College Admissions Guidance

EF Specialists offers a wide variety of services to help you prepare for the college application process and feel confident in your college selections. We will guide you step by step through the process and help you executively decide which college setting is right for you. Read below to learn more: 

"I just committed to University of Oregon last Sunday and I could not be more excited! I seriously need to properly thank both you and Ellie for setting me up for success in college. I’ve never felt more independent and self sufficient in my life and it’s largely due to you teaching me how to approach procrastination and avoidant tendencies. I’ve felt like I’ve gone through a whole transformation over quarantine in terms of time management and work ethic and I seriously owe a lot of my process to both you and Ellie. I can’t thank you enough for preparing me for this really important step and just life in general!"

- First Year College Student 

à La Carte Services

Intake Session and Initial College List: 90 minutes/mandatory

  • Overview of college process

  • Review transcripts and test scores

  • Appraise student’s interests through interview and assessments

  • Identify preferred college characteristics

  • Set up CustomCollegePlan account and review website features

  • Research schools based on interests, abilities, and cost 

  • Generate a broad list of colleges for student to explore


Final College List: 2-3 hours for up to 12 schools 

  • Develop final list of colleges containing various degrees of selectivity 

  • Assign probabilities and deadlines

  • Review final list with family for approval


Essay Guidance: 1-2 hours per essay

  • Topic exploration

  • Brainstorm sessions

  • Review drafts for accuracy


Applications: 1-2 hours per application

  • Timeline created with deadlines (including early decision/action)

  • Activity list creation

  • Review all applications for accuracy before submission

  • Interview Prep


College Selection/Financial Aid

  • Create college portals

  • Provide information on scholarship search engines

  • Evaluate financial aid award letters and compare options

Frequently asked questions

How many colleges should I apply to?

To increase your chances of getting in to a selective school—and to account for colleges you may not have considered before—we recommend a balanced list. A balanced list includes at least 3 reach colleges, 2 matches, and 1 safety school. They should all be colleges you’d be happy to attend.

Should I apply early?

It depends. If you are sure about which college you want to attend, early decision or early action might be the best choice for you. If you’re not sure, keep in mind that some early application plans require you to commit early. You may want to keep your options open.

Should I use an online or a paper application?

Check with the college to see which is preferred. Most colleges prefer online applications because they are easier to review and process—some even offer a discount in the application fee if you apply online. Applying online can also be more convenient for you—it’s easier to enter information and correct mistakes. Whichever method you choose, be sure to tell your school counselor where you have applied so your school transcript can be sent to the right colleges.

When should I start the college application process?

We recommend beginning during the fall semester of your junior year. The actual applications will be submitted later. It is critical to not wait any later than the summer before your senior year to start. Many key steps will also occur during the fall of their senior year. See a college application timeline for seniors.

How do I begin the application process?

Find out what goes into an application and begin collecting the materials you need. Create a folder for each college you are applying to. At the front of each folder, put a checklist of what you’ll need for the application and when it’s due.

Should I send additional material?

It’s best if you can express everything about your qualifications and qualities in the materials requested. Colleges spend a great deal of time creating their applications to make sure they get all the information they need about each applicant. If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to send additional material, talk to your counselor about it. Some arts programs may require portfolios or videos of performances. Check with the college to find out the best way to submit examples of your work.

What are the Coalition, Common, and Universal College Applications?

These are examples of college application services that provide standardized applications which allow you to apply to multiple schools with a single application. Instead of filling out eight different applications, you can simply fill out one and submit it to each college. The Coalition Application is accepted by more than 90 institutions. The platform includes “The Locker,” a private space for you to collect and organize materials throughout high school that you might want to share with colleges and universities. The Common Application is a standardized application used by nearly 700 colleges. Each year, nearly a million students use the Common Application to submit over 4 million applications. The Universal College Application is accepted by more than 30 colleges and universities. You can register as an applicant in order to start applying. Be aware that you may need to submit additional or separate documents to some colleges. You also still need to pay individual application fees for each college.

Should I even bother applying to colleges I don’t think I can afford?

Absolutely. Remember that after financial aid packages are determined, most students will pay far less than the "sticker price" listed on the college website. You don’t know if you can afford a college until after you apply and find out how much aid that college will offer you (if you’re accepted). Fill out the FAFSA® as early as possible after Jan. 1 to qualify for the most aid. Even if the aid package the college offers is not enough, you have options. Many colleges are willing to work with students they have chosen for admission to ensure that those students can afford to attend.

What if you already have a college admissions coach? How can we still support the college admissions process?

Often, families have directed their college coaches to include our executive function specialists on the emails that make requests of the college applicant. For example, if your current college admissions coach needs yours student to fill out forms and write short answer responses by their next meeting and only currently emails that to the student, you can CC your specialist on the communications and we can help your student follow through on all the action steps so the process is less stressful.

Want to discuss a plan for you? 

Using the buttons below, you can either schedule a consult or sign-up for services. A team member will get back to you within 2 business days.