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At McDonough College Consulting, our mission is to reduce the stress students and families feel during the college application process. We love getting to know our students, hearing their stories, and learning what motivates them. Working closely with each individual student, we help them to assess their strengths, identify opportunities, create a balanced college list and craft a seamless story throughout their application. By the end of the process, our goal is to find a college where our students will thrive.

Students and families come to us at different stages in the college application process. Students can choose from the comprehensive year long program, summer intensive program or hourly consultations. Each plan is tailored to the needs of your student. The choice is yours.


The comprehensive program guides the student through every step of the college application process


The summer intensive program jump starts your student during the summer to avoid the stress of fall


The hourly program is designed to address any specific aspect(s) of the college admissions process


We offer a free 30 minute complimentary consultation to help you decide where your student needs help

Comprehensive Program

Our comprehensive program is designed to meet the needs of high school upperclassmen as they navigate the complexities of the college admissions process. For students on the comprehensive program, we manage the overall process. Program students begin in January of their junior year and have appointments on a regular basis. We closely monitor their progress to make sure they are on track and ahead of schedule. Comprehensive program students receive priority scheduling during the busy fall season.

Junior Year


  • Analyze and explore personal strengths and potential future careers
  • Consider academic majors, college qualities and characteristics
  • Create standardized test plan and schedule
  • Research a balanced list of perfect-fit colleges (including reach, target, and safety schools)
  • Identify ideal extracurricular opportunities for a stellar activity resumé
  • Plan campus visits and tour itineraries
  • Secure outstanding letters of recommendation

Junior Year


  • Begin essay brainstorm sessions
  • Develop two main personal essays for Common Application and UCs
  • Narrow down college list based upon trips and student parameters
  • Finalize a balanced list of perfect-fit colleges (including reach, target, and safety schools)
  • Schedule and practice for college interviews
  • Identify supplemental essays available after August 1st

Senior Year


  • Ensure completion of senior package for recommendations
  • Finalize main and supplemental college essays
  • Send standardized test scores
  • Complete college applications
  • Request and track required materials
  • Submit flawless applications and special supplements

Summer Intensive and Hourly Programs

For students on the program, we manage the overall process, whereas with hourly students we act as consultants. All of the application elements – college list, test strategy, recommendations, essays, resume and interview practice – are activities we can work on during the summer intensive and hourly appointments. Students who work with us on an hourly basis are for the most part focused and independent. They contact us when they want to come in for fine-tuning of specific areas. At the end of the appointment we let the students know what they still need to work on.

We work with all types of students.

Ivy League and top tier applicants

UC and CSU applicants

Performing arts


Students with learning and emotional issues

Home-schooled students

Transfer students

Students with low GPAs

International students


We guide students through every step of the application process

Planning and Timelines

Organize your student from beginning to end

Develop a customized timeline with key milestones and due dates

Determine early vs regular decision strategy

Testing Recommendation

Identify the test best suited to your student: ACT vs SAT

Develop standardized testing schedule

Determine best SAT II subject tests, if needed

College Selection

Determine college selection based upon student criteria

Develop a balanced college list: reach, target and safety schools

Help students research and plan college visits

Essay Development and Review

Brainstorm essay topics to tell your student’s unique story

Guide student in how to weave their story throughout

Edit and critique all essays

Résumé Creation

Prepare a detailed list of student activities and accomplishments

Identify additional opportunities to strengthen resume

Help plan a meaningful summer that stands out to colleges

Other Services

Career interest testing

Interview Preparation

Summer planning

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