College Admissions Consulting

Applying to top colleges is exhilarating.

Yet the application process itself can seem designed to overwhelm.

Which colleges truly “fit” you, providing the opportunities and communities you need? How do you connect your passions and projects to your character in your application story? How do you convey real convictions about what you want out of college, and heck, out of your whole life?

We have helped dozens of college applicants like you find confidence and success in navigating the college application process. You may be seeking to gain entry to the Ivy League and other elite private universities like Stanford and MIT, or perhaps you will find your fit at liberal arts colleges or top public universities. We guide you through exploring possibilities, discovering what matters most to you, and composing applications that showcase your compelling qualities honestly and effectively.

As mentors, we care about you on a personal level. Beyond knowing the college admissions landscape inside out, our consultants have coached elite youth sports, counseled students at Stanford, and written dissertations on what it means to lead a good life. 

As a college applicant, you are at a pivotal moment. A moment of excitement and uncertainty. So much will change in the next few years. 

That’s why the time leading up to college gets intense. Competition escalates. It becomes more important than ever to stay focused on yourself and your own goals. This is the foundation of our coaching approach: starting from your story, your motivation, your talent, and your vision. Guiding you to stay true to yourself throughout the process. Helping you answer any question and examine every detail. So that you keep moving forward, confident that you’re moving in the right direction, knowing you have so much to look ahead to.

The Only College Admissions Strategy Delivering Lifelong Value

To get you to your dream college, we’ve mastered the mechanics of the college application process, start to finish. We leave no stone unturned. Your family deserves clarity, trust, and a plan so that you can all pull together. We believe that in the end, applying to college should build your family’s bonds—and we pride ourselves on making sure that happens. 

To stand out to selective colleges, you’ve got to prove your commitment, your intention, and your depth, telling a cohesive story about who you are and who you want to be. This is the story that an admissions officer remembers. And it is the type of story you’ll tell again and again as you build a fulfilling life.

Our consultants are uniquely positioned and specially trained to identify your most meaningful values and goals. Without personal bias, we view your profile from your perspective and the college’s perspective at the same time. We mentor you to capitalize on the right opportunities and address potential problems early. We prepare you for an exceptional path even beyond college, helping you begin to position yourself for high-impact roles that match your interests.

Finally, we ensure steady progress as we work side-by-side to build a singular narrative for your applications. Our personalized yet systematic approach keeps you calm and confident. That way, we put intense effort into your profile without cutting corners.

What You Get

  1. An authentic application story that is cohesive and unforgettable.
  2. Strategic positioning of your profile to especially appeal to what certain programs are looking for.
  3. A detailed roadmap with a personalized plan for every step in the overwhelming admissions process.
  4. Unlimited development of all application materials: the personal statement, every school essay, and more.
  5. A curated network of opportunities and inspirations to push your activity engagement to the next level.

Why It Matters

  1. Because college admission decisions are no longer just about grades and scores. They’re about making an admissions officer your champion in the committee.
  2. Because colleges have distinct identities and are excited to find candidates who match their community vision.
  3. Because applying to college can be crazy stressful and you deserve to be ahead of deadlines, never losing sleep.
  4. Because you’d be amazed at the sweat that goes into crafting words that demand to be read twice.
  5. Because you deserve a mentor who is focused on helping you find new ways to evolve your passions.

Who We Are

Meet some of the admissions and storytelling experts involved in our undergraduate admissions consulting program here at Menlo Coaching.

Alice van Harten

Alice van Harten, Ph.D.

  • Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Cambridge
  • Former Stanford postdoc & lecturer in the Humanities
  • Former consultant at Bain & Co.
Leslie Monstavicius

Leslie Monstavicius, Ph.D.

  • B.A. from Stanford
  • MPhil student at Oxford
  • Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley
  • Former Academic Director at Stanford

Jason Milan

  • B.A. from Middlebury College
  • 5 years experience in College Admissions consulting
  • Dozens of clients admitted to T5/10/20 universities

Why Working With Us is Different

We are dedicated mentors

We don’t match you with moonlighting part-timers or college students – your consultant is committed full-time to your success.

  • Your consultant has a robust background in mentorship and the narrative arts.
  • Your consultant is a story crafter who knows how stories are judged, rather than a story judge turned craftsman (ahem, former Admissions Officers).
  • Your consultant balances deep industry insight with crafting a story that’s authentic to who you are. They care that you submit an application that makes you proud, not just one that gets you accepted.

