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Harris College Advising

      Where will your journey take you?

students in rhodes college library

The Admissions Process

Over the past few years the college admissions process has become increasingly frenzied. What should be an exciting time has too often become a period of stress and anxiety. Students struggle to achieve stellar grades, test scores and perfect extracurriculars. My role is to help alleviate this stress by helping students to focus only on the steps and activities that make sense for them. My specialty is helping students to discover their unique talents and strengths and to help them find the colleges that match their individual needs on all levels: environmental, academic, social and financial. 

"To know thyself is the beginning of all wisdom" Aristotle

College Consultant serving East Bay, Lamorinda, Walnut Creek CA

Rhodes College Library

What I Do...

Get to know the student

What are their interests? Their passions? Are there any particular fields, areas that are of particular interest?

  Help Students Know Themselves

 I offer a variety of assessments to help them crystallize their strengths and interests. We then look at the student in the context of their high school course selection, reviewing transcripts and plotting out test strategies as well as extra curricular plans. 

Help The Student Clarify What They Want

  Utilizing proprietary questionnaires and card sorts we help isolate colleges that may be a fit : financially, academically, socially and environmentally (FASE). I tour colleges throughout the country and speak to representatives from colleges all over the world to better understand the true nature of each college beyond the glossy brochures. I work with students and parents to develop a balanced list of "fit" colleges. I then help students begin the application process for these colleges.

Help Them Achieve Their Dream

Developing each student's unique profile, the process begins, timetable is developed, essay brainstorming sessions and essay refinement meetings as well as review of the actual application to ensure it meets the goals we set out at the profile session. I'm there to research the questions, help deal with any bumps in the road and of course to help make that final decision between some great college matches.

College is a huge investment of time and money, take the time and care to do it right!


  Harris College Advising

College Consulting that Inspires


Services are offered on an Hourly and Comprehensive basis

Comprehensive Plan

Student Profile

  • Academic review, transcripts, test scores
  • Plan the 4 year curriculum
  • Develop testing strategy and timeline from  PSAT's,              ACT/SAT to Subject and/or AP tests
  • Review High School Resume
  • Conduct assessments including both aptitude and               interests
  • Guidance on ways to explore interests, passions                         and build strengths

College Match

  • Match student to "right fit" colleges, based on "FASE"         factors (financial, academic,social, environmental)                using a variety of tools
  • Develop a balanced list based on admission likelihood
  • Prepare student for: campus tours, admission                         interviews

Admission Management

  • Develop timeline to manage application process                  details
  • Help students to manage and meet High School                 requirements including: letters of recommendation,           transcripts, brag sheets. Naviance/Scoir
  • Help student with essay brainstorming and reflection
  • Coach students to develop essays that reflect who                they are and what they offer to the targeted college
  • Guide and review completion of college applications
  • Provide step by step support and encouragement

Contact me at 510-326-6199

email: harriscollegeadvising@gmail.com

    Harris College Advising

College Consulting that Inspires

Why Hire a College Admissions Advisor?

"Outside" Guidance

There can be a lot of emotions around the college process and it is not uncommon for the subject to generate conflict within families: not only on college choice, but on staying on top of deadlines! Hiring a College Advisor removes the conflict and allows families to talk openly with someone that can help them make the decisions.  We  also ensure the student meets the critical deadlines!


The admissions process changes from year to year and even within application seasons! As a certified college advisor I not only help guide your child in the critical admissions milestones, such as helping determine the best college match  and essay development, but in staying abreast of all the new developments and opportunities that may exist for your student. From combing through common data sets, visiting at least 20 campuses a year to speaking with other knowledgeable peers and admissions offers, I help keep families aware of opportunities and potential pitfalls.

Your Personal Counselor

Let's face it, most high school counselors, even at private schools are overwhelmed. The average student to counselor ratio in California Public schools is 400-1. Within private schools, your student may get access but it can be limited, particularly when it comes to helping guide the essay process or deadline follow up, That is where my services are critical. As part of the process I get to know the student, what they're about, where they fit and who they are which is critical in  college selection and developing a strong application.

About Barbara

In addition to completing the UC Berkeley College Admissions Advising program, I received my undergraduate degree from Pitzer College (one of the Claremont Colleges). I also hold an MIM in International Business from American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). My work experience includes a career in Marketing, working for companies such as Cover Girl Cosmetics, Nestle and Dell Computers. I've found the branding and time management experience I received, invaluable in the college planning process,

As a stay at home Mom I've volunteered extensively in the Lafayette School District where I discovered the joy of working with students of all ages. I also recently completed the college search process with my own daughter so I've had a feel for the college admission process from the parent perspective. I keep up on the ever changing world of college admissions via constant news feeds, college visits (20 per year), meetings with college reps and membership in industry associations including HECA (Higher Education Consultants) and WACAC (Western Association of College Admissions Counselors. In my spare time I work with students through local non-profits. My outside interests include tennis, hiking and being a college "trivia" nerd.

