College counselor rec, willing to work with a 9th grader

Hi, We are looking for recommendations for a private college counselor to work with our 9th grade child who attends an Oakland public high school and has a strong interest in Drama - ideally checking in once or twice per year on classes, grades, interests and then additionally more specific college suggestions to look at / research by 11th, and finally the addition of essay / application support by 12th grade. We are in that category of don't make enough to afford private high school, but make too much for aid when they graduate go on to college, but our child is a pretty good student and could use just some guidance, suggestions, support - and likely will listen to it better from someone who is an expert in this area as opposed to us. We want to support his interest in Drama, but also want him to use his strong academic skills to have a back up major for work with decent pay and benefits to help support himself while pursuing his passion. Any good recommendations publicly or privately are appreciated. Thanks .

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My recommendation is that you and then your child read "The Price You Pay for College" by Ron Lieber. Completely eye opening about how to position yourself for college financial situations, get the best offer, etc.

My worry about getting a college counselor now would be making your child too stressed about college as a 9th grader. But if you have a very chill/motivated kid, maybe it works. But the book is really great, so no matter what, read it first!

Hi. I wanted to demystify the "we make too much to qualify for aid" in private school but but enough to afford it. We thought the same thing-- but it actually doesnt work all on disposible income to qualify. We have 2 kids in competitive private schools since preschool and both receive a pretty substantial financial aid. One is in a HS with tuition over 50k but 75% was covered. I wouldny discount it until you apply. If you want to discuss our experience (weve done sss, nais etc so were familair with the platforms) you can DM me.

One of the things we really like about the Private schools -- HS is the college advisory but we have also been doing this type of planning since our kids werr in elementary school. Theres a lot of informatiin out there if you know where to look and happy to discusd that as well.

We felt entirely fortunate for the opportunity to work with Maya Kobashigawa ( for our HS class of 2023 daughter, who was accepted into 95% of the colleges on her list (some with generous merit aid), including the UC's - Cal, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Davis. We absolutely believe that in the competitive UC environment Maya made all the difference when it came to getting into UC Berkeley.

Beyond being a genuinely caring and kind person, Maya REALLY knows what she is talking about! She skillfully guided our daughter through the application process, had great conversations with her about her academic and artistic goals, and worked with her to help her craft an application that stood out to admissions departments and garnered top tier (and affordable!) acceptances.

I wish we had known about Maya when our daughter was in 9th grade, because she took so much of the stress out of the process! Kudos to you for looking ahead!

We believe so strongly in Maya's ability to make a difference that our younger son is already working with her, and we are 100% confident that she will be able to guide him to reach his goals as well. He already feels positive, and unlike some of his peers, not pressured about college, knowing he has someone to help guide him.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Maya to anyone who is serious about balanced, thoughtful and ultimately successful assistance for their student's college application journey. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have through pm.

I highly recommend Erica Hernandez erica.hernandez [at]  She's worked with both my teenagers and she's great.