About

How I got here

I used to think my background in aimless career sampling (Princeton admissions officer, ballroom dancing teacher, artist, retail sales, food services, high-tech HR data, serial entrepreneur) was a useless detour preparatory to finally landing in educational and career consulting in the early 2000s.

 

Then I discovered that the single best way to help others learn to love their studies and work was to have sampled a whole lot of options I did not enjoy before finally figuring out the secret sauce!

 

If you don't like what you do, it's hard to do a really great job at it.

 

Thank you so much for the detailed support on my college essays. I really appreciate the time you took to help me sharpen and perfect my work with an intellect I wouldn't have had! Thanks again.

 

Pearl A., Brisbane CA

Class of 2022

Here's the vicious cycle I (and many of my students) get stuck in:

 

  1. The education system prioritizes pleasing teachers over discovering who you really are and what you actually love to do.

  2. You choose a practical college major or career that fits your skills but doesn’t fan your inner flame.

  3. You end up unsatisfied and unmotivated because it's hard to be great at something you don't really like!

 

Having spent 20 years teaching thousands of students to fit into the system as an SAT and ACT tutor, I realized I was recreating this pattern: tutoring helped others and paid the bills, but I didn't love making students fit into the system.

My Philosophy

A happy life doesn't come from satisfying the system but rather from learning how to make the system work for you.

 

I now find my joy in helping students understand and appreciate their own unique gifts, fanning their joy into flame, and creating a game plan for overcoming the challenges they will face in college and the working world.

 

My College Major and Career Consulting, College Strengths and Challenge Analysis, and Unique Gifts Essay Process give parents and students unique, personalized information to chart a path of success, health, and enjoyment through the demands of the educational system and the working world.

 

My Clients

I love working with students with anxiety, learning and physical disabilities, neurodivergence, varied gender and sexuality preferences, and diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Having dealt with scoliosis, sensory integration disorder, depression, anxiety, and my own neurodivergence, I firmly believe that every individual, no matter how unique, quirky, or unconventional, can find joy and satisfaction in college and the world of work. 

 

Every person's unique gifts should be celebrated and empowered.

 

My Happy Places

In my spare time, I enjoy exploring my spirituality, cooking non-spicy Indian food, and styling photo shoots with my vintage thrift store treasures.

Speaking of, all photos on this website of me are by Michael Weller www.michaelweller.com.

Highly recommended if you are in Portland, Oregon!

Awards and honors

Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa - Princeton University 1993

Grace May Tilton Prize - best senior thesis on the Arts in America

Special commendation from Joyce Carol Oates for essay writing

WBTV Charlotte 2014 Top Five Test Prep Providers in Charlotte, NC

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