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When Great Grades and Extracurriculars are not Enough!

My Students Have Been Offered Admission To:
Washington University, Northeastern, USC, Tulane, UCLA, University of Michigan,
Syracuse, UCSD, George Washington University, UCSB, Cal Poly - SLO,
Boston University, Barnard, Trinity College, Bucknell, and many others
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Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid when Applying to College
    Increase Your Chance of Admission         
Do these strategies really work?  Yes - I've helped numerous students avoid costly mistakes, which can derail the college application process before it even begins!
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"When Great Grades and Extracurriculars Are Not Enough!"

An Open Letter to Parents  


We all want the best for our children, and that has not changed over time.  What has changed is the path to that better future.  Applying to college today is nothing like it was when you applied.  The days of applying to only one or two colleges are long gone, and there are no more “sure things.”


Despite what many would like to believe, being accepted to selective colleges is not based on academic merit and well-rounded extracurriculars alone.  A 4.0 and balanced resume will rarely be enough to get your teen into his or her “dream” college. Colleges have their own agendas that are outside the interests of any one particular student. There are also factors that colleges consider that are outside of your control.  That’s why many students (and parents too) are left wondering why one of the peers with lower grades, test scores, extracurriculars etc., was accepted to a particular college, and he or she was not.


Furthermore, in today’s world of hefty college price tags, most parents are looking for some relief, but many colleges which offer significant discounts are not known to your teen because they are not common household names or applied to by their peers.


Why Does it Matter Where Your Teen Applies to College?


  • Because students dissatisfied with their college choice often drop out. As a matter of fact, more than 30 percent of students who start at a four-year college leave without graduating. That is a lot of potential debt with no degree to show for it.


  • Because your teen needs to be able to get in.  He or she is likely to spend a lot of time, money, and energy in the process of becoming a competitive applicant, so he or she better be sure they are applying to at least some colleges that want them as much as they want those colleges.


















  • Because you have to be able to afford it and where your teen applies can determine how much need-based financial aid and/or merit scholarship money they are likely to receive.  Cost will also likely dictate whether your teen will have to work part-time during his or her college years.


  • Because the college has to offer what your teen wants to study.  Not all colleges offer accounting or American History or neuroscience, etc.  Many students will change their major during college, but if your teen truly has a sincere interest in a particular area of study, it is a huge mistake not making sure the colleges he or she applies to offer that area of study.


  • Because your teen has to like it there.  The location, setting, class size, dorm conditions, academic challenge, social opportunities, etc., all impact a student’s satisfaction with their college experience.  They need to consider these things when choosing the colleges to which they will apply.


Why You Should Consider Hiring a College Counselor…


About 1.9 million freshmen enter college each year.  About 8% of those students worked with private educational consultants to help them navigate the college planning and application process, and one out of four of those students had superior grades and extracurriculars. 

How did this come to be?  Those parents realized that:


  • Academic achievement and a balanced resume alone is rarely enough for admission to selective colleges.

  • Even the most well-intentioned school counselors simply do not have the time to address the unique characteristics and ambitions of each student.


  • Typical high school guidance counselors in a public high school spend only 20% of their time on college-related issues; even in private high schools, typical guidance counselors spend only 50% of their time on college-related issues.


  • The average ratio of students to guidance counselors in public high schools in the United States is 500 to 1 and in California, the ratio is 750 to 1.


  • They don’t have the time or desire to educate themselves about the strategy behind gaining college acceptance.   


  • They want the expertise of a college counselor who has helped students achieve college admissions success. 

  • There are no practice rounds when applying to college; you have to get it right the first time.

Do you agree with these parents? 


If you do, I’d like to tell you about my approach to college counseling and how I can help your teen maximize his or her chances of college admission. 

My Approach incorporates proven strategies that allow applicants to standout in the college admissions process at selective colleges.   It is a Step-by-Step Method that keeps the process on track and eliminates unnecessary mistakes and missed opportunities.


