Let Doing College ensure that the junior year in high school is one of the most rewarding in your student’s academic career.

It is often said that the junior year is the most important year in high school. For many, it is often the most stressful as well. But that does not have to be the case. Doing College will help you and your teen navigate the complex world of college admissions and set a firm foundation upon which to launch their college applications.

Courtesy Session

This complimentary phone or Zoom consultation is to get acquainted with students and parents. Doing College will discuss our services and how they apply to your current level of need.

Next, we will proceed with a Contract Review Session to review the services we think are appropriate for your teen. This session helps parents understand what Doing College does, what we won’t do, and what is expected of parents and students. This session also provides a timeline of what needs to be completed and when during the junior and senior year on the path to finding your best fit college.

All sessions are currently held online.

The Initial Working Session

Should you decide to work with Doing College, and the contractual agreement has been made, we will continue on with the Junior Initial Working Session. Parents and students complete intake forms and provide Doing College with current school transcripts, testing information, and student activity and experiences information (these materials are completed and sent to Doing College prior to the session). This session accomplishes the following objectives:

  • Provide an overview of the college admission process and timeline so you and your student know what to expect in the junior and senior years
  • Explain how colleges make admission decisions with a focus on your student’s emerging profile
  • Provide guidance for summer, school breaks and senior year course selection
  • Provide guidance on standardized testing options, the timeline and strategies to minimize cost and maximize success
  • Review student activities and experiences and provide specific recommendations for making your ordinary experiences extraordinary
  • Deliver an overview of financial aid, both need-based and merit-aid
  • Provide up to 8 family selected college profiles to help you understand and interpret college statistics in ways that are most meaningful to your student
  • Offer resources to support college-bound athletes, arts focused students, student who learn differently and those with other unique circumstances

Following the courtesy session, most families sign up for Comprehensive Services, a premier level of service that provides families with unlimited access to expert and highly personalized guidance throughout the college admissions process.


Doing College’s Comprehensive Services are divided into phases:

I wanted to let you know that I was admitted to many fine universities, including the University of Michigan, but I decided to attend UC Berkeley in the fall. Although I hoped to go further from home for greater independence, I just couldn’t pass up all the great opportunities that will be afforded to me at Cal. I made my parents promise to allow me to live my own independent college life, even though I am close to home! It has been an absolute pleasure working with you over this past year and I cannot thank you enough for helping me on my college journey. I know I would not be in this position without you!

Brenna Seiersen
University of California – Berkeley
Class of 2026


“Jordan got into every school he applied to and just accepted offer of admission from the University of Pittsburgh! You have been so wonderful through this process, as you were when you worked with our first son who is thriving at the University of South Carolina’s Honors College. I have given your name to 2 more families in the last week!”

Cara Hardwick
Son, Jordan
University of Pittsburgh


“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.”

Charlotte and Gary Gibb
Son, Troy
George Washington University


Students and their families are excited to have a college list as soon as possible. But good things take time.

The assessment phase begins with a Parent-Advisor Session which is a private, parents-only interview that gives you the opportunity to discuss your goals, expectations and priorities, and identify the college factors that are most important, including college affordability. This interview helps me to better understand your teen by offering essential insights that only a parent can provide.

Subsequent Student-Advisor Sessions are a series of private meetings with your student that lead up to the college list. These sessions accomplish the following:

  • Using a variety of assessment approaches, evaluate your student’s natural talents (aptitudes) and interests which provide insights into college majors and linked career paths
  • Build upon the earlier student activities and experiences worksheet to develop a student resume useful for college applications, fairs and interviews
  • Using a diverse set of tools and strategies, help the student identify what college factors are most important to them and why
  • Additional sessions for college-bound athletes, arts focused students and others with special needs or unique circumstances to identify those factors that will lead to college success

Now that all the assessment information is gathered, Doing College takes one last step to ensure we are all on the same page.

A concise summary of the collected assessment information is presented in the Consensus Session with parents, student and advisor. The goal of this session is to ensure that there is agreement on the factors that will guide our college search and development of a preliminary college list that is well-matched to your teen’s needs and interests and abilities.


What happened 5 years ago or even one year ago is not what we can count on happening when your student applies to schools this admission cycle. A complete assessment lays foundation for Doing College to research best fit colleges for your teen and produce a preliminary list of schools.

In order to provide the most optimal college list for each client, Doing College makes a significant time investment in interviewing admissions representatives, researching and touring hundreds of colleges and universities to find the best matches for our clients. This extensive effort ensures that ever changing college trends are taken into account in the development of your teen’s college list.

We provide you with a well matched preliminary list of schools along with links to the most important academic, social, cost and environmental criteria that is already balanced by the probability of admission. We call the college list a preliminary list because it is a launching pad for further research. Further research and focused college visits will help your teen decide which subset of colleges will receive an application. Families are encouraged to add their own school picks to the preliminary list. It is a work in progress! After you have completed your research and selected schools to send an application, we call your final list, the application list.

