College Counselling

We offer a college counselling service for students wanting expert advice and mentoring from a dedicated advisor all the way through the US applications.

For those families who want tailored support throughout the US application process, we strongly recommend our college counselling service. We will assign you to a dedicated and experienced advisor who helps you to navigate the complex US admissions process from beginning to end. This includes advice on choosing colleges, demonstrating interest, standardised testing, scholarships and funding, preparing an artistic portfolio or musical audition, writing college essays, completing applications, and applying via an early admissions programme.

If you would like to discuss our college counselling service in more detail, please click the links below to book a free call with one of our Senior Counsellors or send us an enquiry:

Free Counselling Consultation Our Counsellors Get in touch

Service Overview

Our college counselling service is tailored to the needs of each student and the demands of college applications in two distinct stages.

Please note: For any students applying after May of Lower Sixth (Junior Grade), we recommend the Application Stage. For students starting before this, we recommend the Full Package option, which includes Preparation and Application.

  • Preparation:  In this stage, students will work with their counsellor to review their academic and extracurricular profile, apply to summer programs, list entrance requirements, form a timetable for standardized testing, plan college visits, work on a portfolio if required, and shape their demonstrated interest and early application strategy. This also includes a review of the strudent's social media presence, and creation of a LinkedIn profile if required. Students will also work with their counsellor to explore their learning and career preferences, and potential majors
  • Application:  In this stage, students will work with their counsellor to identify a list of colleges where they can pursue their academic and extracurricular interests to the fullest extent, where they will thrive and be happy. They will then work together on the applications, including brainstorming Common App/UC/other and Supplementary essay ideas that match the colleges. The student and counsellor will also finalize and implement the student’s early application and testing strategy, and the counslelor will oversee the whole process of completing the complex applications to the highest standard. The counsellor will support the student right up to starting university, so they can concentrate on school and be as organized as possible.
Free Counselling Consultation

Liaising With Schools

Schools are an essential part of the US application process and need to produce important documents including a school profile, student transcript, and letters of recommendation. We work very closely with schools to ensure they understand and fulfil these requirements. When students do not have an experienced guidance counsellor at their school, we are also able to advise the school on the US application process from the school’s perspective at no extra cost, ensuring that teachers understand how to write letters of recommendation for US colleges and put together transcripts, a school profile, and the Mid-Year and Final report.


The easiest way to pay for our college counselling service is through buying a full-service package, but we also offer payment at each of the stages above:

  • Application only (for students about to enter final year of school, or on gap years):  £9495+VAT*
  • Full-service:  £12995+VAT*
  • Supplementary Portfolio review: £1495+VAT
  • Full-service with a Co-Founder: £16800+VAT*

For those families requiring only essay support , or for those with very specialist requirements, such as disabilities, unusual one-off applications, or particular scholarship applications, our services may also be available by the hour, with prior agreement only. Our hourly pricing is as follows:

  • Founder or Senior Counsellor : £360+VAT per hour
  • Counsellor : £200+VAT per hour
  • *Essay support for students on counselling packages : £83.33+VAT per hour

Professional Associations and Codes of Conduct

As members of the International Association for College Admissions Counseling, we adhere to NACAC’s code of ethics and professional practice. For more information on how this code governs our work, please read  here .

To see how our own terms and conditions govern our college counselling, please click  here .

Our Counsellors

Simon Lewis

Simon is a co-founder of UES and the Head of College Counselling. He divides his time between UES and Latymer Upper School, where he works as Head of International University Applications. He has previously worked at Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire and oversaw the school's largest-ever cohort of US applications in 2019-20. He has worked in US applications for over a decade and has designed the college admissions programme at UES. Simon works closely with many of UES’s 40 school partners on their US applications provision and with the Fulbright Commission on their Sutton Trust US programme, which aims to widen access to US colleges. In partnership with the University Guy and Unifrog, he has set up international university discussion forums across the UK, shaping the national conversation around international applications. He brings an in-depth knowledge of the US applications process to the programme, including expertise in college counselling, standardised testing strategy, essay review, financial aid and scholarships, and application support. He has successfully supported students applying for a wide range of specialist majors, including architecture, contemporary and classical music, dance, and STEM subjects.

After graduating with a BA in Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2003, Simon qualified and worked as an English language teacher before working as a professional advisor and career mentor in the public and private sectors. His philosophy of advising is based on "fit", in that he strongly believes that students are most likely to be admitted and to be successful where they will be suited to the university's academic programme, extracurricular options, and campus culture.

Outside of UES he is a keen cellist and string arranger and has worked with Berklee College of Music’s Wadham Production Scholarship programme in the UK.

Free Consultation with Simon
Simon L UES

Jason Smith

Jason is the founder of UES and has 10 years' experience in working with students to help them gain admission to US colleges. As well as overseeing partnerships between UES and schools across the UK and Europe, he has previously worked with schools such as Wetherby Senior School, where he helped set up successful US universities provision. He also works closely with UES partners the Fulbright Commission on the Sutton Trust US programme, and regularly speaks for organisations such as the International Association for College Admission Counseling, and at top schools across the UK and Europe. Jason has developed a deep understanding of the many facets to a successful US college application and this is borne out by his students going on to study at such universities as Harvard, Duke, Notre Dame, UT Austin, and many more.

