Seeking college admissions counselor...for the parent

I'm contemplating hiring a college admissions counselor to have conversations with me, not (yet) with my son.  He'll be a 9th grader this fall and I don't want to stress/burden him with the whole college deal just yet.  However, I do want to get our ducks in a row from the start.  I want to talk to an admissions counselor who will give me excellent advice on how to make strategic choices throughout the high school years (not just starting junior year).  Has anyone out there ever done this--hired a counselor to talk to you, not to your kid?  If so, who do you recommend?

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Hi AlamedaMama,

I spoke with Wendy Morrison to get oriented when our son was in 11th grade and things really start to move around the college process. I found our conversation(s) to be very helpful. She was available for hourly consultation which I hadn't found with other college counselors. I should let you know in advance that her orientation is about supporting kids in doing what they are passionate about and is authentic to a student and not manufacture a CV to strategically plan what will get them into college much less the Ivies. That said, I found her very helpful in explaining the pre-college journey, timing, current standardized testing expectations, etc. Best of luck to you.

 wendy [at]
(510) 384-5962

Hello AlamedaMama,

Having my second child going through the college admittance process currently as a senior, I can say it's a great idea to engage a counselor early on for strategy and advice, particularly with regard to high school course selections related to your child's potential college aspirations.  Agree that you don't want to stress your kid out, but knowledge about the process early on will enable you to better help guide him along the way.  Then when it is time for him to engage with the counselor around end of sophomore or in junior year, you will already have a good relationship with him/her to build on.   I can highly recommend Kindra Sampson for college counseling.  She was extremely helpful to us for high school course planning, college selection and understanding early on how to navigate the process.  She does a great job of helping the student come to decisions about colleges that are a good fit and ensure that the the student has a good balance of schools that are safety, target and reach.  I learned after my first child applied to colleges that it's so important that they set reasonable expectations but of course they can have dream schools in the mix too.  Kindra also does a great job of helping seniors complete their college applications and give advice on college essays; she will work with them to generate ideas, then assist in the editing process resulting in strong essays.  Some counselors prefer not to help with essays, so we found it very nice to find someone who does both. In particular, we learned this year that essays are more important than ever, since many schools are test blind and only have grades, rigor of courses and extracurriculars to make admission decisions.  With all her acceptances now in, we are thrilled that our daughter is choosing between UC Berkeley and UC Davis.  We believe that her excellent essays along with high school course planning had a lot to do with it, and of course consistently working hard through grades 9-11.    Good luck!

kindra_sampson [at] 

mobile:  510-502-2695

We hired Barbara Harris as a college advisor and were very happy with her flexible approach.  We didn't start working with her until just before my kid's senior year, but she gave me great advice at that point.  Later, she helped with our kid's essays. I would recommend her as a good resource for whatever you're looking for to do with making a good college choice, and increasing your chances of ultimately getting accepted, which is as you point out partially a function of choices made throughout high school.

Contact: harriscollegeadvising [at]