The STANDOUT Method for College Admissions Success is based on 10 years of personal experience working with high school students who were successful in obtaining admissions to selective colleges and extensive research gaining an insight into what colleges are looking for in applicants, as well as understanding the outside pressures put on admission officers to support their colleges personal needs and objectives.

The "STANDOUT" Method incorporates key factors that allow students to standout from the crowd by maximizing potential opportunities while still in high school, by presenting a cohesive story of their strengths and ambitions that is unique and detailed, and are by applying to colleges that make sense in terms of cost, likelihood or admission, major considerations, and college preferences.  

The competition for selective colleges is fierce.  Students have to standout from the crowd.  The STANDOUT Method allows students to do just that....STANDOUT in the college admissions process!


The STANDOUT Method focuses on the 2 major areas of the college planning and application process:  Strategy and Mechanics.  


Most students pour their time and energy into the mechanics of the application, with too little attention paid upfront in building a college list that makes sense in terms of their objectives and the reality of their financial circumstances and academic history.


This mistake often results in disappointment with regard to college acceptances, financial aid or both.


So, what do I mean by Strategy and Mechanics?


Strategy refers to:


  • Building a list of colleges that makes sense in terms of admission and cost,


  • Improving students’ chances of admission, while they are still in high school, and


  • Crafting and executing a  plan to make the colleges they want, want them.

Mechanics refers to:


  • Crafting an application that standouts by telling a detailed, cohesive story of who the student is (i.e., personal qualities and characteristics),

  • What he or she has overcome,

  • What he or she has accomplished and what he or she hopes to accomplish in college and beyond, and

  • Why he or she is a good fit for a particular college. 

I teach The "STANDOUT" Method to students in one of three ways, designed to fit their level of need for guidance and coaching.




The "STANDOUT" Method  

One Method - 3 Ways


"Each year, there are approximately 80,000 high school valedictorians and salutatorians and more than a quarter of a million high school seniors applying to college with a perfect 4.0. 


You have all heard the stories of high-achieving students who were not accepted to any of the colleges to which they applied. 


You do not want your teen to be one of those stories!"

Best Value
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Learn What To Do
(Focus your time and energy on the factors in the admissions process that you can do something about)



  • A 90 minute live online webcast (60 minutes of training; 30 minutes of Q and A.)   Parents are welcome to join the session!

  • A complete OVERVIEW of The "STANDOUT" Method. Learn what to and where to focus your time and attention to increase your chance of admissions success.

  • A review of what it takes to get into a selective colleges so that you can make smart decisions before applying

  • Samples and templates for resumes and extracurricular activities

  • Downloadable PDF's of course materials 

  • Guarantee - no more than 10 students on the webcast


  • A special tutorial on how to complete the "Why this College?" essay

College Students

Learn What To Do And How To Do It
to increase your chances of being accepted to selective colleges

(Limited Number of Sessions left for 2021)



(Over $1,500 of Value)

  • A 90 minute live online webcast and deep dive into The "Standout" Method over 4 consecutive weeks (90 minutes of training; 30 minutes of Q and A per session).   Parents are encouraged to listen in on the training

  • How to write STANDOUT:

    • Applications,

    • Essays,

    • Resumes, and

    • Extracurricular Activities

  • How to create a STANDOUT college list that makes sense in terms of affordability, chances of getting in, personal preferences, and opportunities to study

  • How to improve your academic record while still in high school   

  • A review of what it takes to get into a selective colleges so that you can make smart decisions before applying

  • Downloadable PDFs of course materials

  • Samples and templates for resumes and extracurricular activities and awards

  • Customizable deadline charts for all phases of the application process (pre-application, application, and post-application phases)

  • Email access - you and your teen may have additional questions throughout the college planning and application process after the formal 4 week training has ended,  As I am invested in your success - as part of this programs offerings, I will make myself available to you by email until May 1st of Senior Year (Limit: 3 emails per month).  

  • Guarantee - no more than 5 students online per webcast


And More….

  • A campus-visit guide and spreadsheet allowing you to make the most of your college visits and allowing for easy college comparisons

  • A financial aid award letter spreadsheet, allowing you to compare your financial aid awards side-by-side


And Still More…

  • A bonus PDF on What to do and When after you select your college.

