It seemed like a daunting if not an impossible task. We knew our son was an overachiever and was special in every way, but how could he distinguish himself from so many other spectacular applicants to elite colleges, from those who not only have perfect (or close to perfect) GPAs and SAT scores, but also are national fencing champions, published authors or diagnosticians of their own diseases? Even if we did our best to help make him shine among those “super” kids, the two best decisions we made was acknowledging he could use professional guidance early on in high school, and more importantly turning to Michele for guidance. Without doubt, Michele made our son stand out in the eyes of college admissions officers. Her expertise and insight was invaluable in structuring the right course load in high school, figuring out which extracurricular activities to stress and which ones to downplay, maximizing recommendations from high school college counselors, and making his application essays impactful – all this from the admissions officers’ perspective (which surprisingly can be different from the parents’) while taking into account our son’s strengths and interests. He ended up being accepted at eleven schools, including two Ivies and three top Mid-Western schools, and the Honors programs at four top tier schools, and received a full tuition scholarship at a top nationally ranked university, despite being in one of the worst possible demographic and in the most competitive college admission year probably in history. Did our son work hard? Absolutely – Michele’s no nonsense approach expects no less. But he now has options aplenty, clearly not possible without Michele’s expertise and knowledge – an invaluable return on our investment. Thank you Michele and Seymour.
– Parents of student accepted to University of Pennsylvania/Cornell/Washington University
When I first met Michele in the middle of ninth grade, I was skeptical that it really was the right time to hire her. College seemed very far off, and the echoes of teachers and other school officials urging me not to “worry about college” ran through my head. Nevertheless, Michele’s enthusiasm, expertise and dedication blew my parents and me away. I am the top student in my grade, and at first I was unsure how Michele could really help increase my chances of admission at the top universities. From the very beginning however, Michele’s presence made all the difference in my academic path through high school. Michele is the only college counselor I know of who offers UNLIMITED access to herself. Consequently, Michele weighed in on every class choice, tutor selection, test date selection, college visit organization, and summer plan. Communication with Michele could not be easier – I can’t think of a time when I haven’t gotten a response from her in less than a half hour. Imagine having complete access to someone with ALL the right answers to every college admissions question!
Michele’s work with her students in the 9-11th grades is really just as important as actual college application work during the 12th grade. Michele is able to constantly see the bigger picture and realize where every decision will fit into the larger application process, insight it is difficult to have as a student or parent entrenched in the stressful everyday life of high school.
I cannot emphasize enough how invaluable both Michele and her partner Seymour were in putting together my actual applications. Michele and Seymour push their students to complete applications before September, freeing us to focus on crucial senior fall grades. While others are stressing about starting applications in September, I knew I had a perfectly crafted, thoroughly edited application already done. Michele and Seymour expand the standard “common application” into a package that maxes out every oppurtunity to showcase a student’s accomplishments.
Both Michele and Seymour will not stop or give the final ok to an essay draft until it is absolutely perfect, according to their very demanding standards. Some of my essays went through over 10 drafts, as I alternated between sending them to Michele and Seymour, each providing unique yet equally insightful comments. I know of no school college counselor (the ones at my school are responsible for over 30 students) who will go through 10 drafts of up to 6 or 7 pieces of writing.
As a student now choosing between 2 of the 3 top Ivies, I am 100% confident in saying Michele’s way of crafting an application truly works. Her specificity, attention to detail, and thoroughness are unparalleled, and she WILL succeed in getting bright, capable students into the best schools. If you are or have as a child a top student at a prestigious public or private high school, do not think that Michele’s expertise is superfluous to your college process. As Michele would say, there are thousands of valedictorians in this country, and certainly not all of them will be accepted to the best schools. Michele will provide that extra added edge by angling your accomplishments specifically to a college admissions committee.
I cannot express how much I will miss both Michele and Seymour academically and personally next year. I know they have not only been tremendously responsible for giving me the amazing oppurtunity to attend a top Ivy, but also have provided personal support through an extremely stressful process. Thank you Michele and Seymour!
– Accepted EA to Yale, regular to Princeton
I just wanted to thank you again and catch you up on Jane. She is a senior at Penn, finishing with majors in Arabic and Islamic studies, and writing her honors thesis this final semester. She applied to grad school and I am absolutely thrilled to report to you that she was accepted by both Oxford and Harvard. …We want to thank you again – we know that if we hadn’t hired you to help us with the undergraduate college admission process that her chances of being admitted to such wonderful universities for grad school would have been nearly impossible. During these past 4 years, Penn has been such a great fit for Jane that we have often mentioned how the fees we paid to you were paying off for her. I know that is more true now than ever before.
