College Counselor

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What College Is All About

Dobler College ConsultingOn Monday I spent the day at Yale as my brother-in-law Brian graduated with his MBA from the School of Management. It was an awesome day and I was both incredibly proud of him and honored at the same time just to be there in attendance as Brian and his classmates took their first steps towards the rest of their lives.

You see, graduation isn’t just about your college career coming to an end. It’s about a new beginning. It’s about potential. It’s about hope.

It’s about taking everything you learned, experienced, fought for, struggled with and even failed at and bringing it with you out into the greater world and trying your hardest to do something good with it.

And while Brian made the most of his time at Yale, it wasn’t necessarily about Yale. It was about him working harder than he ever has before; creating relationships with faculty and other students that will transform his future; travelling abroad – more than once – to gain a better understanding of how the world works and, more importantly, how it doesn’t  and it was about making the necessary sacrifices (which some of us – me included – selfishly did not always understand) to ensure that he seized every opportunity available to him.

But even if he didn’t go to Yale, Brian still would have succeeded. Because no matter where he went for his MBA, Brian was going to work hard and do all the things he needed to do to succeed.

And that’s the point about going to college. No matter where you go, going out there and wringing every last drop of opportunity out of the experience so that when you graduate you can look back and say, without a doubt, that you have no regrets, is what it’s all about. You do that and you will find success and happiness in your life.

And who doesn’t want to be successful and happy?

Congratulations to my other little brother, Brian Coulombe, and every other graduate of the class of 2013! May you go out now, create your place in life and change the world for the better.

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Mom in Cheshire Grateful For Dobler College Consulting

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this story from a Cheshire mom whose daughter I have worked with over the past year:

“As my phone rings AGAIN and it’s my sister calling to tell me another thing I should be doing for my daughter’s college to-do list, I have heart failure.  I can’t hang up fast enough to yell for my sixteen-year old to come downstairs so I can ask her if she has done it.  She looks at me like I am crazy and says, ‘mom, Eric and I did that two months ago.’  Every single time this scenario plays out, her answer is always the same.  Not only is she prepared, she has had whatever is needed done well before the deadline.  Eric has made this process so uncomplicated and actually enjoyable!

The most important thing he has done for parent and child alike is to make my daughter accountable. The parents are not responsible to get things done for college. The student is.

This has helped my daughter in the growing-up process.  She also owns her college experience.  She did the work, she picked the colleges, and she succeeded in her first hurdle of her college experience.  Is she nervous? Absolutely, but thanks to Eric she couldn’t be anymore prepared for what lies ahead.  For this we are extremely grateful.”

To have the opportunity to work with families like this and to know that our work together has made a difference in their lives, is something I am so thankful for.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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What It Means To Be A Private College Counselor

I recently joined a BNI here in Cheshire and I have to say that I’m pretty excited to be a part of such an awesome organization. Essentially, BNI is a group of local professionals who help each other network and market their services. At the start of each meeting you get to do a 30 second commercial – a chance to tell the group what you do so that they can understand your business and refer people to you who may be in need of your services.

It’s a great organization built on some outstanding people who just really want to help. I don’t say all of this because I want you to go out and join BNI (though you really should if you own your own business and want to be a better networker). But, I do say it because I’ve realized very quickly that what I do as a college consultant is not very commonplace.

I mean, let’s be honest here, I don’t fit into a category that’s easily recognized or understood like an attorney, an accountant or a financial planner. And for the people who do understand what I do, the assumption is often that my services are for rich folks only.

So, I figured it was time to talk a little more about what I do, why it matters and just how affordable I am.

Who am I? I’m a private college counselor

I work for families in need of good, sound college planning and advice. Some families hire me because their son or daughter is not getting enough guidance from their high school counselor. Others hire me for a second opinion or just to fill in the gaps. For twelve years, I traveled around New England and read thousands of applications making admit and deny decisions for both the University of New Haven and Central Connecticut State University. Whether I’m providing insight into how the admissions process works, helping a student to prepare for an interview or providing feedback on an essay, I draw on these experiences every day.

What do I do? I counsel students and their families on college planning

I offer college planning services that families can choose from and everything I do can be customized to fit each student’s individual needs. Some students will only need my help for one or two meetings while others may hire me to help them for upwards of a year and a half. Regardless of their need, I put together an affordable plan to meet their needs.

When do I do it? I make myself available during non-traditional hours

I work evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. Why? Because that’s when it’s convenient for students and their families. I also do a lot of work by email, phone and Skype for students who live out of state or even outside the country.

Where do I do it? I come to you

I always like to meet potential clients in person first. It gives them a chance to feel me out and ask questions before choosing to hire me. A local coffee shop like Starbucks is always a great choice! After that, it’s up to the client. We can work at their house, the local library or the coffee shop we first met at.

Why do I do it? Because families need the help

Due to large caseloads and other issues that require their attention, public high school counselors can rarely spend more than an hour of time per student each year on college planning. I hardly think that’s fair to any student who is trying to make one of the biggest and most complicated decisions of his or her life.

What does it cost? Not nearly as much as you would think 

My most comprehensive package, called “The Senior,” typically begins in the junior year and costs $2200, or about half of the national average. The timeline can span up to 18 months and includes nearly a dozen 60-90 minute meetings in addition to unlimited phone and email contact. I also offer small budget packages (anywhere from $700 to $1500) or a menu of services families can choose from at a rate of $125/hour.

Considering that the average four-year cost for college including tuition, room, and board can be anywhere from $80,000 to $160,000. Doesn’t it make sense to invest a small fraction of that amount to ensure that your son or daughter’s college experience is a successful one?

If you would like to know more about what I can do to help you, please use the comment box below – I would love to hear from you! You can also email me directly at


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