College Counseling Amy VanTassel


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"Let me help you find a college that fits."


To successfully guide students and parents through the complex and continually changing college admissions process by crafting a custom-designed application strategy and exciting list of colleges.

College Search Guidance

In Looking Beyond the Ivies, Loren Pope described the ideal colleges search: "The magic lies in the moral and intellectual torque the college exerts, not the name, however hallowed it may be." I embrace this philosophy and take pleasure in smashing the classic model of applying to "reach schools" for name brand, and "safety schools" for insurance. What with thousands of awesome colleges and universities out there, your list should be cultivated with academic and cultural fit at the forefront of criteria, as opposed to rankings or reputation, and there is no singular school for any student. I love getting to know students. When I say I have the best job on the planet, I often think of the fun I have shopping and co-creating lists with students.

Essay and Application Editing

Your counselors at school are swamped! They will not be able to spend hours with with you helping you kick start essays, editing them, and filling-out your applications. I can! Myths abide regarding what makes for stand-out college essays, and it can be arduous, if not formidable, to begin writing. I prefer to begin with students the summer before senior year to begin drafting genuine, impressive, and original essays.

Curricular and Co-Curricular Activity Counseling

APs, IBs, units, clubs, sports, arts, activities... Again, myths abide regarding the best formula to be competitive. I have witnessed what makes a difference in admission committees; what actually counts may surprise you. In essence, no two students are alike and making decisions for the right reasons is paramount. I work closely with students to forecast their schedules and design a litany of activities appropriate for them as individuals. No one should participate in anything solely for the sake of resume-building, but students should push themselves in challenging classes and a robust activities beyond the classroom.

Athletic and Arts Recruitment Counseling

Are you a Varsity Lacrosse superstar? Perhaps your cello acumen suggests your the next Yo-Yo Ma. If you have stand-out athletic or arts talent, you've already wondered how it will play a part in college admissions. You've surely heard the word "scholarship" tossed around, worrying that you'll miss the boat somehow. I can demystify the vagaries of recruitment, scholarships, communication with coaches, and the NCAA Divisions I-III. I encourage students to ascertain their true passions to determine what they can pursue in college and at what level. True, you should capitalize on your talent, but how you present yourself and what your life looks like on campus should be realistic and exciting.

Interview and College Visit Prep

You'll remember your campus visits and interviews for the rest of your life. They will be thrilling, perhaps enchanting, potentially overwhelming. I love scheming with students and parents to map-out trips, and to engineer their precious hours on each campus. When it comes time to interview, I can help put you at ease and coach you on the best way to both represent yourself and learn from your interviewer. I find that most high schoolers underrepresent themselves, worry about bragging, or that they misconstrue the purpose of the interview in some way. In my career, I interviewed hundreds of candidates; it's wonderful to be on this side of the process and help my students put their best foot forward.

SAT and ACT Guidance

While there's nothing glamorous about the standardized testing component of college admissions, it's a necessary beast. Colleges continue to rely on the SAT, ACT, AP exams, IB exams, and subject tests as the only standardized measure of students around the world. In fact, scores can highlight your aptitude and achievement, enhancing your credentials. But you need to prepare! Student's testing plans should be unique to their goals, predicted scores, schedules, and strengths. I can determine how much each student should prioritize test prep, and which exams should be taken, when. I frequently promote formal test prep, especially with my expert colleagues at Stumptown Test Prep, LLC (see the resources page). I also personally offer comprehensive tutoring for the SAT and ACT writing exams.

Financial Aid Counseling

While no two family's financial situations are alike, every family is astonished by the high price of tuition. I aim to co-create a list of options that will yield a wide spectrum of financial outcomes. The more concerned a family is with tuition funding, the more I encourage a broad range of options. In many cases, it's impossible to envisioning how funding four years of staggering tuition will work. Fortunately, I am armed with experienced institutional knowledge, including examples of funding possibilities for a range of tuitions and financial situations.

Other Services

Not a high school sophomore, junior, or senior? I also work with younger and older students seeking the following support: high school choice guidance, prep school application editing, gap year counseling, college transfer application editing, graduate and graduate school application editing.