top of page

Specializing in the College Admissions Process from Start to End.

Why use Next Step Advising, LLC?

Make the right choice the first time!  A guaranteed way to cut cost of an undergraduate degree is to graduate in 4 years.  Next Step's 4 year graduation rate is nearly 100%!  The national 4 year average is 33% for public schools and 52%  for private schools.

Imagine all the money you can save in tuition!

We believe life is a journey, and helping students live with purpose and passion while navigating choices is what we do best.

Future Oriented, Present Focused

What is included?

Meetings (via ZOOM or in-person) with students and their families.  Sessions are individualized and we empower students by engaging and educating them on this journey.  Students will be provided with college lists based on their strengths, learning needs and goals, and will be guided in the college admissions process from start to end.  This may include aptitude testing, assistance with high school course selection and extracurricular activities, campus visit planning, interviewing practice, standardized testing advice with a recommended test-taking schedule after offering full-length SAT and ACT diagnostic exams, monitoring of on-line testing assistance, essays (up to eight - brainstorming and developing ideas and overseeing development of the first draft), all applications, resume, and reviewing school records.  Guiding students needing art portfolios and athletic recruiting for a slightly extra fee if outside consultants are hired. Helping students and parents fill out a guidance packet when applicable, and deciding which teachers and outside recommenders should submit letters on students behalf.  Creating a list of "best fit" colleges is central and help is provided on deciding whether to apply Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision for maximum chance at admission.  Educating families on merit scholarship and financial aid.  Helping students with scholarship essays and finding shadow or internship experiences.  Guidance on filling out FAFSA, CSA profile, and appealing financial award determinations.  Assisting with final school choice and transition to college issues.  

The Comprehensive Package includes access to an exclusive website to keep all of us on track and on time.  The student is the main contact for this work;  parents are welcome to join in on key meetings or in separate consultations.   Typically students have 16-20 full hour sessions in addition to communicating through their personalized Next Step College Planner Pro site which enables student to have unlimited  communication with our staff (maximum of 25 hours of editing, phone, sessions, email).

The national average for this service is $6,450 according to data gathered from the largest educational consultant organization in the USA (IECA - 1/1/2022) and we are charging our clients $4495.   The rewards and benefits for each family and student are many.  Often, thousands of dollars are saved,  stress is kept low during the process, and students attend a college and choose a career they may have never thought of pursuing.  We are confident the student and family will have the tools needed to take the next step and make the best college and career choice for them. 

Our package is recommended for most.  Consults are available for families considering the package to determine our fit.  Summer Application/Essay intensives offered in July and August. A la carte  appts available if space allows and does not include "outside-appointment communication".

Nicole Smith, M.Ed.
College Advisor and Owner

All roads have led me to Next Step!  Creating Next Step Advising, LLC in 2016 was the natural next step for me.  With over 25 years of experience in education, including work at Rutgers and Drexel Universities, NJ Blue Ribbon high schools, and the College Board headquarters, we help students navigate the world of college admissions and give them the confidence and skills they need each step of the way.   Using my counseling background, I encourage students to leave as many doors open before deciding to shut them as they form ideas and opinions about their future.  

Proof 31a_pp.JPG

Nick Linfante - College Advisor


I am so excited to join the Next Step team in 2023!  I bring 15 years of private high school experience, nearly a decade of which comes from upperclassmen guidance and college counseling.  I specialize in supporting prospective student-athletes having been a member of the hockey, rugby, and golf coaching staff at Delbarton in Morristown, where I currently work full-time. I have spent a great deal of time working with service academy applicants.  More than anything, I hope to help students engage in the college process without the unnecessary stress:  planning visits, finding the best fit major, and navigating the financial aid process. 

“As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Nelson Mandela - 1994 Inaugural Speech

Have a question?

21 Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809, USA



Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page