Kristen Hesby


Kristen’s philosophy is that success in college advising means clients enrolling in good-fit programs and also achieving greater self-awareness and motivation to pursue their goals. 

Kristen loves helping teenagers communicate their unique voices within their college essays and instilling a strong sense of ownership in the application process. She enjoys connecting with students by drawing on her background as a volunteer in high schools and a parent of two college students. She employs a healthy sense of humor and empathy while setting high standards regarding responsibility.

Kristen has evaluated thousands of essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. She has interviewed hundreds of applicants over her 20 years of professional experience in holistic admissions, both as a full-time officer and part-time reader for Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. With an undergraduate degree in English from Duke University and a Certificate in College Admissions Advising and Career Planning from UC Berkeley, she brings an academic yet down-to-earth mindset when developing balanced college application lists and composing personal essays. Having lived near both coasts as well as in the Midwest, Kristen’s familiarity with the wide range of college options within California and across the country allows for open-minded exploration of programs, tailored to each client’s priorities.


Sara Bretthauer


Sara enjoys helping students find the right fit university academically, socially, emotionally, and financially. She is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC), and the International Association for College Admission Counseling (International ACAC). 

When working with students, Sara’s goal is to simplify the college application process for both the student and the family and proactively guide them along the journey. She loves to research and visit universities, and she’s toured over 100 so far. 

Sara completed the UC Berkeley Extension College Advising and Career Planning certification program with all “A’s”. Recently, she completed the NACAC International University Badge program. This year, she read hundreds of applications as a seasonal reader for UCSB. She is a Matchlighters Scholars Program Counselor for high-achieving students from low-income households. 

Sara graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Purdue University and worked in hotel sales and marketing positions. She and her husband and three children lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before her husband’s job took their family overseas for twelve years. They lived in London, England, Chengdu, China, and finally, Jakarta, Indonesia, before returning to the Bay Area in 2019. When she is not advising students, Sara loves to travel, walk her dog, go for hikes, take photos, watch movies, go to museums, plays, and musicals, and sit in the sun and read.