Jason has a First-Class Master's degree and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Nottingham. After graduating he carried out postdoctoral research in academia followed by nuclear research in industry and the European Commission. Outside of work, Jason is an ex-international competitor in Taekwondo, a keen skier, and a seasoned traveller.

Free Consultation with Jason
Jason S UES

Martine Gagnon

Over the past four years, Martine has visited nearly 75 universities in Europe, the US, and Canada. She even managed to explore the campuses of two universities in Mexico, and one in Thailand. This year, she will be adding even more to this list. Martine has worked in international admissions for over ten years, and guides students through every step of the admissions process, from creating balanced college lists and drafting essays, to editing portfolios and researching financial aid. She is also the in-house College Counsellor at Wetherby Senior School and Charterhouse, where she oversees close to 100 international university applications per year.

Martine’s background may be rooted in Languages and the Humanities, but she has used her interdisciplinary interests to help students in all fields of study, from Engineering to Economics, and the Arts to Translation. She has also mentored graduates in their Masters, MBA and PhD applications. A native of Montreal, Canada, she was able to spend a year during her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, and during her postgraduate studies, she taught English and Translation at UCL and La Sorbonne in Paris. Her love of everything university-related and travel has allowed her to teach and work across three continents, in three different languages!

Free Consultation with Martine
Martine G UES

Aida Rocci Ruiz

Aida Rocci has two passions: empowering and guiding students through their university application journey and theatre. Originally from Spain, Aida experienced first-hand the complexities of international applications, which fuels her desire to help other international students navigate the process. Using her training in Psychology, educational counseling techniques, and dramaturgy, Aida has helped students find their authentic voice in the application process, develop long-term key organizational and decision-making skills, and access leading universities in the US, Canada, and Europe. Aida works with students who are preparing to apply as undergraduate freshmen, transfer students, and master students.

Aida attended Harvard University for undergraduate, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors in Psychology in 2014. She then retuned to Harvard to pursue a Master's in Fine Arts in Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies at the American Repertory Institute in collaboration with the Moscow Art Theatre, followed by a second Master's in London at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Before attending Harvard, Aida studied at the prestigious business school CUNEF, in Madrid.

On top of counselling, she continues to work as theatre and film director and dramaturg.

Free Consultation with Aida
Aida R UES

Sam Harris

Sam has a wealth of experience in advising British and international students on their applications to US universities. Formerly the Head of North American University Applications at Rugby School, Sam has mentored students through every stage of the application process, applying her knowledge of its intricacies to help students earn places at a range of top US universities including Brown, Penn, Columbia and Stanford. She is particularly fond of helping students discover their academic and co-curricular passions and develop their personal narratives through the application preparation process.

Sam is a native Vermonter who graduated summa cum laude from Saint Michael’s College as a classics major. As part of her undergraduate degree, she spent six months as a visiting scholar at Worcester College, Oxford, and in 2015 Sam returned to Oxford University to complete her Master of Studies in Latin and Ancient Greek languages and literature. Sam is now based in London.

Outside of work, Sam is an avid reader and is a keen spectator of sports. Her favorite ice hockey team is the New York Rangers.

Free Consultation with Sam

Mikael Perreau

Mikael currently serves as an Associate Director of College Counseling at the Lycée Français de New York on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and as a part-time undergraduate admissions application reader for New York University (NYU). He previously served as Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at NYU, in both London and New York, and managed the admissions process for the degree-granting campus in Abu Dhabi and the Meyers College of Nursing and Silver School of Social Work at the New York campus. Prior to that, he was an International Admissions and Financial Aid Counselor at The American University of Paris after beginning his career in international education with a non-profit high school student exchange organization in San Francisco, California. He is a graduate of The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and, during his year abroad, also earned a Diplôme du Programme International from Sciences Po Paris. Mikael is married and spends his free time reading (mostly non-fiction), watching sports (mostly Liverpool FC), and looking for new recipes to try at home.

Mikael P UES

Linda de Flavis

Until recently, Linda spent most of her working life in sunny climates overseas. As a university advisor at United World College in Singapore for 23 years, she supported international students with their applications to universities around the world, with the US consistently proving the most popular destination. She also taught IB English and enjoyed developing US essay-writing workshops for students and other counsellors. She has attended and delivered sessions at many international conferences for college counselors, sometimes co-presenting with admissions officers from elite universities from the US, UK, Canada and Netherlands.

In her earlier life, Linda pursued an academic career. Awarded a scholarship to complete her PhD at the University of Southern California, she subsequently taught at Stanford University for 6 years. That experience gave her insights that she brings to her current work with high school students, helping them to reveal the ‘college potential’ university admissions officers look for. Her goal is to guide students to universities that will genuinely match their strengths and aspirations, and empower them in the next stage of their journey. While she has placed students at all of the ‘top’ universities in the US, she is even more proud of those who have gone to less famous schools and proved equally successful. Growing up in rainy UK, Linda completed her first degree in English Literature at the University of Southampton and her Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Oxford University.

