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Meet Our Counselors

  • Leader Name

    Casey Near

    Senior Director

    - Former Admissions Counselor, Mills College

    - Summa cum laude graduate, Scripps College

    - Outstanding Collegewise Counselor Award, 2014

  • Leader Name

    Chelsea Block

    General Manager, North America

    - M.Ed. in School Counseling, USC

    - Certificate in College Counseling, UCLA

    - B.A., University of Michigan

  • Leader Name

    Jazzmin Estebane

    College Counselor

    - B.A., Yale University

    - Former Admissions Officer and Assistant Dean of Admissions, Pomona College

    - Former Summer Recruitment Coordinator, Yale Undergraduate Admissions

  • Leader Name

    Kailey Hockridge

    College Counselor

    - M.A. Psychological Counseling, Ed.M. Mental Health Counseling, Columbia University

    - Former Assistant Head Counselor for a private college counseling company

    - Co-author, "A Structural Analysis of Constructs Related to the Adaptation to College"

  • Leader Name

    Katie Sprague

    Senior Director

    - M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and M.Ed. in School Counseling, Columbia University

    - Former School Counseling Intern, High School for Math, Science, and Engineering

  • Leader Name

    Kristin Sullivan


    - B.A., University of Michigan, M.A., Michigan State

    - Sample admissions outcomes: Harvard, Brown, Yale, Georgetown

  • Leader Name

    Lauren DeMeo


    - B.S., Georgetown University

    - Sample admissions outcomes: Columbia, NYU Stern, Middlebury, Boston University

  • Leader Name

    Nan Yuasa

    Senior Director

    - B.A., Georgetown University

    - M.A. in School Counseling, Seton Hall University

    - Alumni Interviewer for Georgetown University

  • Leader Name

    Rebecca Putter


    - Summa cum laude graduate, NYU

    - M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, UT Austin

    - Former Pre-Law Advisor and Career Coach, UT Austin

  • Leader Name

    Rhiannon Schade


    - Former Admissions Counselor, Sweet Briar College

    - M.S.Ed. in Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania

    - Former Graduate Assistant for Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Pennsylvania

  • Leader Name

    Tara Wessel Swoboda

    Senior Director

    - Former Assistant Director/Program Specialist, USC Marshall School of Business

    - Former Scholarship Auditor and International Field Study Staff, University of Southern California

    - B.A. and Peer Counselor, University of California at Berkeley

  • Leader Name

    Zofia Bąkowska


    - B.A., University of Oxford, M.A., University College London

    - British Council Education UK Agents Training Certificate (May 2018)

    - Sample admissions outcomes: University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, London School of Economics

Our Story

Since 1999...

Kevin McMullin founded Collegewise in Irvine, California, in 1999 using his last paycheck from his previous job. He worked with nine students that fall at their kitchen tables to help them find the right colleges and complete their applications.

A Different Kind of College Counseling

For too many families, the college admissions process was scary, stressful, and unsuccessful. Kevin wanted to give Collegewise families the opposite experience. It worked. One year later, over 100 families were enrolled in the Collegewise program, and Kevin was no longer the only counselor.

collegewise office

Growing Our Company One Customer at a Time

In the years that followed, we refined our Collegewise system and slowly grew our company with additional offices, driven by word of mouth from families who were thankful that we’d taken the stress out of the process and helped them achieve their goals. We hired counselors who kids liked and parents trusted. We turned our offices into a place where every family left feeling even better than they did when they arrived, and where students could reliably get top notch admissions advice that would take them one step closer to their college aspirations.

Collegewise Today

Almost 20 years after Kevin met with his first student at a kitchen table in Southern California, Collegewise has become America's largest college counseling organization and is now expanding in Vietnam and Singapore as part of the A-Star brand. With over 60 admissions experts banding together, we’re out to change the way that families approach the college admissions process. We think this should be an exciting time for students and parents, not a stressful, anxiety-ridden, cardiac arrest-inducing rite of passage. Whether you hire one of our counselors, read our book, or just browse our blog (where we give away free advice every day), we’re going to be there injecting sanity and perspective into the process and helping you get the results you're looking for when you apply to schools in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Why Collegewise

Proven results

95% of Collegewise students are admitted to one of their top three university choices. How do we get such incredible results? We’ve been mastering the art of college admissions counseling for 19 years, which is longer than most of our students have been alive!

Premier counselors

Many of our counselors worked in the admissions offices of highly selective universities like Yale and the University of Chicago. They made decisions to admit and deny thousands of qualified applicants, so they know exactly what it takes to be admitted, and they apply that knowledge to help their students get into selective programs and universities.

Deep knowledge

With more than 60 college admissions experts working for Collegewise, we have specialists in every area, from athletic recruiting to engineering to direct med.

One-on-one approach

Our team will match your family with your best-fit counselor. Your counselor will work one-on-one with your family throughout your high school career to help you create a customized application strategy to maximize your chances of admission.

Emphasis on fit

We believe that finding the colleges and majors that match your career aspirations, interests, and budget is crucial to your future success. We help you find your perfect counseling match, and your counselor will help you select your future college home.

Expert project management

Working with Collegewise means never having to nag your student to complete an application or write an essay. Your Collegewise counselor will manage the process every step of the way.

Informed decisions

You’ll never have to guess what steps you should take to make attending college in the UK, the US, Australia, or Canada a reality. We’ll help you make the best decisions for your family.

Meet Our Team

  • Leader Name

    Joel Block


  • Leader Name

    Arun Ponnusamy

    Chief Academic Officer

  • Leader Name

    Bang Pham

    Country Manager

Organizations We Work With




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