College Consulting

We equate the college application process to a Learning Expedition.  Each stage requires consultant/mentor to take on a specific roll

Early Expedition: Freshman and Sophomore

We are proponents of starting early. Getting into college isn’t simply about filling out applications and selecting “top name” institutions. We want our students to succeed when they get there. To thrive, they need to grow and develop with mentorship, information, and numerous experiences that provide insights and growth. Our experience shows us that the more transparent adults are about college placement, the less stress and anxiety students feel. When students are engaged in a college guidance curriculum that encourages self-reflection, they are more likely to have the skills they need to succeed in high school and college. 

During the early stages of the college search process, the mentor takes an instructional approach. The focus of the early stage is to mentor the student while the student gains more insight and awareness about their needs and desires for their future. The role of the mentor is directive, authoritative, and instructive. Students and mentors work together to build trust and create a strong foundation for the journey ahead. The outcome of the first stage is for students to have a strong vocabulary around self-efficacy, develop a solid understanding of the college application process, begin envisioning an educational path, and identify strands of interest. 

Middle Expedition: Junior Year 

The Junior year is one of the most critical stages of the college application process. Students are focused on building their transcripts, participating in their school and local community, and balancing expectations and unspoken pressures related to getting into college. Our approach to this chaotic and high-pressure period is to tackle the application in small bites over time. 

Once students have attacked the Early Expedition, they are ready for the tasks associated with the Middle Expedition, involving a deeper level of research, setting specific goals, and taking action steps toward their envisioned path during this stage. The expectation is that students will develop a vocabulary around where they want to go, what they want to do in college, and who they want to be. 

During this time, the mentor becomes less directive and more collaborative. Because mentors and students have developed strong relationships, the student is often willing to explore the “more beautiful questions” with vulnerability and insights. If students are ready, they begin tackling the personal statement, high-level college research, and required supplementals. Students start taking ownership of the application process elements, including demonstrating interest, securing internships and jobs, and visiting colleges. 

Late Expedition: Senior Year

The late expedition is a time of anticipation and excitement. Senior students who have completed the first two stages have a clear path forward and can take ownership of their course. The role of the mentor during this time is to engage in a laissez-faire approach while encouraging the student to take more responsibility. The focus of this stretch is finalizing the college list and completing all associated applications on time. Students are gathering their teacher recommendations and transcripts while managing college portals.

The expectation is that students are ready to take the lead, and the mentor becomes a safety net. Mentors transition from their instructive role to a sounding board as students reflect and discern the path ahead. As students move closer to the Solo Expedition, mentors support launch skills such as mental health, financial independence, managing disappointment, and self-advocacy.



“Laura Barr is a counselor and consultant. Notably, she is also an educator and a teacher. Her expeditionary learning curriculum is pioneering. To Laura, college, career, and gap year planning are essential steps in growing up. Her curriculum includes personal awareness, academic planning, employability skills, and even financial literacy. In addition, she is a mentor who works to give young people the tools they need to develop self-efficacy, accountability, grit, information literacy, and collaboration.” -Dr. Stephen Antonoff, Author of College Match 

I believe that the college process is an opportunity for young adults to explore identity, establish independence and create the path towards “being launched.” I want my students to not only get into colleges but to be successful in the colleges they attend. I have developed a specific process that empowers students, promotes self-awareness and identity thinking.  Students are “coached” to uncover their interests and passions, and are treated as competent and capable human beings. Together we create a customized plan with touchpoints along the way that is simple and empowering for both students and parents.

As I have been in the field of education for over twenty five years I have a deep understanding and experience with colleges and universities and the ability to create matches for the “right fit.” I recognize that each student has unique needs based on their backgrounds, passions, and purposes. With my distinctive set of knowledge of colleges, curriculums, and brain development, I am able to help match various learning profiles, including students with learning differences, with a school that will help them in successfully being launched. 

I begin working with students on preparing for the college application process as early as their Freshman year in high school. With the growing competitive landscape in college admissions, I encourage students and families to learn about what goes into college applications ahead of time.  

Our Outcomes:

  • Provide researched-based advice on parenting and college search process, maintain all college certifications and provide the highest integrity in the field
  • Focus on college match, support students and parents with updated, relevant information
  • Guidance on how to stand out in the college search process
  • Professional evaluation of all available academic and psychological records, review of transcripts and advising on high school course work
  • Evaluation of student and parent inventories
  • Communication with teachers, tutors, psychologists, therapists, as needed to understand the educational profile, as needed
  • Strategic Education Visioning (Creating education path)  including Gap Year, workforce, trade and service programs
  • Access to College Planning Pro
  • Parent Education Focus on How to Launch
  • Collaborative creation and revision of the College List 
  • Collaboration on the college process timeline
  • Creating an on-going resume that reflects persona and value
  • College Visit Planning strategy
  • Educational Advocacy, as needed 
  • Never accepting payment from schools or any parties, programs for placement
  • ACT and SAT planning and referrals
  • Referrals for educational testing, tutors, and therapists, if needed
  • e.Merging newsletters and eNotes reporting on current parenting and educational news, updates, events, and resources 
  • Monitor and maintain strict adherence to contracted hours 
  • Adhering to the ethics in my profession as stated by C.E.P, IECA and HECA 

Cutting Edge Consulting

e.Merging is dedicated to using powerful search technology that aids in a personalized college search, including:

  • College Planning Pro —  a powerful college search platform that integrates the best practices in consulting into a user-friendly framework.
  • Personality Surveys — Outputs match list based on a custom survey for college list development
  • Powerful Search — includes customization of the results view and comparison analysis of student’s college list.
  • “My chances” comparison — maps student’s information to the college historical data.
  • Net Price Estimates — provides the students’ EFC to estimate what might be expected in a financial aid package based on the college’s historical data and before applying to the college

How does it work?

Services are catered to each client after a rigorous intake process where I listen to individual needs and create a Professional Services Agreement using a retainer style method of payment.

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