client success stories

Overview: CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories

Our Client Success Stories feature CollegeAdvisor.com students who gained acceptance to their top choice colleges. In this year’s Client Success Stories, we will interview one student about their experience receiving college admissions advice from CollegeAdvisor.com. We’ll talk about how they decided on their college essay topics, how they created a college list, and what the influential factors in choosing a college were for them. 

This Client Success Story features Leah Rosenthal, a student from Los Angeles who will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall. Leah worked with one of our top advisors to craft the strongest application possible and gain acceptance into the school of her dreams.

The college admissions process can be daunting. As you begin, you may look for college essay tips, how to create a well-rounded college list, and factors in choosing a college.

At CollegeAdvisor.com, we help our students achieve their college dreams with support tailored to their needs. With college admissions advice from CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert Beatriz Perez, Leah aced the whole process. 

Wondering if CollegeAdvisor.com is right for you? Check out our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews. There, you’ll find CollegeAdvisor.com reviews from students like Leah who worked with our experts to ace their college admissions.

Our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews speak for themselves. As you’ll discover, our students benefit from top college admissions advice on every aspect of the process. Plus, as you can see from our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews, our students are regularly accepted to Ivy League and Top 50 schools.

Getting to know Leah

Leah has been a Los Angeles resident for her entire life. She kept busy throughout her high school years. “High school-wise, extracurriculars, I’ve done swim team, I’ve done cheer team, both of which I was captain for,” Leah says. “And then I also did some clubs like Red Cross and a couple of other miscellaneous clubs. There was a pre-med club and also a finance club that I was a part of.” 

Leah’s range of activities came in handy when putting together her college application. One of our key pieces of college admissions advice at CollegeAdvisor is to start early. Like Leah, try out a variety of activities, and commit to those you’re passionate about! 

For more information about using extracurriculars in the college application process, click here

How and why Leah joined CollegeAdvisor?

Leah wanted to start the college application process early on. 

“I’m a procrastinator. I always wait [until the] very last minute to do things,” Leah said. “And I was like, okay, this is college. I cannot wait till the very last minute to turn in all my applications. So I was thinking [it] would probably be best if I had someone to sort of help me along that process. To make sure that I stay on track and I get everything done that I need to, that I understand everything that’s happening.”

So she began doing research on college advice companies and places that offered college admissions advice. 

“I was looking up different programs that I could get into where there could be someone who could advise me,” Leah recalled. “And then I came across CollegeAdvisor and it was one of the first results that I came across and it looked very promising. There’s great CollegeAdvisor.com reviews. That’s how I found CollegeAdvisor.”

Leah had actually seen us once before as well. “The first place I actually saw you guys was on TikTok,” Leah told us. “I saw your page. So that’s the first time I saw you guys. And then I remember when I was doing Google searches for college advisors, I saw you guys again. I was like, oh look, I recognize this from TikTok.”

Find funny, bite-sized college admissions advice on our TikTok account here

The CollegeAdvisor experience

So, what was it like to get college admissions advice from CollegeAdvisor?

Leah met frequently with her Admissions Expert Beatriz. “We would meet once a week for usually around 45 minutes to an hour,” said Leah. 

The first part of the process was creating a well-balanced college list. “We started off thinking of a list of colleges that I was interested in,” Leah said. “And then [Beatriz] had me list under different categories what each college knocked off for me, which each one didn’t have, or what specific needs I wanted. She had me categorize everything.” 

One of our main pieces of college admissions advice is to start with a strong college list. As you make your list, break down your most important factors in choosing a college, like location, size, cost, and more. Check out this resource to learn more about how to build a strong college list. 

However, knowing the important factors in choosing a college and building a strong college list were only the first steps. Beatriz also helped Leah clarify her specific interests, and gave her top college essay tips. 

Building lasting relationship

Overall, Leah was very happy with her decision to work with CollegeAdvisor. She realized that CollegeAdvisor offers more than just help creating a college list and college essay tips. “Most people probably think when they go into this, they’ll help me out [with] my essays. And then we’ll never speak again,” said Leah. “My advisor and I still communicate. We give each other little life updates or she’ll send me different scholarships that I could apply to or different opportunities she thinks I might be interested in.”