Barbara Harris College Advisor

" My daughter was having trouble focusing her essay and figuring out what major and colleges to apply to. Not only did she help her focus her essay and help her finalize her college list, but she also told me about financial aid packages I didn't know we qualified for". 

Jun W.

" I was applying to all the same schools as my friends but she showed me some different colleges that I'd never heard of before but were a perfect match for me. Now I'm really excited about starting college next year".

Nikki T.

Harris College Advising


College Acceptances Received (Class Applying for Fall 2022)

* Merit aid offered

Fall 2022 Results Include:

Barnard College

Bryn Mawr College*

Cal Poly


Colorado School of Mines*


UC Berkeley

Northeastern University

Pomona College

University of Michigan

University of Wisconsin

University of California Davis

University of Minnesota*

University of California Santa Cruz

Wesleyan University*

Duke University

Wesleyan University

Haverford College

University of California Berkeley

Bates College

Reed College

University of Miami

University of Pittsburgh

University of California Santa Barbara

University of California San Diego

University of Washington

Mount Holyoke College

Smith College

University of Oregon*

University of San Diego

Northeastern University


Cal Poly SLO

Indiana University

Skidmore College

Sarah Lawrence College

Auburn University*

Muhlenberg College

University of California Riverside

Purdue University*

Occidental College*

Pitzer College

Vassar College

Santa Clara University

Scripps College

University of California Berkeley

University of California San Diego

University of California Santa Cruz

Arizona State: Barret Honors Program*

University of California Davis

University of California Los Angeles

University of Michigan

American University 

University of Alabama

Texas Christian University

University of Colorado

Colorado College

Seattle University*

Miami University

University of San Francisco

Rensallaer Polytechnic Institute

George Washington University*

Clark University*

William and Mary


San Diego Campuses

A visit to two of the top campuses in San Diego: UC San Diego and University of San Diego, provided a view of two totally opposite but excellent campus experiences for the right…

College Visits: The Washington FourJohns Hopkins Georgetown American George WashingtonCollege…

by Barbara Harris The Washington DC area offers a Host of Amazing Colleges. some of the finest in the nation, such as Johns Hopkins and Georgetown as well as some lesser known…

College Visit: Cal Tech

Growing up near Pasadena I'm fairly acquainted with the Cal Tech campus but a stroll through the campus confirms a couple of things: 1) How beautiful many of the buildings are…

College Visit: Occidental College

Occidental College's ("Oxy") urban location is a core part of it's education and it's attraction for students who are involved in the world and fascinated by what takes place in…

Visit to Loyola Marymount University

FRom left LMU Chapel, students, library quad Spring break and standing room only for the Campus tour for this popular college overlooking Marina Del Ray in West LA. A campus tour…

College Visits: Macalester College

A critical part of being a College Admissions Adviser is visiting college campuses to get a true feel for what the college has to offer. It is only through visiting you gain the…

      Visit to Tulane and Loyola New Orleans

A visit to these two gorgeous campuses confirms my suspicions: these look like really happy students in a great "college town" atmosphere. Yes even though these colleges are in New Orleans, they sit right next two each other in the verdant, historic and residential garden district surrounded by a small town atmosphere within a great city. Tulane is an amazingly vibrant place with a park like atmosphere. Easy to understand is rapidly growing popularity, while Loyola of New Orleans seems relatively undiscovered outside the region with it's solid liberal arts education and strong pre-professional schools. 


College Search

  • Bigfuture.com (for college search)
  • College Express

Factors to Think About:

Financial Aid

https://www. finaid.org

  • Estimate eligibility for FA:


  • Scholarships:

www.fastweb.com, www.petersons.com, www.scholarships.com

  • Western Undergrad Exchange (WUE):


Essays, Selection Process

  • Essay advice:

www.conncoll.edu/admission/apply/essays -that -worked/

  • carletoncollege.admissions

  • Deferrals: 

Forbes: How to Handle a Deferral: Step by step Guide

  • Essays and UC PIQ's: www.thecollegeessayguy.com/

Contact Harris College Advising

email:  harriscollegeadvising@gmail.com

phone:  510-326-6199

I look forward to speaking with you and seeing where I can help in your college planning process.