Some students do not need much help to prepare an application list, while others may need more advising support. Students can schedule follow up sessions to review their research efforts and make progress on their lists. Doing College can recommend sequenced assignments to help your student make steady progress.

It is important for your teen to reflect upon and prepare reasons for their selections. This is a critical step and one often missed by families going it alone. It is important for students to not only say, but actually know and demonstrate that a school is a great fit for them. Your teen must take the primary initiative and do the work, not just parents. It is your teen who is going to college! Student research is the only way a student can hope to convince a college, especially a selective college that they are a good match and secure an offer of admission.

It was so great working with you and I know I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the college admissions process, or even just figure out which colleges I liked, without your help. I really appreciate everything you did to help me get through it!

Nina Wilson
Northeastern University
Class of 2026

“Ciaran is doing really well. He is very happy at Pomona, and we are so grateful that you suggested we visit the Claremont Colleges when he was in 11th grade! As soon as we walked onto the campus, Ciaran knew he wanted to go to Pomona.”

Judy Meers
Son, Ciaran
Pomona College

“Elizabeth is professional and caring. She helped my daughter in selecting a college that is the best fit for her; as a result, my daughter received a lot of scholarships, and thrived in her college years. In two weeks, she is graduating with the highest honor. Elizabeth is now working with our youngest daughter, because we trust her and know the quality of her work. Thank you Elizabeth!”

Celia Chung
Clark University

“Elizabeth sets a schedule for all of her students and has them prepared for the application process well before deadlines. My son was already ahead of the game, having written drafts of college essays in the summer before his senior year.

Another valuable part of Elizabeth’s service is her editing and guidance through the writing of each and every essay. As a well-educated parent, I found Elizabeth’s help to be invaluable as she has so much experience and knowledge about the college application process. Communicating with her, either via email or phone, was very easy and I always felt that she had my son’s college goals and desires as her top priority.”

David Faulkner
Son, Adler Faulkner
Cornell University


Starting with essay workshops in the summer through the last application submission in the fall, Doing College offers guidance with each prompt. From brainstorming, through development and final edits and word counts, your teen will learn how to find and project their own voice and ideas. The chance to write genuine essays without hint of packaging or tampering by well-intentioned parents or other adults is one of the most important ingredients for success in college admissions.
To learn more about College Essays, click here.


Ideally scheduled just prior to the start of the senior year or during the early weeks after school is in session, this phase of work includes the sessions below.

Organizing Session: Sets up a timeline for submission of applications.

Essay Development Session: Begun in the summer months, this session is a collaborative effort between the student and advisor. Most student prefer working online, but essay work can be scheduled in person for those who prefer to work face-to-face.

Application Review and Guidance: Doing College takes the time to review each unique application prior to submission, responding to unique circumstances, problem-solving, and addressing student questions. It is important to be sure that each part of the application is used to the student’s advantage.

Interview Preparation: Many schools offer students the opportunity to schedule an interview with an admissions representative. Doing College recommends students take advantage of this chance to let the college know them more personally, beyond the application they submit. A mock interview session with Doing College will help your teen feel more confident about how to weave talking about their strengths into the most common questions interviewers ask and prepare some questions for the interviewer.


Many families want assistance sorting out offers of admission, so Doing College offers a one-time review of options to help ensure your teen attends a good college. A good college can be defined as one that offers your student a degree path that can be realistically completed in 4 years, even if the student changes majors. A good college offers a strong career center to help the student set career direction and test it early on enough to know if it is right for them. A good college should also have a reputation for helping a student graduate with little to no debt. (Ask us about additional services, which may include a value analysis and student debt forecast, and/or a two year college coursework plan which is especially valuable for dual majors or those that may switch their major.)
Doing College is committed to supporting families through this last, important step until a final decision is reached about your teen’s college home!

Contact Doing College set up a Courtesy Session with Elizabeth LaScala to discuss our services by phone, Zoom or in-person.

Doing College offers educational consulting services to students and their parents in Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and greater California, as well as nationally and internationally.

“I’ll be attending University of Washington as a Pre-Veterinary major in the fall! I’m really excited and grateful for all the time and energy you put into helping me get to this point. Thanks again for everything! Couldn’t have done it without you!”

Becca Crisp
U of Washington

“Good news abounds in the college acceptance area: I got into every college I applied to! TCNJ, Delaware, Indiana, Stony Brook, Fordham, Pitt, and Brandeis all said yes (and Delaware, Indiana, TCNJ, and Stony Brook all offered me generous scholarships). This last week, over spring break, I went with my mom to tour colleges and finally narrowed it down to Pitt vs. Brandeis (based on cost, quality, and resources). I know I have all these terrific opportunities in large measure due to your support and guidance. I will update you as soon as I decide!”

Jordan Hardwick
University of Pittsburgh