We believe fiercely in 1-on-1 consulting

Every minute of consulting time is focused on your specific challenges and opportunities as a college applicant.

  • You have regular conversations with your consultant every two weeks for the entire contract term.
  • You’re not paired with four different “experts” for four different parts of your application. You have a primary point of contact who makes it their purpose to know your profile inside out.
  • With total long-term access to your consultant, you have exceptional continuity for building a trusting and effective working relationship.

We prepare you for lifelong success

Our distinctive expertise in career and life planning grows your potential to launch new projects in diverse fields with intention and confidence.

  • Many of our consultants have built businesses or worked at world-class firms, mentoring fresh grads as they navigate professional demands.
  • We pride ourselves on helping students start ventures. Whether you’re an artist, an engineer, a scientist or a writer, we can find you problems to solve, questions to answer, and people who need your skills.

What you can expect and when you can expect it

Our one-year timeline of core services provided in every one of our packages.

Phase 1

  • Define an ambitious summer plan, including activities & campus visits
  • Apply for competitive summer programs and opportunities
  • Develop concepts for Personal Statement and “base” essays
  • Plan initial school list & application timeline strategy
  • Determine testing strategy & schedule

Phase 2

  • Finalize summer plan
  • Refine & revise Personal Statement
  • Develop specific essays for top-choice colleges
  • Plan & process campus visits
  • Identify & connect with college influencers
  • Solicit recommendation letters
  • Wrap up standardized tests
  • Develop stories on heritage, community, & curiosity

Phase 3

  • Finalize early round school list
  • Finalize Personal Statement
  • Finalize top-choice essays & profile positioning
  • Finalize supplementary materials
  • Finalize resume and activity list
  • Finalize recommendation letters – standard & external
  • Submit early (ED/EA) applications
  • Begin intensive interview preparation

Phase 4

  • Finalize regular decision (RD) school list
  • Conduct intensive interview preparation
  • Finalize all supplemental essays for regular decision
  • Develop & submit supplementary materials and updates

You can sign up for our core program up to 12 months before your primary application deadlines (generally, January of your Senior year) with no change in the package price. We advise joining us even earlier in the process, and we’re able to offer tremendous value with expanded services for 9th and 10th graders. We can deliver our full packages flexibly, but when it comes to blood, sweat, and tears, we’d prefer to leave the crying and bleeding to people who are less well-prepared.

What’s with the Price?

For our comprehensive service, you can expect to pay a sum in the low five figures.

Working with us is a significant investment in your future. 

And we’re certain that we’re worth every penny. Why?

Our coaches work with a strictly limited number of clients each year.

Our service is truly comprehensive.

We’re unapologetic about the quality of our work.

Our students thrive in college and beyond.

We’re fully invested in our clients, and they know it

Here are a few things former college admissions clients have to say about working with their Menlo Coaching consultant:

When I brought my story to Jason, there was something about it that I wasn’t happy with, but I couldn’t tell what it was. It was amazing how quickly Jason seemed to understand the core message I wanted to communicate to colleges. He was able to help me find connections between my passions and memories that hadn’t occurred to me before, and to integrate these connections in a way that felt really authentic. I’m grateful for his thoughtful coaching and couldn’t be happier with my results!

Bowdoin, Class of 2024

I was naturally not good at writing expressive essays and was intimidated by the American college application process. However, thanks to Jason’s great skill and his passion for storytelling, I was able to develop a profile and essays that were organized and coherent. I was even surprised by how I could emphasize my accomplishments, creativity, and academic insights. Jason made me think harder about the things I had done to reveal more of my character, and offered suggestions on how to organize my ideas. I felt that he was dedicating both his brain and heart to help me reach my academic goal. His passion and knowledge is a rare attribute in any field, and it helped me a lot to get to where I’m at now.

UCLA, Class of 2023

Jason, you have helped me so much during my application season – not just academically, but also helped me see life differently through our sharing of stories and perspectives. You have really helped me push myself beyond my boundaries and learn to persist until I reach my goal. Having you as a mentor/advisor/college-counselor for almost a year was such a blessing and is definitely something I’ve missed. People are lucky to be surrounded by your energy.

UCSB, Class of 2025

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