, Michele helped my daughter complete essays for the other schools that she was planning on applying to if her application for admission was deferred or denied.
Please keep in mind that a counselor can only counsel in the college application process. As a parent of a successful Ivy League applicant, you probably know that at least as well as I do. Ultimately, your child’s application will reflect the hard work and effort that he/she put into his/her high school education and in-school and out-of-school activities. His/her recommendations will come from those who have grown to know him/her over the past several years. His/her choice of schools to which (s)he will apply should be a function of finding a good “fit” based upon homework that your entire family will have performed through college visits, interviews, surfing the web, review of admissions criteria, recommendations from present and former students, etc. What Michele will offer you is a helping hand throughout this process and the comfort of knowing that you did whatever you could do to assure that your child had the best chance of gaining admission that you, as parents, could provide.
In the end, I justified our hiring of Michele as an extension of choosing a school district or arranging for extra help if and when one of my children needed it in a particular course. I admitted to myself that the “playing field” is never truly “level.” Some applicants benefit from being born into the “right” family, others from attending the “right” school, etc. In our daughter’s case, she benefited from her parents’ willingness to spend additional funds to obtain professional guidance in the application process. I can tell you that, while I will never know if it made “the” difference, my wife and I do not regret making the decision to hire Michele.”