– Parent of Penn admit
Before Michele, I was simply the “good student” who plugged her way through high school. I had a number of extracurricular activities, but they were all commonplace. I felt incredibly lost about the college process. Having Michele helped me enormously. She gave me examples of some activities that held more weight in the college process and also evaluated the ones I had. Soon, I shifted my activities without shifting my interests; in fact, I began enjoying my activities even more. Having Seymour, who worked with Michele, also helped. I had an English teacher one year that was incredibly difficult; Seymour actually helped me prepare for my test, not giving me answers but teaching me how to find them myself. Michele also gave me the idea for taking the ACT instead of the SAT, which was completely uncommon at my high school. The test suited me far better, and my test score reflected that fact. I feel I reached my potential by having Michele by my side. And she certainly was – an email was immediately responded to the same day and a phone call was soon returned. Whenever I had an idea for an activity, such as how to fundraise for a cause, Michele gave me ideas such as how to write a press release and fundraiser ideas. Finally, for the college application process itself, Michele and Seymour were a great help. While my friends were still scrambling several weeks before the deadline, I had already been accepted to my early action school. They have a fantastic policy of starting applications during the summer and finishing them in the fall, and they walk you through every step of the way. However, my voice is conserved in the entire process. This is true of everything they do. Never once have they told me not to do a certain activity or not write about something for the college application. They never return an essay filled with so many changes that my initial writing is hard to distinguish. Thanks to Michele, I feel I have reached my potential throughout high school. I cannot rave about her enough!
– Student, Stanford Early Admission
While college prep is a tough and unnerving experience for any family, Michele guided us step-by-step, pointing out finest of the details, keeping on top of deadlines and working with individual needs of our daughter” Our daughter said, “whenever I had any doubt or question, I knew I would get a prompt and meaningful response from Michele”. Now that our daughter has acceptance in Early Action from Ivy League of her choice, we realize we owe it in large part to Michele’s guidance”
– Parent of Yale Early Admission
I started to read books about the US college application process five years ago, I ran across Michele’s “A is for Admission”. I can honestly say it’s the most thorough and sincere top-tier college book you can ever find. I bought her other books like “Middle School Years” (very useful for my second child now) and “Ace your college application”. You can tell Michele tells the truth as it is while offering you ways to reach your goal. We decide to get our daughter a private college counselor after her freshman year in high school. One, she is a top performer at school; two, she attends a very competitive public school. I heard story after story of top kids with superb grades and achievements who fell short of their dream schools. After talking to her school counselor, we realized the limitation public school provides and we didn’t want to regret in three years. We talked to several places, and Michele’s passion for education, knowledge and experience really impressed all of us. After three years after our daughter was accepted into a top college early, we feel fortunate we made the right decision three years ago.
I cannot measure Michele’s input to my daughter’s success. I know the whole college application process would drive me insane if we didn’t have Michele. My daughter has very good credentials and she put in lots of efforts into essays writing. But it’s Michele and Seymour who edited her writings countless times and encouraged her to stay on course. When Michele says her essay is ready, you know from your heart that you have a good essay. Michele tells you the truth about your college choices and she helps you pick the most appropriate one.
I am also very impressed by Michele’s professionalism. She is always available for you. I am amazed by her energy. She directed our daughter’s activities according to her interest and encouraged her to reach “above and beyond” everyday. As a result, our daughter really exceeded our expectations and learned tremendous amount about leadership, initiatives and hard work. Also through the process, she realizes about her potentials and feels confident about herself. Now we see she reaches her dream school, nothing can describe our happiness.
We just asked Michele to also help our son within next several years. I know many parents try to offer advice and suggestions to their children when they reach junior high or high school. But many activities don’t turn into good profiles. Having Michele to direct you what to do and what not to do is priceless. I am so glad Michele becomes such a positive force in our daughter’s life and now our son’s.
