Independent College Counselor for ambitious student

Our older son just got into several of his top state schools.  We are still waiting to hear from the UC's.  Our youngest is another story. He's very ambitious and will most likely be applying to schools on the East coast as well as to Stanford and UChicago.  We are looking for someone really special to help him narrow his list and help him write his college essays.  He's a top student but is not sure what direction he wants to take in terms of a major. He is also a very nervous/perfectionistic writer, takes hours just to write a sentence.  Can anyone recommend someone to work with our son on the college process.  We also need to know whether his ACT/SAT's are strong enough or whether he needs to take them again.  Recommendations welcome!  Thank you!Submitted anonymously on Jan 3, 2018

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Elaine Lotus Chan would be an excellent choice to help narrow his list and work on his applications.  She has worked with all types of students.  She can tell you which schools you might want to apply to based on your son's ACT/SAT scores along with other factors. I know she helps with the essays as well.  Tina Boyer is a fantastic writing coach.  She works with kids on their essays and personal statements.  She was amazing and really helped my son take ownership!  James Eno Tutorials down on Milvia helped my son decide whether to focus on the SAT or the ACT and then helped him improve his score by a ton!  Good luck.  We have just finished the process and now wait to hear back! 

I highly recommend Jamie Keller, of LearnWithMe for help with college essays.  My son, a senior, isn't a strong or confident writer.  Thus he kept putting off his college essays, not knowing what to write about, or how to present himself to stand out at the competitive UCs and private liberal arts colleges he was applying to.  After just a session with Jamie, I was struck by the energy and focus he had found for the first time in his attempts at essay writing, and which he applied to incorporating her suggestions into his writing process. And when I subsequently read his UC and Common Application essay drafts, they were night and day above his initial version.  Impressively, Jamie didn't have him use her words or narrative, but somehow found a way to calm and motivate him, to pull HIS voice and HIS story out and put on paper in a compelling, personal and convincing way.  My son not only enjoyed working with Jamie, but the experience boosted his confidence about the broader college application process, and in his ability to show his best self.  Jamie was very efficient and flexible working around a busy senior's schedule, and was able to successfully counsel over Skype which was key as we live on the Peninsula and couldn't get over to Berkeley for in-person counseling.