College Admissions

Effective educational planning and planning for college starts early.

Educational planning is essential to academic success; however, too many students and parents are at a loss for a place to start. Our guide offers a beginning—at any point in the process. Whether you’re looking for an edge on your next test or seeking guidance as you apply for college, we’ll help you avoid common pitfalls and direct you through a successful four years of high school—and beyond.

Educational Planning Guide

What We Do

Our PrepMatters Educational Planning team shows students and families what it takes to successfully navigate high school, college admissions, and higher education. We stay ahead of admissions trends to guide our students through a personalized strategy plan, while providing a big-picture perspective and lifelong view to optimize outcomes.

Meet Our Counselors

Katy Dunn
Maureen Delaney
Maurice Jackson
Patrice Arrington
Sierra Leickert

Our counselors bring years of professional experience in college admissions, school administration, and guidance counseling to their work with families. Our team works collaboratively so that every student receives the benefit of the collective wisdom of our team.

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Where Our Students Go

Predicting college admissions has only become trickier. Let our counselors help demystify the process over time and help you select a core group of colleges to which you’ll ultimately apply.

See a list of colleges our students have chosen to attend.

How We Help

Everyone is different. We work with students and families to develop a customized plan and address all the moving parts when it comes to high school planning and the college admissions process, including…

  • Creating a college list
  • Understanding undergraduate education
  • Shaping academic and professional goals
  • High school course selection
  • Extra-curricular planning
  • Summer activities
  • Building a personal narrative
  • Study skills and organization
  • Letters of recommendation plan
  • Standardized testing plan
  • Early deadline strategy
  • Demonstrated interest plan
  • Waitlist response plan
  • Resume development
  • Interview preparation


There are a lot of moving parts to consider while navigating school and the admissions process. Our counselors work in concert with parents and students to map out a path for success and equip them with the tools necessary to execute their personalized plans. Educational planning positions students to look ahead, act deliberately, and make decisions confidently as they move forward. If you’re ready to start or just want to learn more, contact us.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the relationship with the student. We recommend meeting the educational counselor first to see if the vibe is right, which is why PrepMatters gladly offers a complimentary meet & greet for any family who wants to learn more about educational planning. Generally, you will want to work with a counselor who holds him/herself accountable to a professional organization, such as the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, Higher Education Consultants Association, or Independent Educational Consultants Association. (We’re members of all three organizations). These organizations require counselors to stay up-to-date on education and admissions trends, to develop relationships with admissions representatives, and to put their feet on the grounds of colleges and universities. It’s also wise to find a counselor who has worked as a school teacher, counselor, or administrator, or in an admissions office, or both.

We launch with what we call the Counseling Assessment, which lays out a roadmap for managing all the moving parts of navigating both school and admissions. After the assessment is complete, you and your counselor will determine how often you should connect throughout the process. It’s not uncommon for students to find their PrepMatters counselor to be a useful resource all the way through graduate school. Additionally, PrepMatters offers some a la carte services.

Yes. There are many types of scholarships available. PrepMatters can help students identify the right options and navigate the process for merit-based aid. For support with need-based aid, we can point you in the right direction but do not offer financial advice in that area.

Sometimes transferring is the right step to take. Our goal is to help students determine the best fit for both academic and personal growth. The transfer process is complicated, but we can make it manageable (and maybe even fun).

Yes. Everyone learns differently, and many students have developed the self-awareness to know what their learning needs are – whether through natural maturation or educational testing. PrepMatters counselors have experience in working with students with individualized education plans (IEPs), 504 plans, or other approved learning accommodations plans. They understand the various resources and support services available at universities and colleges and are equipped to find the best match.

Anyone who wants an additional resource for mapping out a smart education pathway. Sometimes students want more frequent or earlier access to a counselor than what their schools provide, and sometimes families just want a second opinion. Your school counseling office plays an important role, of course, and just as you might ask more than one professional for medical, financial, or legal advice, you may benefit from further insight from an experienced professional who can help with educational advice.

Now. Educational planning does not start fall of senior year. It starts when your student is ready to think deliberately about the steps ahead. It’s far better to look at the decisions coming up than to look back at what has already transpired. Generally, we start with students either right before the beginning of high school or sometime in 9th grade. Of course, for high school admissions, we start much earlier, either in spring of 7th grade or summer before 8th grade.

Perhaps the two biggest differences between PrepMatters educational planning and that of similar organizations are process and philosophy. We want families to feel in control and to allow them to use our services as much or as little as they please, rather than requiring large package options. Additionally, our work is informed heavily by the philosophy espoused by The Self-Driven Child, written by PrepMatters founder Ned Johnson and his colleague Dr. Bill Stixrud. Our experience has taught us how important student empowerment is to student development. Finally, PrepMatters counselors work as a team, and our students benefit from our professional collaboration and combined experience.

More and more students are looking into undergraduate institutions abroad, which requires a very different approach from applying to schools in the United States. PrepMatters counselors are well-trained to support you in navigating both the domestic and international application processes.

Yes. Maureen Delaney is our expert graduate school adviser.

Contact Us

Have questions? Want to get started today? Let’s chat.

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