Summer Special

The college hunt is a complicated, overwhelming and dizzying process.

Throwing Caps

Stop wasting time in random internet list searches.

Before you spend hundreds in application fees or thousands in tuition,
spend time in a self-discovery process with Coach Val.

Coach Val has a unique set of experiences and insights along with a personable approach to mentorship relationships to be the partner you need in this journey.

place / near or far
small vs medium vs large
public vs private vs other
old or new(ish)
major / minor / other
student life and extra-curricular
& so many other facets of the college experience


hidden costs
longevity - financial health of the place
perceived quality
class sizes




Why Val?


Val is an Academic Insider as a former professor with more than 20 years experience including as a student advisor and prospective student contact.

With decades of experience as a designer, Val helps you navigate the user experience to hone in on the details that you need in the decision process.

Val provides a one-on-one customized experience as we team up to go on this journey.
You will have a reliable outsider companion who is completely neutral for you in your evaluation and who helps you to clarify your own path options.


Val brings insight into the College experience and can help you weed out options.
Higher education is rapidly changing due to demographics as well as the ramifications of the recent pandemic. Some things to consider in your search is the health of the institution and also any other circumstances in the particular place (such as drought, accessibility, etc.)

Did you Know?
Some schools are shutting their doors.
Some schools are shutting programs.
Val can help you assess the health of your possible options.


or contact by text with your email to start the free initial conversation

  nine 3 one 21 three 19 zero one


“I sought guidance for the college applications process last year, which led me to meet Val. Given that I am the oldest child in my family, it is safe to assume that I required any sort of help I could get because we had no idea what we were doing. My specific areas of concern surrounded essay guidance, college planning, and any other academic information I required, areas that Val helped me with immensely. Her ability to latch onto my needs and expectations, for instance, regarding location, majors, or programs, was impeccable. Her knowledge, especially as a professor herself, was also as impressive and just as helpful, given that she was able to obtain the proper resources and information regarding my colleges of choice, determining whether it met my personal requirements and needs.


During our meetings working together intently, she answered any inquiries I had, without any sort of judgment. I especially appreciated her assistance regarding essays and editing. At times that I had writer's block, or was unable to properly express my emotions in written form,  her support was wonderful. Asking questions, providing comments that sparked inspiration within me is the reason why I was able to create such a powerful and personal essay. Her entire approach throughout our meetings together made me feel comfortable, seen, and efficient because she constantly reminded me of my goals and aspirations related to my future career.  I definitely would not have been able to do it without her guidance and for that, I am extremely grateful."

Yamini / California / H.S. Class of 2021

"We are so impressed with how much work you did for (our son). We are so grateful."

A grateful Mom / California / Summer 2021

“Thanks a lot for everything. At first I didn't expect you to be this good before our first session, but you shocked me. I showed a friend and my guidance counselor what I had so far in the edited version (of my college application essay) and they seemed really impressed:) - some claiming they were about to cry."

Note: This student's story made me, Val, cry and he was able to take constructive criticism to transform a very difficult life story into a less than 600 word powerful essay.

Chauncy / New York / H.S. Class of 2021


Q & A

How does this work? What's the typical schedule?

All of our work is done through video conference typically during day time hours or on the weekend or evenings upon request. Most sessions are 1.5-2 hrs to get the biggest impact.

Reviewing college options is recommended to be a weekly process, but can be adjusted to several days in one week or bi-weekly. It really depends on if you already have a basic list or you are starting from scratch and want to be open to new ideas.

The most efficient schedule for college essay editing is 1.5 hr sessions either weekly or bi-weekly.

So we can start from scratch and look at a variety of school options which is typically FOUR 2 hour sessions. This will include research before the session and basic info entered into a shared google spreadsheet that includes links for reference.
Then we move into the application essay process. Val will help answer questions as you get your common app started, help be a sounding board for your prompt selection, and then work with you one on one in critique that helps you edit the essay to be effective within the word count limit.

If you already have your college list, then we can even just meet for one or two sessions to review the essay you have written.

What are the deadlines? When should I start?

Early application deadlines are in the early fall - typically in October and November. Regular deadlines are typically February 1, but each school may have specific requirements. Some schools may have a rolling application process. Because you will be in your senior year, it is beneficial to complete your applications and essays long before that final deadline.

Should I apply early action? What is early action?