– Parent of Stanford admit
Michele has tremendous expertise and experience with the entire process of preparing to apply and then applying to college. Michele thought through course selection, extra-curricular activities, work experiences and other special experiences with our daughter and us for four years before our daughter applied to top schools. We made the final decisions with our daughter, but Michele was a valuable sounding board and thought partner. She also provided direct coaching and motivational support to our daughter during the tough times. She helped our daughter understand the depth of the competition. Finally, Michele and Seymour provided a disciplined process during the summer before senior year that helped our daughter to actually get the bulk of the application work done. This proved invaluable in the fall of our daughter’s senior year once the time pressures of multiple A.P. courses and extra-curricular leadership ramped up. Michele also provided very thoughtful feedback on our daughter’s college application essays. When our daughter finally sent in her applications, we felt that she had made her best possible showing, and when she finally heard back from colleges, we were all thrilled with the results.
– Parent of Yale Early Admission
We have had you in our lives for the last 4 years and we are now coming to the end of a process that would have been impossible to navigate without your help. Our son is attending a great school where he would not have gotten in without your guidance and assistance. Your weekly calls providing nurturing and (sometimes firm) guidance made this a very smooth and easy transition for the family.
When others were fretting over SAT’s our son had tested early and was done. Where others were only just finalizing school choices we were finishing applications and just waiting for the go ahead to mail them. Our son had three early action acceptances and was all done with his college process prior to the New Year. While other families were searching for answers all thru the process we were completing things that others had not even thought of. All his summers were productive, all his preparation was early and all your resources have been blue chip.
Thanks Michele our son would not be going where he is today were it not for you.
– Parent of Fordham admit
Michele was an excellent source of support and direction throughout my college application process. From day one freshmen year, she encouraged me to start excelling “above and beyond” in my classes by doing a little bit extra on every assignment to show my teachers how interested I was in the subject. She also informed me about SAT Subject Tests very early on, urging me to take them at optimal times after I had completed certain courses to get the highest possible score. I had an edge over my other classmates, who waited until much later to start taking SATs. In terms of SAT prep, I immediately saw an improvement in my scores beyond what I had expected as a result of Michele’s recommendations.
Michele was also a huge help in planning my summers so that I was using the time most effectively. Her guide to college summer programs is an enormous asset, and helped me to apply for and attend some great programs. She does all the research for you, carefully compiling a list of the most prestigious programs in the country, which you can then flip through to choose what looks most interesting. She also gave me other ideas about how to stand out in my application, including participating in jobs, research, internships, volunteer opportunities, and even starting a business pursuit of my own.
But the most helpful part of Michele’s mentoring was definitely the actual application-writing process. She and Seymour were absolutely critical to the successful composition of my application essays. Even when I finally got my rough drafts to them at odd hours of the day or night, Michele and Seymour were always efficient about proof-reading and sending me suggestions for the next draft; it was like having my English teacher with me 24/7 to help make my writing more clear and telling. With the craziness of senior year at its peak at the time, I cannot stress how helpful it was to be able to expect a response from them within hours, sometimes minutes, of my emails. They also were very careful about never changing the voice, style, or idea being conveyed in my writing. That ensured that the application I was sending was purely a product of my thought, not at all someone else’s words fed into my writing.
Overall, working with Michele was an incredible decision. I am so thankful to her and Seymour for all of their help. Having someone just a phone call or an email away at all times to answer any kind of question—whether it was a small, last-minute detail that no one else had taken the time to explain to me, or a rough draft of a Common App essay—was such a comforting experience, and it certainly lessened the burden of college application anxiety. She gives students that direction they need to use their talents, interests, and passions to show college admissions’ offices how dedicated they are. I would recommend Michele to anyone who is looking for the best quality of college counseling. (EA Accept to Yale University)
– Student, Yale Early Admission
There are three words to describe Michele–”the right results”. We couldn’t be happier with the advice and counsel provided by Michele to help our daughter find the college with the best fit for her. Michele was laser focused on assisting our daughter in identifying a university which would enable her to flourish as a student and be happy–without regard to rankings or magazine driven popularity. While we were actively involved with our daughter’s college search (which, btw, is a fundamental tenet of the “Hernandez doctrine”), we’re afraid to guess where we would have ended up without her. Bottom line, Michele is an expert who we would enthusiastically recommend to any family.
– Parents of Bryn Mawr admit
I just wanted to say that I did get an acceptance email from Harvard offering me a spot in the class of 2014. Thank you so much for all of your priceless guidance and tutelage along the way. I could never have done it without you. (accepted to Harvard and Yale)