About 2020-08-02T20:34:23+00:00

Let’s Open More Doors for Your High Schooler

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Sally Smith is an Independent Educational Consultant and a member of the Western Association for College Admission Counseling. She has a B.A. with Honors in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a College Counseling Certificate from the University of California, San Diego.

My Story

I took the first step in my journey to becoming an Independent Educational Consultant when my son was a high school freshman. That’s when I began attending a parent-run program that prepared students to apply for outside scholarships.

When the program leaders stepped down, I stepped in to fill the void. Having gone through the college admission and scholarship application processes with an only child, I knew too much not to share my information with others. I exponentially expanded the program, incorporating dozens of topics of interest to students and parents. The program’s reach has also grown, and today I facilitate monthly Pathways to Success meetings for families at seven Sacramento-area high schools.

While Pathways to Success is immensely rewarding, I find that working one-on-one with families is even more fulfilling. My spirit soars when I help a student hone in on a college list that matches their personality and interests. My heart opens when I invite a student to dig deeper and discover the story that will make their essay stand out. I’m on the edge of my seat as the student’s admission decisions come rolling in. And I get a little teary-eyed as I watch the student prepare to transition to the next exciting chapter of their life.

My College Coaching Philosophy

My approach to college admissions counseling can be summed up in my favorite saying: “The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline and an action plan.” My role is to create the timelines and action plans that enable students to fulfill their dreams.
Sometimes a student is crystal clear in knowing their destination. Sometimes their path meanders over the course of their high school career. Other times, they can’t even envision their next step. My role is to open doors and keep them open, so that a student has appealing choices that will enable them to leap into the next chapter of their lives.
While I am comfortable working solely with students, I am also happy to partner with parents who wish to be highly involved throughout their student’s journey. I know that parents often have concerns about the process of preparing for and applying to college, and I willingly share my knowledge and experience.
Above all, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to take part in each student’s amazing journey. It’s thrilling to witness them step through their chosen door and embrace their college “home.”

How I Work

There are “Best Colleges” books big enough to be doorstops. There are college marketing materials that cause mailboxes to burst at the seams. And there are DIY guides that over-promise and under-deliver. Families are understandably overwhelmed by a fire hose of information about competing colleges.

The truth is, finding great college matches for a student takes time, effort, and expertise. It is a partnership that involves understanding the student’s personality and the family’s ambition. It requires deep knowledge of the ever-more-competitive admissions process. It necessitates mastering everything from planning test schedules to evaluating financial aid packages. Above all, it entails accountability to a timeline and an action plan.

In working with students, I am their navigator and accountability partner. Meetings are personalized, goal-oriented, and meaningful. Work assigned outside of meetings is purposeful. Communication and expectations are clear, and I’m diligent in reminding students about important deadlines.

In working with families, I’m collaborative. The path to college is extraordinarily complex, and I’m committed to demystifying the process. I routinely check in to ensure that no one is overwhelmed and that our priorities are aligned.

While I cannot do students’ work for them or guarantee acceptance to specific universities, I can apply my expertise to create opportunities for students to be admitted to “right fit” colleges where they can thrive.

I use a collaboration platform, video conferencing, and screen sharing to seamlessly work with clients online. If you live in the Sacramento area, we can meet at my office or in your home.

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