You should only apply early action if you absolutely have your heart set on one or two places and you may be seeking a scholarship or other financial aid package from that place. Why do schools have early action? Basically, schools have seats to fill and they want to start with the most guarantee for them as to those seats being full in the fall. They have certain numbers to reach in their enrollment to be able to be financially stable. Many state schools aren't as worried about enrollment because they are the state option. Most often the private schools are competing for your interest and if you have the right criteria, grade level, etc. they want to appeal to you.

What happens after early action? The schools use early action and early commitment from those students who absolutely love their particular place. Once they have a definite number of paid deposits then they know how many more open seats they have. This is the target for the regular application process.

Should I visit a school before I apply?

The only time you should visit a school before you apply is if it is logistically accessible meaning within a certain driving distance. Schools will open their arms to show you around and all of their admissions offices are very responsive to prospective family visits. Some schools will have fall visitation days which is a great way to see the school because they will have formal tours. If you want to see a place when there is less fanfare and more reality, schedule your own visit. BUT, you don't need to visit schools until after you have been accepted.
Schools have much information and video access, virtual tours, interviews and more on their own websites and YouTube. In our sessions, I will help you find this information and we'll keep a database so that you can review all of the material available to you in that decision-making process.

Is Coach Val affiliated with any schools or programs?

Coach Val is not affiliated with any schools or official programs. She receives no funding or promotional advantage to steer you to one place over another. Val utilizes her academic insider knowledge to help guide you in this process. She uses her personal experiences of the college search and her knowledge of various programs through her connections in the industry while acting as a college professor for more than 20 years.

Do I need the SAT (or ACT)?

Most schools have moved to optional SAT or not requiring them at all. Schools are evaluating applications on a variety of components and have found that SAT scores can sometimes not give the whole picture of a student - especially those that aren't good test takers.

Due to covid-19, some schools have waived the SAT requirements for a year.

Admissions decisions are based on much more than just one test score or one element in general as they seek to find the best fit for their institution.
Please check each school's application requirements as this is a general

I only need help with my essay. What are my options to work with Val?

That's great! If you have already made your college choices and just need some help in reviewing your essay, that is where we will start.

The essay editing process could be completed in one session, but it usually takes 3 or 4 because it's such a tedious task to write something so personal in just 600 words. Many schools also have supplemental requirements either questions or shorter essays.

How do I start?

Each coaching relationship is customized for the individual person and family. It's best if we set up a 15 minute initial call to discuss your interests, needs, goals, dreams, etc. Then you'll receive a proposal of what we can work on together that will outline the recommendations for meeting times and duration of our work.

Can you help me when I get my acceptance letters?

Most definitely yes! Building rapport and a relationship with each person is the goal of this coaching process. Val has spent more than 20 years as an academic mentor and sounding board. The most important decision is the final one - where you choose to attend.

Based on our working sessions, Val will be able to help you evaluate the options that you have and can be the sounding board you need that is outside of the family opinions. We can talk about all aspects such as whether or not you will be able to find your favorite food at a nearby restaurant and we'll look at the faculty and other aspects of your major to make sure it's just the right fit.

What is Val's background?

Val has been called a ‘puzzler’ and someone with a gift of research and organizing (like a swiss army knife) by people who know and worked with her. As an INFJ, she is an advocate who works well with people, but has a really unique way of approaching problem-solving.

At 17, Val went through her own long college hunt before the internet. In fact, she went on a week-long road trip in her high school senior year with her mom to look at many options on her list up the east coast from Florida.

Most importantly, Val understands the essence of what attending college means and that it extends way beyond just taking classes. You want to feel like this is a home (away from home) and that’s what made her decision as to where to attend college (Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL).

Val has had the experience as a student in both a really small school and a really big school because she went to a huge research University for graduate school. She received an MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Florida. After more than two decades, Val decided to leave full time teaching and walked away from tenure in 2018 to have a different life path which includes coaching and tutoring.

Val brings her design thinking and design research skills to the college hunt process. As an academic insider from her role as a professor, she can help you understand that college isn’t 13th grade. There are many facets of curriculum and even student life that you can evaluate to assess your best option of where you want to call home for four years.

As a coach, Val brings her almost a full lifetime of experience working with young people in building relationships. Her time as a baby-sitter then nanny, a summer camp counselor, a college writing tutor, a Girl Scout leader for 5 years, and a faculty member who has spent much time as a student advisor, student club advisor, and even a point person for prospective students and their family provides the evidence of the commitment to work with people in a mentorship and supportive role.



Start Now

©2021 Wonder Wanderful Enterprises, LLC.