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"Initially I selected Nicole Smith because of her professional pedigree.  She has familiarity with all roles in the college application process.  She worked as a high school guidance counselor, a college admissions counselor and for The College Board, a renowned testing organization.  Because of this experience, Nicole knows what matters—and more importantly, what does not.

But I had a more pressing need for a professional to help with the college admissions process.  In my daughter’s sophomore year of high school, I had a stroke and now have a hard time making conversation flow, especially when it’s a high-stakes conversation between a concerned mom and a teenage daughter about the future.  I needed someone to be my “voice” and Nicole exceeded my expectations.  

Nicole was adept at taking my daughter though the college selection process, honing her essays, dealing and with admissions deadlines.  My daughter enjoyed working with Nicole.  There was no stink eye before or after a session and she actually talked to me about where she was in the process.

Nicole made the process painless, pressure-free and comfortable as possible for my daughter and me—we got to enjoy our relationship without the stress of the college application process.  I would recommend Nicole without reserve for her knowledge, sensitivity and professionalism."

Mom of a Senior at HCHS - Class of 2018 

“I can honestly say that thanks to Next Step, I ended up exactly where I want to be….Nicole helped me realize that I wanted a school that would be a good fit for me, not just a school that looks good on paper.  She helped me edit my essay over and over and allowed me to express frustrations that I had throughout the college search process.  I could not be more grateful…”  

Senior at VHS - Class of 2018


“Nicole Smith really helped me with the entire college process.  Meeting with her once a month helped me stay on track, so I never felt the pressure of any looming deadlines.  She helped me make decisions about where to apply and helped my mom with some of the forms …  I don’t know how I could have successfully applied to college without her.”


Senior at HCRHS - Class of 2018


“Nicole’s knowledge of the process is invaluable.  Her guidance empowered our daughter to take ownership of the process which greatly reduced everyone’s stress.  She took the time to truly get to know our daughter and inspired her to apply to colleges we would have never even considered.”


Mom of a Senior at DVHS - Class of 2018

Ms. Smith was my school counselor during my senior year of high school, and I could not have asked for a better mentor. With every step of the college admissions process (from school selection to application essays to interviews), she was an absolutely amazing resource with true mastery of the how the system worked. I knew I could always go to Ms. Smith for honest and actionable advice. However, where Ms. Smith truly stands out as a counselor is her ability to see beyond the college admissions process: She contextualizes your natural talents and interests to set you down a path of academic and professional success. Ms. Smith is truly an amazing person and deserves only the best of accolades!


Kevin Sun  (Harvard University alumnus - Class of 2015)

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