Seeking Calming College Counselor for Nervous Parents & Teen

Our son is very nervous about applying to college and so are we. Neither my husband nor I went to university in the states.  We only have a vague idea of what my son will need to do to get into college.  He's a strong student but sometimes struggles with his writing.  Most likely he will major in the STEM field.  We are looking for recommendations for a college counselor who can point us in the right direction and calm our nerves. We need help with college choices, but probably mostly with the essays he will need to write for the applications.  Thank you for your help!

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Call Terry McClure, he is a very skilled, calm, patient and experienced counselor. I highly recommend him: 510.3847383. 

Mom of 2 now in college boys

Tami Uecker (tamiuecker [at] helped our kids navigate the application process; one was accepted to USCB and the other at a small private liberal arts college, with a scholarship. Tami works with students over a two year period, as juniors and seniors, and helps with deciding which colleges to apply to, writing essays, how to handle interviews, etc. If your student wants to attend a Cal State University or a UC, the process is very straightforward and he/she won't need much help. If they are applying to private colleges as well, it can get complicated -- and unfortunately it is important to apply to quite a few colleges. Good luck!

I want to applaud you for realizing that you need help here, and for being willing to pay for an expert to guide you. My parents were not from the US, and had never gone to college (just not common in their country, although they were both well educated and in white collar jobs), and just thought they could do it themselves. Wrong. We were all very unrealistic about the opportunities available and clueless about how to seek financial aid. Both my brother and I suffered needlessly and had very bumpy paths into and through college. I look back and ask myself, what were they thinking? Help was available. Adult life got off to an rough start that could so easily have been avoided by seeking advice well in advance. Good for you. 

Hi there Nervous Parents & Teen!!

I can highly highly recommend Tami Uecker (tami [at] She was a respectful, calming professional who was inordinately helpful to my son in his college quest. He also had a few "remarkably useful" (his words) sessions with one of the writing tutors that she recommended he connect with. Everyone's situation is different, but personally I hate the ramped up pressures that seem to be the norm in the college application process these days. Remind yourselves and your son that there is no perfect choice, that transferring out after a year or two from where he starts out is not a failure, but can be an absolute gain (my older son ended up being accepted at many of the schools he was rejected as a freshman). Tami is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, professional, helpful, kind - has Been There, Done That with her own children - and most of all will reassure and help diffuse much of the negativity surrounding the whole process. Good Luck, Take a Deep Breath and Hang in there!!!

Highly recommend Wendy Morrison, wendy [at] .  She really took the time to understand my daughter and what types of college environments she would thrive in. My daughter is also interested in a STEM career but wanted a friendly place for undergraduate. She is very knowledgeable about the entire process and about all of the types of colleges in the US.  She has even visited many of them herself. She does not provide essay services but will refer you to a great organization for that. And, she inspired my daughter to get straight As in her junior year (something I was not able to do for her freshman or sophomore years!). Thanks to Wendy, my daughter was accepted into her first-choice school and I had almost zero stress during the application season.  (This was my younger daughter; with my older daughter I didn't think to hire a counselor and the stress was horrific for everyone.)

Hello. I recommend Bill and Lana Walley of College Tuition Assistance. Bill and Lana focus on finding schools that are the right fit for your child based on area of academic interest and personal preferences. My daughter worked with them and it made the college application process much less stressful. They have a team who will work with your student to help them craft their essays. Here is the link to their website
Good luck!

Hi Ana,

I highly recommend Jamie Keller. My son worked with Jamie Keller when he was applying to colleges. As Jamie put it, and she is so right! he came to her with a term paper, and came out with at thoughtful, honest and beautifully written essay. Writing was often a grueling process for him and he had difficulty working with people on it. But Jamie's way with him was terrific: relaxed, very positive and supportive and yet she helped him to see that he needed to make major changes to bring out his personality in his essays. He's very happy at Caltech now. 

Here is Jamie's website:

Good luck!

Hi, Stress during the college admission application process is quite normal. We were under similar situation. We took help from Percy and Livia at admissiontix [at] Both of them advised my son professionally to meet his needs for admission. We were very happy with their services. I would highly recommend them. Thanks. SCS

Hi there,

Both my middle and eldest son have worked with the same writing coach, Cole Filipek.  My eldest was quite stressed during the college application process and Cole helped ease a lot of pressure.  He was available, communicative, and he helped my oldest produce quite remarkable essays.  He also works with my middle child whenever he has an essay due for his Core classes.  

As a writing coach and college counselor, I could not recommend someone more highly!

His email and website are [email protected] and

Good luck!


I would highly recommend Hays & Phillips:  I know them from the private school they used to work at. Paul Hays is the epitome of calm, experienced and knowledgeable. He was a wonderful guide through the college application process. I’d feel very comfortable recommending them.

 Hays and Phillips College Consulting sounds like a perfect match for your son.  

Paul Hays and Wendy Phillips are a perfect team.  Before opening up his own consulting business, Paul worked as a college counselor at an East Bay private high school.  He has an in-depth knowledge of the full range of colleges and universities across the world.  Wendy taught English at the same school and has an incredible ability to get kids energized about writing college essays that are meaningful to them and that convey their distinctive personalities.  But even more importantly, Wendy and Paul both are amazing communicators.  They love working with high school students and know exactly how to make them feel listened to and cared for.  They also have a great senses of humor, which is so important in helping to defuse the anxiety and tension (for parents, too!).  Our family couldn't have survived the process without Paul and Wendy.  They kept us all on track with the gauntlet of different test deadlines and application choices.  And were willing to talk on the phone and help work through important decisions that led to a very happy outcome for our daughter's college choices.  Give them a look!  Here's there website link:

We had a pretty remarkable experience with Lesley Quinn ( She doesn't do the whole college admission coaching process, she just works with essays, but we were amazed at the writing she got out of our college-bound son - they were definitely his words, but she helped him craft them up to professional level.  She also kept him on schedule (an impressive feat) and kept him enthusiastic about the writing (which is hands-down astonishing, because he is a science geek). As someone else noted, she is pricey, but, if you can afford it, it's hard to imagine someone better. Our second kid is coming up (gulp) and we know for sure we'll work with her.

Jamie Keller (jamiekeller1 [at], 510-524-8697) helped both of our sons with their college essays and everybody was pleased with the results (one got into UCLA and the other into Harvard). She is patient and reassuring, helping each young person find his or her own voice and emphasizing the importance of telling a story through the essay process. We highly recommend her.