College Advising Services

The experienced,  professional counselors  at Clear Directions assist high school sophomores, juniors, seniors, as well as college students seeking to transfer. Our services are designed to empower students and families to navigate the college admission process with success

Through the ClearDirectionsCustomCollegePlan.com website, students can research colleges with ease. Requirements and deadlines are clear; keeping students organized.


Schedule your "Meet and Greet"

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+ “Meet and Greet”

The purpose of our “meet and greet” is for the consultants at Clear Directions to describe our approach to working with high school students and their families throughout the college admissions process. We will outline the steps in our advising services, as well as the timeline for the months ahead.

We will describe our Clear Directions Custom College Plan website that helps students research colleges and organize application tasks and deadlines. We will clarify responsibilities as we collaborate with families and students to navigate the admissions process. We will always leave time for questions from parents and students. Our goal is to be sure that everyone has a level of comfort as we begin our work together. Typically these meetings are about 45 minutes in duration.

+ Identifying the Best Fit Colleges

We begin the process of conversing with the student and getting to know them, while identifying interests and goals, and assessing academic grades and courses. We can then formulate a preliminary list of suggested colleges. These colleges would fit the student academically, socially, and financially. As students grow and change, visit colleges, and accrue additional grades and test scores, we update the list accordingly. Our counselors can offer personality and/or career assessments to help provide an understanding of your child's interests and possible academic and career aspirations.

Following research, feedback from campus visits, and honest conversations will help shape and refine the college list. A student’s final selection of colleges will include a range of selectivity while providing the opportunities the student is seeking in their college experience.

+ High School Coursework

We will advise on current and future courses, summer programs, internships, and extracurricular activities that will challenge and excite your child as well as enhance their self knowledge and confidence in future plans.

+ Extracurricular Resume

The importance of an Activities Resume is to highlight your child’s strengths and inform colleges about students’ accomplishments, talents and interests. We will assist in developing an effective resume emphasizing their extra-curricular activities, awards, honors, community service projects, internships, and employment to submit with college and scholarship applications. A resume is also often requested by teachers who agree to write letters of recommendation, and can provide a framework to present to admissions staff during a campus interview.

+ Essay Writing and Guidance

While grades, strength of curriculum, and,, for many colleges, standardized test scores are almost always the most significant factors in admissions, a well written essay that captures the student can be an important component of the application. With a clear understanding of the role that essays play in the admissions process, we will help your child to brainstorm and develop ideas with a purposeful emphasis on authenticity. Our guidance will help students reveal their genuine voices and convey their message in a style and format that will appeal to the admissions officers who read the essays. Many colleges require several essays, we assist with the selection of topics and keeping students on track to meet the deadlines and requirements.

+ College Visits

College visits play a crucial role in determining if a college or university you are considering is the right “fit” for you. College visits are also an important element when having to answer the college-specific supplemental essay, “Why us?” We provide guidance in making the most of college visits, from questions to ask to specific things to look for while visiting schools. In addition, many colleges keep track of a student’s demonstrated interest in their campus, and therefore a college visit has become an expectation at many schools.

A debrief after each visitation will help students refine their thinking about their preferences, and help identify appropriate colleges for future visits.

Interviews are not universally required but when necessary we can spend a session practicing interview skills and building confidence through mock interviews.

+ Testing Schedule

“Should I take the ACT or SAT? “What’s the difference? How many times should I take them? How should I study? We will assist in answering all of these questions and more. We offer a list of resources for Test Prep. We help students develop the most beneficial testing schedule, and provide feedback regarding which standardized tests would most benefit your child. We also assist in the process of reporting scores to colleges.

+ Letters of Recommendations

We will advise students on the best methods to select and approach teachers for letters of recommendation. Some colleges may accept additional letters of recommendation, and we will assist the student with that process as well.

+ Application Preparation

We will facilitate the college application process step by step by creating a manageable schedule to meet deadlines and stay organized throughout the entire process. We will give strategic advice on application options including early action, early decision, rolling, and regular decision. Students submit their first applications with us, and become comfortable submitting further applications independently

+ Athletic Recruitment

Student-athletes make up a sizable portion of college-bound students, whether it is Division I, II, or III. The college admissions process can be more complicated and stressful for talented athletes who are being recruited to compete at the college level. It is essential to work with a college advisor who can guide the student athlete through the steps and timelines-- Joanne Trattner assists student-athletes by:

  • Determining the level of play
  • Guiding the student’s communication with coaches
  • Composing an athletic profile
  • Sorting through myths and facts

David Stoeckel, President of the College Recruiting Group and nationally recognized athletic recruitment expert, has trained Joanne and continues to serve as a valuable resource to her and the students she assists. The goal is always to target the “Best-Fit” college both athletically and academically by building a relationship with student-athletes. Joanne can help maximize success while providing confidence and support along their journey.

+ Advising for students with learning differences, ADHD, IEP’s and 504 Plans

Many colleges offer a range of academic support for students. All of the counselors at Clear Directions are knowledgeable about these programs and services and can guide students to the programs and settings that are most appropriate. Joseph Cafaro, a school psychologist and academic advisor for students at Fairleigh Dickinson University's Regional Center for Students with Learning Disabilities can meet with student and or parents. He can offer insight into the current evaluations of students and advise about the documentation that is required for accomodations at the college level. Joe can discuss the academic transition to college and help students assess their own needs for success.

+ Final Decision

There is always a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when applications are submitted. As we wait for the responses from colleges we know our relationship has not ended. Sometimes the hardest decision in the process is deciding among the schools your child was accepted to. We will help guide both parents and student to determine which school best meets their needs and help decipher financial award letters as well. We can also assist with deferral and wait-list strategies, if needed.

+ Help Along the Way

There are always questions - sometimes about the nuts and bolts of the process, sometimes deep philosophical ones. We are always here to set the record straight with valid information. There are many sources of misinformation, gossip and urban legends that exist; we are here to inform, reassure and always work with the very best interest of the student as our number one priority