Small group course

Student engagement is at the center of our philosophy, and this course is designed around getting students involved in the decision-making and application process towards college.

  • In 2019, we'll be offering 5 "Small Group Courses" with 5 students in each.

  • Locations are located in Leigh High School's neighborhood: Celeste’s office is located near the intersection of Union & Campbell Avenues and Lynn’s home is located near Dartmouth Middle School.

  • “Priority Registration” will be given to students who have already had a Consultation with us. No exceptions.

  • “Open Registration” for students new to got college? services will start on Dec 19, 2018.

  • Students must provide and bring their own laptops; internet access will be provided.

  • 2019 fee will be $1,150 for early registration and $1,250 for regular registration.

  • 2020 schedules will be released by mid December, 2019.


  • Empowers students to "own" their college admission process

  • Knowledgeable guidance helps to reduce student and parent stress

  • Helps students formulate a well-considered Apply List

  • Improves applications and essays

  • Reduces parent-student conflicts

  • Increases college options for students

  • Improves organization to meet deadlines

  • Reduces the risk of choosing unwisely

  • Affordable and unique option, compared to Individual Package

An overview:

The Small Group Course begins in January of junior year and breaks the process down into proven, manageable, and timely steps - with assignments that build familiarity, knowledge, and confidence in students. The Small Group Course includes:

  • Four class meetings spread out over 8 months: January - August. See outline below.

  • Plus two, 30-minute Individual Writing Review Sessions

  • Critically timed student and parent assignments help to manage a multitude of deadlines.

  • Three personalized and written evaluations throughout the course:
    1. Initial Evaluation: recommendations on senior courses, testing, activities, colleges
    2. Apply List Evaluation
    3. Content Draft/Essay Feedback

  • Additional Benefits:

    1. Application Tracker completed for you, based on your Apply List

    2. "College Fit" workbook

  • Ongoing communications via email and phone as needed. Students and parents can contact us with questions and issues as they arise. This continues through the research process, developing the Apply List, completing applications, writing essays, and making final decisions.


  • Our program is designed for students only, however we do include include parents in all on-going communications. Parents can also email or contact us with questions.

  • Designed for and limited to public school students only. (Private school students, please see Individual Package details.)

  • All courses and workshops are taught by either Celeste or Lynn.

  • Students need to purchase the book on their own, which costs about $16.50.

  • Students need to bring their own laptop to all 4 classes.

  • Each Small Group Course is capped at 5 students.

  • Courses tend to fill quickly!

  • Make-up classes are offered, however these have extra fees.

  • Results: In past years, students have on average applied to 10 campuses and have on average, received 7 acceptances.

  • It’s important to note that we focus on individual “college fit” rather than on college rankings.




Class 1 - January
Starting Point: You and Your College Search

  • Self-assessments; identifying your needs and wants for colleges that fit you best

  • Clearing up myths on college rankings and admissions

  • Why researching college campuses is vitally important to finding colleges right for you

  • How to research colleges

  • The importance of college visits and how to plan your campus tours

  • SAT and ACT testing considerations: timing, prepping, and re-testing

  • Personalized, written feedback and recommendations: senior year course selections, CSU/UC eligibility, admission testing, extra-curricular activities, and suggested college campuses to research and visit.


Class 2 - April
Organizing Your Application Information & Finalizing Your List

  • Round-table discussions on college visit assignments

  • Introduction to different applications and deadlines: CSU, UC, and private colleges

  • Discussion of the ultimate goal: having options come spring of senior year

  • Determining your admission chances: safety, target, and reach categories

  • Working towards finalizing your Apply List

  • Personalized and written feedback on your Apply List to ensure you'll have options

  • Introduction to applications

  • How to prioritize and manage deadlines

Class 3 - mid to late june
Essay Workshop

  • Starting UC Personal Insight answers

  • Guidance in writing unique and effective essays of about 500 words or longer

  • Using Common Application and Coalition prompts or one of your own

  • Discussion of how and why admissions essays differ from typical high school essays

  • Stressing the importance of the individual student voice

  • Practice student-approved essay brainstorming exercises on topics and content development

  • Walk out with a first rough draft completed and ready for initial detailed, written feedback

Class 4 - Mid-july - august, depending on course
Application Workshop

  • Having started applications, round-table discussions on which information to include

  • The gritty details on applications: CSU, UC, Common Application

  • Focusing on student activities listings: what to include and how best to detail


Plus 2 Individual Essay Review Sessions, August - October

  • Working one-on-one with each student

  • Two, 30-minute sessions

  • Guiding content, structure, and student voice

  • Goal of a more effective and impactful essay within your overall application package


FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions on our Small group Course:

1.  Can I attend classes with my student?
The classes are for the students only.  Our philosophy, in agreement with colleges and universities, is that students need to "own" the college application process, and an effective way to accomplish that is for students to receive essential information and interact with other students in a group environment.  We do keep parents engaged and informed in a variety of ways: email summaries after each class and individual written evaluations throughout the course. We are also available whenever you have a question or concern -- just email or phone us. We continue to answer questions until the day your student starts college.

2.  Why is student engagement at the center of your philosophy?
The more engaged students are in the process, the better the outcome of an enthusiastic college student who’s thriving in a well-matched learning environment.  The more passive a student is in the process, the greater the likelihood for disappointment and regret as an outcome.  We take a long-term approach, because the ultimate goal is for the student to graduate from college - think to and through.

3. When can I register my junior student for a course?
We open registrations about mid-December of your student's junior year.  Again, priority is given to students who have already had a consultation. 

4.  What if my student cannot make a scheduled class for the course being registered for?
We do offer make-up class options, although these have additional fees.  See details on Registration page.