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College Counseling for High School Juniors and Seniors

Doing College assists students and their families to launch the rigorous college admissions process and supports them through each step. Because we regularly visit college campuses and communicate directly with college admissions representatives we are well prepared to offer you the most current information available when questions arise.

College Help for Juniors and Seniors  in Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda California with College Counselor Elizabeth LaScalaIntroductory Session for Juniors and Seniors

The Introductory Session is the starting point for selecting the right fit college list and developing a strong and cohesive application.  The meeting with the student and family includes the following services:

  • Review parent and student questionnaires (completed prior to meeting) to focus session on the student's and family's goals and priorities
  • Provide a detailed overview of college admissions and how colleges evaluate applicants
  • Discuss student's academic transcript and recent testing
  • Assist with planning future coursework that ensures rigor while protecting the GPA; explore going outside the school offerings, as necessary
  • Advise about standardized test scheduling and how to prepare
  • Assist with referrals to academic tutoring and test preparation
  • Discuss teacher and counselor letters of recommendation and how best to ensure strong recommendations
  • Review activities in and out of school environment and discuss how to develop the strongest possible student profile
  • Provide financial and merit aid basics

Assessment Phase

The introductory session sets the stage for moving toward further assessment to understand the student and family's needs, interests and priorities.  The Assessment Phase leads directly to the development of a personalized and balanced college list and includes the following meetings:

Parent Supplemental Interview Meeting
(about 1 hour)

  • In depth discussion of needs, concerns, and questions of parent(s)/guardian(s) about college admissions
  • Determine college selection priorities of parent(s)
  • Inform and educate about parents' role in the college admissions process
  • Review basics of financial planning for college admissions
  • Provide access to valuable print and electronic resources
  • Provide referrals to other professionals who can assist, as necessary

Student-Advisor Meetings
(about 2 hours)

  • Review steps to be accomplished by fall of senior year
  • Show student how to calculate academic GPA
  • Discuss student's values, likes and dislikes, and overall feelings about school, self, and the world
  • Use assessment tools to determine and prioritize various factors important when choosing a college
  • Assess interests and skills with a focus on possible majors and programs of interest
  • Assist with preparation of student profile  (resume)
  • Discuss summer programs/plans (for juniors as a possible capstone to junior year); encourage research about internships, academic enrichment

College Counseling Services for Juniors and Seniors in Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda California and NationwideCollege Search and List Phase
(hours vary)

Doing College integrates the assessment information and prepares a report about primary college selection factors with recommendations regarding majors and programs of interest.  Once the student and family approve the report, it is used to guide the development of an initial list of schools to research further.  Doing college provides consultation and refinements to the list until there is a final and balanced list of colleges.  During this phase, Doing College:

  • Tracks research into colleges; teaches how to research colleges
  • Refines the college list and adjusts admission probabilities
  • Assists with planning campus visits or finding alternatives when visits are not possible
  • Provides tools to support the documentation of each college's application requirements, including essays and personal statements

The College Essay and Application Phase
(hours vary)

  • Brainstorm with student to understand application essay prompts and assist with selection of themes/ideas
  • Use warm up exercises that encourage student's best writing and unique voice
  • Provide student with specific themes, topics and comments to structure writing
  • Provide guidelines and advice related to what admissions readers look for in the student application essay
  • Review student's Common Application and any unique college applications
  • Help to prepare for college admissions interviews
  • Support communications between college and student

In the spring of the student's senior year Doing College offers:

  • Advice regarding options after letters of acceptance are received
  • Advice on making the final college selection

Specialized Guidance

Doing College offers a personalized guidance to all students and specialized support for athletes and artistic students

Students with Learning Differences:

Colleges vary greatly in the services they provide to support students who learn differently. Doing College helps students with learning differences research colleges to discover those that provide the best overall fit. Read on

College Bound Athletes:

Doing College customizes the steps, sequencing and content of our services for athletes, including the development of the athletic resume and realistic recruitment strategies, and a customized list of colleges that are suited to the student's needs and interests. Read on

Students Interested in the Arts:

Students pursuing a career in the visual and performing arts have special talents and needs.  Whether you are thinking about a Music Conservatory or a more traditional college path, Doing College gives students personalized attention, including portfolio and audition advice. Read on

Contact Doing College for more information. We offer educational consulting services to students and their parents in Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda California as well as nationally and internationally.


"When faced with the initial task of evaluating hundreds of universities to select those that would be the right fit for our oldest son, my husband and I decided to employ Elizabeth's help.  Elizabeth took the time to get to know our son, my husband and me. Armed with vast knowledge of colleges across the country, she carefully assessed our son's educational goals, weighed his strengths, listened carefully to what he wanted from his college experience, and then matched him with a range of universities to which she recommended he apply.

She didn't stop there. She helped build our son's confidence, encouraging him to reach for top schools while providing a range of well-matched target schools on his list. She created a structure for our family to work within, and helped us all stay on top of important deadlines.


"She made us feel as though we were the only family she was coaching.

"I'm not saying that the process was easy for Troy - far from it. Elizabeth never hesitated to demand the best work from our son, knowing that he could tweak that essay a bit more to make it a real winner or take a more rigorous course to prepare him more fully for college coursework.  In the end, all of the effort paid off. Our son was accepted at several of his top university choices.

"When it was time for our youngest son, Cody, to begin his college search, we again enlisted Elizabeth’s help. Although the second time around, we were equipped with much more information and experience, we benefited greatly from Elizabeth’s expertise.  Cody also was accepted to several of his top choice schools and is now in his second year at the University of Washington studying computer science.

"Elizabeth was an important partner in the education of our children.  Our public high schools are some of the best in California, yet we were completely unprepared for the complexities of the college application process. 

"With Elizabeth’s support and guidance, we all had a very positive experience and most importantly, great results!

Not surprisingly, our oldest son, Troy, is now seeking Elizabeth’s advice again as he prepares for a job search and ultimately an advanced professional degree. 

"It is my pleasure to give Elizabeth my highest recommendation for families facing the daunting challenge of navigating the college search and application process for their high school students."


Charlotte and Gary Gibb

Son, Troy
George Washington University
Class of 2014

Son, Cody
University of Washington
Class of 2016

"You've helped me tremendously with everything regarding my applications. I just received news of my acceptance at Stanford!  I realize how lucky I am to be admitted into this fine school.

"You did wonders helping me brainstorm my essay topics and improve my overall writing. 

"Thank you again for all the help and hopefully I will see you again in the future.  Come to one of my games!  I will send you the schedule!"

Davis Clute
Stanford University
Class of 2017

"It seems to me that even with all the hardships Nathaniel went through this past year, he did extremely well and also matured a lot. I see him changing constantly.  

"There is no doubt in my mind that your help, patience and support at all times and, of course, believing in him, has contributed tremendously to these positive changes in our son. 

"He has been admitted to two colleges so far, one with a very generous award.  We will continue to seek your counsel until we make a final decision about where Nathaniel will get the support he needs to thrive in college.

"So we all thank you."

Nicole Elder
son, Nathaniel