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.


Initial Consultation

The initial consultation is 90 minutes and consists of an in-depth interview with the student and the student's family, either in person, by telephone, or via Skype. During the meeting, we will review the student's transcripts, test scores, extracurricular activities, and life experiences and discuss how each of these components will be evaluated by college admissions officers and how students can build on their strengths and interests in order to put their best foot forward -- in completing college applications, in and out of the classroom, and in life.

The consultation includes a report identifying the student's strengths and goals, a strategic plan for the admissions process, and recommendations for follow-up as appropriate. 

Follow-up Consulting and Editing

Grades 9-11

After the initial consultation, we meet twice a year, or more frequently as needed, to discuss academic progress, standardized test timing and preparation, letters of recommendation, extracurricular interests and accomplishments, and summer plans.

Grade 12

Between the end of the student's junior year and the beginning of the senior year, we focus our work on identifying essay topics and helping students to find their own voice and to craft essays that are uniquely their own. Most of our communication during the fall of senior year takes place online or by telephone as we revise multiple drafts; we schedule face-to-face meetings as appropriate to discuss interview strategies, logistics and timing of multiple applications, early action and early decision programs, and other special circumstances as they arise.

Transfer and Graduate Applicants

Professional editing of personal statements is available.

Average Consulting Time and Fees

Because each student varies in terms of writing ability, number of applications, and amount of support desired, it is difficult to predict the total number of hours used by students in the fall of their senior year. Typically, students in grades 9-11 use 3-5 consulting hours per year; the bulk of our work together occurs during the summer between junior year and fall of senior year. At that time, students working on multiple applications use anywhere from 10-40 or more total editing and consulting hours. I charge fractionally at my current hourly rate.

Current Availability

At this time I no longer have openings for ongoing work with new students. A one-time consultation may be scheduled on a space-available basis, and students interested in continued work may choose to have their names placed on a waiting list.