Linda F UES

Natasha Sutton Williams

Natasha is an award-winning writer, composer, actor and journalist. As a writing specialist, Natasha's expertise lies in collaborating with students on their US college essays and portfolios, ensuring that these best capture their authentic voice and individual achievements. She has helped students achieve places at Ivy League and other top colleges including Yale, Brown, UPenn, Dartmouth (full scholarship), Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Georgetown, UChicago, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, USC (including program of Cinematic Arts), Williams, Babson, Duke, Northeastern, Emory, University of Virginia, Boston University, McGill, University of Toronto and Columbia/Tel Aviv Dual Programme.

Natasha currently writes for the stage, screen and animation. Her plays have been produced at multiple London venues. As a journalist, Natasha writes for various national publications, including The Independent and The Stage.Natasha received a First-Class BA Honours degree in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. She also studied at Arts Educational Drama School and the National Youth Theatre. She is British Canadian and has an innate understanding of North American culture.

Natasha S W UES

Giorgio Serci

Giorgio Serci is an award winning guitarist, composer, arranger and educator with international credentials. He is Senior Lecturer at ACM, visiting professor at Guildhall and Royal Holloway University and a columnist for Guitar Interactive Magazine. His compositions have been published by Trinity College for the new Acoustic guitar graded syllabus, and he has just recorded the brand new classical guitar graded syllabus commissioned by RSA, which feature two of his own compositions. He studied classical guitar and Jazz and has a Masters Degree in Composition from the University of Surrey, a Diploma in Jazz & Popular Music and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education. Co-founder of Bansangu Orchestra, specialising in original music featuring world-music and Jazz, which has been endorsed by the likes of Quincy Jones.

He has performed internationally and recorded with the likes of David Garrett, Ivan Lins, Basia, Kenny Wheeler, Martin Taylor, Sylvain Luc the BBC Concert Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber to name but a few. He has his own signature model guitar by Fibonacci and endorses Yamaha Classical guitars.

Giorgio UES

Kristy Magner

Before becoming a college counselor, Kristy Magner spent over 15 years in higher education, most recently as the Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at Tulane University. In her university roles, Kristy worked alongside parents, faculty, staff to support students in reaching their educational goals. Throughout her time working at colleges, Kristy observed that many students do not fully understand all of their options for university study or how best to gain admission to a university in the United States.Her goal is to bridge this knowledge gap by guiding students and their families through the college application process to admission and beyond.

Kristy is highly knowledgeable about the cross-cultural adjustment process, both from her work with international students and from her own experiences growing up. She lived in India for part of her childhood, studied abroad in Mexico, and has traveled to six continents. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Colorado State University and her Master of Science in International Studies from North Carolina State University. Kristy is active in the New Orleans community, where she has lived for 16 years. She is passionate about New Orleans music and culture and has been hosting music festivals and fundraisers for New Orleans musicians since 2014.

Kristy Magner UES

Loni Reynolds (Essay Specialist)

Loni grew up in Virginia, USA, and attended the University of Virginia, where she majored in English and Psychology. Her love of English led her to pursue a MA and PhD in Literature in the UK.

After completing her thesis on American Literature and publishing in scholarly journals and an academic book, Loni taught at University of Roehampton, tutored privately, and began working as Associate Editor of Culture and Dialogue. She also worked as an essay tutor both privately and in top UK schools like Charterhouse and Tonbridge, and is a member of International ACAC. Loni also enjoys creative writing and has published short stories and poetry.

Her knowledge of the US university system, as well as her first-hand experience of both British and American culture—combined with her expertise in the US college essay writing process—inform her work as an essay specialist. She enjoys sharing her love of writing and narrative with students, and encouraging them to use their writing as a space to express themselves, take ownership of their stories, and share them in a powerful way.

In her spare time, Loni reads and/or writes for fun most days, enjoys distance running, the outdoors, and the arts.

Loni UES

Successful Applications

Amongst many others, we helped students successfully apply to the Universities listed below in the 2021-2022 application cycle:

  • Babson
  • Boston University
  • Baylor
  • Brown University
  • Caltech
  • Case Western University
  • Chapman University
  • Clemson
  • Columbia
  • CU Boulder
  • Drexel University
  • Emory
  • Fordham
  • George Washington University
  • Michigan State
  • Notre Dame
  • Northeastern University
  • NYU
  • Penn State
  • Pomona College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Skidmore
  • Syracuse University
  • Temple
  • Tufts University
  • Trinity University (Texas)
  • Tulane
  • Yale University
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UCLA
  • UC San Diego
  • UChicago
  • UMass Amherst
  • UMinnesota
  • Uni of New England
  • U North Texas
  • UPenn
  • Uni of Richmond
  • UT Arlington
  • UT Austin
  • Uni of Vermont
  • UVA
  • WashU
  • Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wake Forest

If you would like to discuss our college counselling service in more detail, please click the links below to book a free call with one of our Senior Counsellors or send us an enquiry:

Free Counselling Consultation Our Counsellors Get in touch

Contact Us

020 7724 8333

Meridien House
42 Upper Berkeley Street

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