Irena Smith, Ph.D.

College Admissions Consulting

Irena is based in Palo Alto, CA and provides private college admissions consulting to students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, across the United States, and around the world.

Over the past eight application seasons, Irena's students have been admitted to every University of California campus as well as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, UPenn, Dartmouth, MIT, University of Chicago, Duke, Hamilton, Rice, USC, Caltech, Pomona, Northwestern, Swarthmore, Reed, Emory, Middlebury, Williams, Emerson, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, and many other colleges across the country.


We couldn’t have done it without you and we have a new saying in our house: ‘What would Irena say?’
— Parent, USC student
The essay really did become more than just a personal statement. The process of writing it prompted a great deal of internal reflection (unlike most school-related activities), and the finished product serves as a memoir of the first 18 years of my life.
— Student, Columbia University
The process of working with you is a rewarding and inspiring experience for our daughter. You have helped her to grasp a better idea of who she is at this stage of her life. This awakening is invaluable regardless of what college she lands.
— Parent, UC Berkeley student
Irena guided my daughter through the college application process, alleviating the stress and making the essay writing a joy. Irena’s talents as a writer and teacher, combined with her experience as an admissions counselor, helped my daughter craft and hone personal essays in her own voice, using her own style. Irena’s editing and suggestions guided my daughter in avoiding mistakes and understanding what she had to offer a college, while keeping in mind what the admissions office audience would be looking for in an essay and on an application. You won’t find a better college counselor or editor!
— Parent, Princeton University student
It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you... When we met, I doubted my ability to get into any of the colleges. Now all the hard work has paid off!”
— Student, UC Berkeley
It’s amazing how good you are at what you do.
— Parent, UCLA student, Regents Scholar