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Specializing in the College Admissions Process from Start to End.

Why use Next Step Advising, LLC?

We give parents peace of mind  -  at the same time helping their teen with their unique college and career selection journey.   Nothing makes me happier than to inspire students and see their excitement and confidence grow as they engage in creating their future!

We help students make the right choice the first time which increases the likelihood of graduating within 4 years.  This is a guaranteed way to cut the cost of an undergraduate degree!  Next Step's 4 year graduation rate is nearly 100%.  The national 4 year graduation rate average is 33% for public schools and 52%  for private schools.

Investing a fraction of the cost of one year of college tuition has the potential to save you tenfold!

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

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 27 years of experience in education, including work at Rutgers and Drexel Universities, NJ Blue Ribbon high schools, and the College Board headquarters, I 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.  I am happiest when my students are allowing their light to shine for the world to see!  

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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

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21 Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809 (local) and Zoom (worldwide)



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