And the "Ultimate" More...

I feel so strongly about the quality of the information presented in The "Standout" Method, that I am offering it to you with a 20-day money back guarantee.  

If after attending the first 2 weeks of the program, you or your teen does not think The Standout Method will help him or her improve his or her chances of college admission, simply email me within 20 days of the first session, and I will refund your money, no questions asked.  


The training, powerpoint presentations, and spreadsheets are the very same ones I use with my private clients for one-to-one counseling and coaching.

Female Student

Learn What To Do and How To Do It with Individualized Instruction, Advice, Oversight, and Coaching from Linda Dennis



  • A minimum of 40 hours of individualized, one-on-one planning, review, and coaching


  • Review and assessment of current academic records and suggestions for opportunities to improve academic strengths and weaknesses while still in high school 

  • Review and assessment of extracurricular activities including leadership roles

  • Assisting the student in developing a  strategy for taking standardized tests -  SAT/ACT, SAT subject tests

  • Review early application deadlines (e.g. early decision, early action, etc.) to determine if advantageous for the student

  • Helping the student to identify and prioritize college preferences - what is important to him or her (e.g., accessibility of professors, the opportunity to study abroad, or a school that offers an academic/social balance)

  • Building a college list that matches the student’s academic, social, and financial needs

  • Providing a series of worksheets to keep the student on target for what to do and when (deadline charts)

  • Helping the student to identify teachers who may be writing his/her letters of recommendation – whom should they ask, when to ask, and what should they ask for in a letter of recommendation

  • Providing a strategy for visiting college campuses – when, where, and how?

  • Mock interviews – I stage mock college interviews to allow the student to become comfortable with the question and answer process.  I prepare the student by providing an outline of frequently asked questions so that they may prepare their answers, which we then practice, review, and critique

  • Guidance for and review of essays and personal statements. Please Note: I do not write essays or personal statements for the student!

  • Review of the completed application package prior to submission by the student; however, the application contents and timeliness of submission remain the sole responsibility of the student

  • If deferred or waitlisted - what to do and when

  • Assisting the student in making the college choice - weighing his/her college options  


Linda Dennis, M.A. is the Founder of iCollege Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that helps high school students navigate the college planning and application process in order to recognize their dreams of attending college.  As an inspiring and in-demand counselor, trainer, and coach, Linda has taught students of all academic abilities through a unique framework to strategize and create college plans that produce results.  

Linda found her passion and life’s work in the field of college consulting - a perfect blend of her interpersonal and analytical skills.  As a former high school college counselor and private consultant, Linda’s depth of knowledge and expertise has been highly praised by former students and families alike. She holds a Certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from the University of California at Irvine, a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Phillips Graduate Institute and a Bachelor’s Degree from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. 

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“Linda Dennis took the time to get to know our son, his interests and to provide recommendations for great colleges that met his needs and ones that we would not have found on our own. She was caring, flexible and responsive. We found the perfect place and our son is happy and performing well in his new environment. I highly recommend Linda Dennis and iCollege Consulting.”

                                                              J.Y. Parent

“Thank you so, so much for assisting me in the craziness of the college process.  This is an important decision for me and I am infinitely grateful that you stuck with me through all of it.  I will always appreciate all of your time, suggestions, and advice.”

                                                              H.A. Student

“Linda is highly intelligent and very resourceful. She has been highly professional at every stage of the application process.  I cannot emphasize enough how helpful she has been in choosing appropriate colleges and making sure that we followed through with what was required during all stages of the application process. Working with Linda has been a pleasure.  She has my highest recommendation.”

                                                              J.W. Parent


"Linda Dennis was phenomenal in assisting me in my college procress.  She was very knowledgeable, creative, and effective.  Linda Identified the schools  that were perfect choices for my interests and helped me achieve my goals in order to gain admissions.  I am most appreciative and would highly recommend Linda Dennis in her college counseling services.

                                                             M.A. Student




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