Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
1. What is unique about Michelle’s approach?
With 20+ years of experience Michelle knows what the colleges are looking for. She has a unique style of connecting with teenagers: meeting them where they are and positively encouraging them to recognize their strengths, celebrate their quirks, and present their best selves in the process. Using her attention to detail and sense of fun she helps students feel comfortable adding their personal stories to college essays and applications. Having guided so many students with all different academic needs, levels, and expectations, Michelle draws from her vast experience to help her clients put together competitive and compelling applications.
2. Do students who work with Michelle/CCA get in to their #1 choice?
MIchelle helps students and families create a balanced list of Reach, Target, Probable (Backup), and Lottery colleges based on the student’s credentials. She helps students and parents understand what a student’s chances are at the colleges that interest them, and what they can do to enhance their chances of admission. Deciding which colleges are at the top of a student’s list, and what their realistic chances are at these schools, is a process that evolves over time. At the end of the process, over 90% of students are admitted into one of their top choices.
3. How does Michelle determine a student’s chances at a college? On what do you base your qualifications of Reach, Target, Backup, and Lottery?
Michelle and CCA maintain our own database of colleges across the country and update the statistics, such as average GPA, test scores, and percent accepted, according to recent information published by the colleges. To this, Michelle adds her years of anecdotal experience to watch trends and offer comparisons to applicants. Michelle also helps families interpret the scattergrams and data from their own high schools—an important tool to directly compare college outcomes.
4. What is the difference between hourly counseling and the comprehensive program?
For students on the program, Michelle manages the overall process and with hourly students she acts as a consultant. Michelle can work on any application element during an hourly appointment, but the aspect of overall project management is what defines the comprehensive program. Students who work with Michelle on an hourly basis contact us when they want to come in for fine-tuning and troubleshooting of specific areas. Program students have appointments on a regular basis and Michelle closely monitors their progress to make sure they are on track. They also receive priority scheduling during the busy fall season.
5. Do you have experience with the essays?
The personal narrative writing required for college essays is very different from what students practice in most English classes. Using tools and techniques for brainstorming strong topics, Michelle teaches students how to master this style and showcase their personal qualities and stories throughout different essay formats, supplements, and personal statements. Based on years of experience, Michelle helps students highlight their fit with individual college’s values and philosophies, increasing their chances of acceptance.
6. Do you work with home-schooled students?
CCA understands that, while homeschooled students have taken a different path, their high school credentials must still meet the standard requirements. Michelle can advise these students about what additional steps they may want to take to be strong applicants, including Subject and AP tests, and extracurricular involvement.
7. Do your counselors visit colleges?
Michelle has visited and is familiar with hundreds of schools all over the country and some international options, including in Canada and Great Britain. Michelle also connects with college admissions representatives by phone and email each year to review up-to-the-moment changes in application steps and criteria.
8. How does Michelle help students with learning and emotional issues?
College Counseling Associates is a safe, comfortable place to discuss sensitive issues and decide how to best present them in the application. Michelle has worked with students with diagnoses including: auditory and visual processing disorders, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, the autism spectrum, hearing-impaired, bipolar, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and others.
College Counseling Associates
845 Oak Grove Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Mon-Fri: Flexible Hours
Call or email us to schedule
Sat-Sun: Certain weekends by appointment
One of the SF Bay Area's Best for College Counseling
College Counseling Associates helps all types of high school students living in the SF Bay Area— including the cities of Menlo Park, Woodside, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Los Altos, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Redwood City, San Mateo, and more—prepare for universities nationally and internationally.