“So I think when you join CollegeAdvisor, it’s not just that small-time period of applications,” Leah concluded. “You can build a connection with this person who can continue to help you throughout your life at college. I think that’s sort of like an added plus that you never really expected to have when you go into this.” 

Building a college list: What Leah learned

When it comes to creating a college list, “every little detail is very helpful,” Leah said. “[We made] a whole spreadsheet of a bunch of different colleges I was interested in. And then from there, we categorized them by reaches, safeties, and targets. And then from there, I was [eliminating] ones that I wasn’t really interested in anymore.”

One of the key factors in choosing a college is whether it’s your dream school and a reach, target, or safety school. A reach school is a school that’s a challenge to get into. A safety school is one you have a very high chance of getting into. Then a target school is right in the middle —  you are fairly likely to get in. A well-balanced college list will have the right combination of each type of school. 

Leah’s advisor helped her categorize each school in her college list. “She had me congregate my very top choices,” Leah recalled. “From there she had me set a goal of how many colleges I wanted to apply to. So, from there I knocked off a couple. After that, we looked at each college’s requirements for the application. And then she walked me through that, step-by-step.”  

With Beatriz’s college admissions advice and guidance on the important factors in choosing a college, Leah made a strong college list. This helped her nail the application process. 

Leah’s greatest challenge in the college application process

Leah told us that the hardest part of the college admissions process was finding her authentic voice, rather than just writing what she believed admissions officers would want to hear. “I think the most challenging part of applying to colleges is trying to differentiate between what you think the college wants to hear from you and what you specifically want to tell them,” Leah said.

“So, I think like a lot of people, including myself, we sort of have this idea of oh, they want to hear about this. They want me to talk about my best achievements. They want me to talk about these specific things, ” Leah said. This is a common line of thinking among college applicants. 

Leah’s advisor helped her recognize the error in her thinking. “She [helped] me break out of that mindset,” Leah said. “Colleges want to hear about what makes you, you, they don’t necessarily want to hear all about this one thing, if it doesn’t really matter that much to you if it wasn’t very important to you. So, she helped me sort of realize that even small things, those are things that colleges would want to hear about if they mean a lot to you.” 

Be yourself

Leah is right! Admissions officers don’t want to read about what you think they want to hear. They want to know what makes you unique.

So, how did Beatriz help Leah overcome this? “One of the first things that we talked about when we started meeting and she asked me to talk about me, she asked me what my specific interests are,” Leah recalled. “She asked me what I like to do in my free time. So then from there when I was coming up with topics, she’d be like, oh, remember when you told me about this or like this hobby that you like, or this activity that you did.” 

Beatriz reminded Leah of what made her a unique applicant. “From there, she saw what was important to me, those specific things that she thought that I could really talk about that were specifically unique to me, or that meant a lot to me,” Leah said. 

If you want to ace the Common App, our top college admissions advice is to decide what will make you stand out as an applicant. This will help catch the eye of every school on your college list. 

Leah’s favorite CollegeAdvisor resources

Which CollegeAdvisor resources did Leah find the most helpful? Our college essay tips!

“I used your essay tips,” said Leah. “I remember you guys had specific essay tips for specific colleges. So those, I looked into a lot, and I tried to format some of my own essays based off of that. And I think that really helped.”

Having an example essay can help when you’re figuring out how to format your own. Leah agrees. “That was very helpful because when you’re writing your essays, it’s hard to think of a structure that fits everything in a good storytelling manner,” Leah explained. “So, the tips that you guys provided in your essay guides, I think [were] very helpful for me in figuring out what format to put my essays into.”

We offer many different college essay tips, and Leah says she took advantage of all of them. “I started off with the more general ones,” said Leah. “Then I would go into the specific ones and see what aligned between general and specific and what [were] the differences between different colleges, so I used both.” Leah is referring to our general Common App college essay tips and our many specific college essay guides that break down the supplemental questions for each college.

For more college essay tips and examples, click here.

Leah’s College Admission Results & the road ahead

So, after reading about all her hard work, I’m sure you’re wondering: where did Leah get accepted? 

“I applied to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz,” Leah told us. “And I got into all except for I got wait-listed on UCLA and UC San Diego.” She also got into the University of Washington, Pitzer College, Whittier College, and the University of Redlands, in addition to all of the other safeties on her college list. 

There were only a few schools that did not accept Leah. “I tried my hand at Duke and Princeton, and then both of which I did not get into, but that’s okay,” Leah explained. “I wasn’t really planning on going to either of those if I got into anyways.” 

And, where will she go in the fall?

“I was deciding between Berkeley and Pitzer,” Leah said. “I chose Berkeley. I’m Berkeley bound. And I’m very happy with that. It was hard deciding between the ones that I did get into, but I’m happy with my decision.” 

What will Leah be studying?

After all, college majors can be one of the biggest factors in choosing a college for many students. 

“I’m in the College of Letters and Sciences as an undeclared,” Leah said. “I’m very indecisive of where to go next, but I’m looking at the bio majors and maybe computer science. I’m looking at those two right now, and then I’m exploring the other majors as well. But for now, I think I’m going to stay undeclared and explore my options once I get there, take some classes and then make a decision based on that.” 

A very smart choice. Keeping your options open allows more flexibility down the line if you discover an unexpected subject you’re passionate about!

Did Leah get any scholarships to her schools?

Not from Berkeley, unfortunately. “I got [a] scholarship at [the] University of Washington,” said Leah. “I got a scholarship at [the] University of Colorado, Denver. Most of my safeties, I got scholarships as well.” Congratulations, Leah!

What were the factors in choosing a college for Leah?

The factors in choosing a college can vary for every applicant. 

“As much as I hate to kind of admit it, I mean, prestige went into it,” Leah explained. “I want to go to a place that’s known. I felt kind of uneasy going maybe to a college that wasn’t as known if it might mean less opportunities.” That was one of the primary factors in choosing a college for Leah.

That’s why Berkeley was the perfect place for Leah. “I know that Berkeley has a lot of like connections. So that was one deciding factor. And then there’s also a lot of other important things, like the climate of the school, the academics of the school, how much I felt like I would fit in on campus. So while prestige was one factor, there’s also these other factors. So, I was talking to people from multiple schools that I was deciding between and seeing my friendships and so I made my decision based on that.”  

There are a lot of factors in choosing a college that you should consider. That is one of our biggest pieces of college admissions advice: do research on all of your schools before you decide to attend. You may learn something that surprises you or sways you in an unexpected direction!

Final Thoughts — Leah’s advice to students beginning to apply to college

What college admissions advice would Leah give to students applying soon?

Firstly, “don’t listen to everything that everyone else has to say,” Leah said. “Do your own research. Don’t just take everyone else’s opinion, like form your own opinions about colleges that you find.” This is a great piece of college admissions advice!

“My parents, they weren’t too opinionated on where I should go, but of course there were those little quips about oh, this school has this that’s very good. Or oh, this school is a good fit for you,” Leah explained. “So, I think don’t listen to what other people think will be a good fit for you. You should really explore your options in depth.” 

Leah’s second piece of college admissions advice is to try new things in high school. “You want to have a good variety,” Leah said. “You want to be a well-rounded individual. So I would definitely advise other high school students to develop a well-rounded character by joining different clubs and sports or outside activities.”

Extracurriculars can help a lot as you complete college applications. “Even if it’s small, if you write a really good essay on it, you’re set, pretty much, in my opinion,” Leah explained. “If you try lots of new things in high school, because the thing that you’re passionate about and want to write about, once a college sees that, then they’ll like you. So that would be the advice that I’d probably give to a high schooler.”

CollegeAdvisor can help!

In conclusion, the college admissions process can seem daunting, and you may not know where to start. CollegeAdvisor is here to help with college admissions advice, college essay tips, creating a college list, and much more! 

Wondering if CollegeAdvisor.com is right for you? Just check out our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews. Students like Leah use CollegeAdvisor.com reviews to give feedback on how our experts gave them top college admissions advice.

Our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews speak for themselves. As you’ll discover, our students benefit from comprehensive college admissions advice during every part of the process. Plus, as you can see from our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews, our students are regularly accepted to Ivy League and Top 50 schools.


college admission advice

This Client Success Story was based on an interview with Leah Rosenthal. Leah reached out to us to get an early start on the college application process. If you are also looking for college admission advice and are interested in working with a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today