"Hello! I am Julia Castagna and I graduated from Oak Knoll with the class of '22. I am heading to Wake Forest and I can safely say I would have never gotten into my dream school without Carolyn Mulligan! From the start of my search- emailing reps and drafting my essay- Carolyn was there every time I had a question or needed help editing my emails or essays. She gave me a great 10 step process to write my college essay and kept me on a track that had me done before I knew it with an essay I was proud of.
Since Wake Forest has an early rolling decision process, I wanted to apply early August, which meant I was working on my supplements during summer break. Even though she did not have to help me during vacation, Carolyn went out of her way to answer every question I had and make herself available anytime I had concerns or needed to prepare for my interview. It is because of Carolyn helping me practice and prepare my supplements that I was able to apply really early and find out I got in just 2 months later!
Her process works wonders and is more fun than would be expected during such a stressful time. She makes applying to college completely painless and is the best help I've ever received. I'm so grateful for our time together and attribute my college admission solely to her. Thanks Carolyn!"
Class of 2022
"I can't even begin to describe how wonderful Carolyn was in guiding me through this crazy process. I know it's cliche, but I seriously could not have gotten through this process without her. I honestly don't think I would be attending my dream college next year if it wasn't for Carolyn. She's not only incredibly helpful, intelligent and hardworking, but she is one of the kindest human beings I've ever worked with. She cares so much about each and every student and she always has a huge smile on her face.
When I first went to meet with her in the winter of my junior year, I had absolutely no idea where to start with the college application process. I had visited a few schools but I really had no idea what I was looking for or how the application process worked. Throughout the next year, Carolyn helped me create my list of schools I would apply to, set up my Common App and Coalition accounts, write and edit my general college essay, as well as every single supplemental essay, create my resume, and so much more!
I highly recommend Carolyn as a college counselor because she knows the ins and out of the entire process and will really help your child end up at the perfect place for them!"
Texas Christian University
Class of 2025
"My daughter Olive and I met Carolyn her sophomore year of highschool at a college bootcamp session. We loved Carolyn right from the start! She is calm and makes you feel at ease immediately. Carolyn also has a wonderful way of connecting to students and listening to their thoughts on where they see themselves in the future. Olive began meeting with Carolyn at the end of her sophomore year to really get to know one another. It was a fun process that my daughter enjoyed. They discussed her ideas about place and size of schools, her thoughts on majors and interests, and what schools would be a good fit for her sport aspirations. They also discussed what classes she was taking junior year and what kinds of things for Olive to think about as she entered that very important year.
Once we were in full swing going back and forth with Carolyn, Olive and she really just started rolling with it. They researched and had in-depth conversations on schools and kept lists of yes/no and maybe schools. Carolyn has a wealth of knowledge on a broad range of schools so she shared so much with us on the special features of each of the schools on Olive's list.Then when my husband and I started to think about visits in the fall and spring of Olive's junior year, Carolyn advised us of the process and gave us connections and regional representatives to reach out to at Olive's schools. When we completed our initial touring sessions, Olive and Carolyn discussed what she liked and didn't like at the schools and they adjusted the list accordingly. It was all very exhausting, but they had a great time chatting and bouncing ideas off one another. Once we solidified the application list, Carolyn and Olive began the hard work of determining essay topics for the common application as well as the additional essay prompts from her school list. Olive told me that she learned more from the process that Carolyn guided her through in outlining and then writing her essays than she had in her high school English class. Olive had great success in her acceptances and was lucky to have wonderful choices for her college path. It was a difficult decision, but Olive chose Dickinson College. Carolyn was one of the first people Olive wanted to tell!
Carolyn provided the perfect amount of support and encouragement through a difficult process. Her insight of the schools across the country is tremendous. She has stories of meeting so many people and visiting so many schools. She is constantly connecting herself with her peers as well as staying on top of application and acceptance trends. We adore Carolyn and are actually now looking forward to working through this process with our younger daughter with Carolyn on our team."
Jonathan and Francine Stern
Dickinson College Class of 2025
Berkeley Heights, NJ
"We have had the pleasure of working with Carolyn over the last eight years. Carolyn helped us successfully navigate through the multitude of majors and colleges for all our three children.
Our children engaged across Science, Humanities, and Art. Working with Carolyn helped them clarify their interests and decide on the best school and major to build on their interests and passions. She was incredibly knowledgeable and she struck up a good dialogue with our children and built on their ideas using her active listening, engaging personality and domain knowledge.
As parents, we found this very comforting, and we felt a real sense of partnership during this exciting, but at times stressful transition, from high school to college. She was involved in every stage of the college application process, providing advice and guidance from the beginning stages, through the application process, until final decisions.
In summary, Carolyn is a thoughtful, great listener with a positive demeanor. She is always willing to offer constructive, informed advice, ensuring compatibility between the children and their respective college choices."
Jon and Tijana Hitchon
Alex Hitchon - Drexel University, 2018
Anna Hitchon - Rhode Island School of Design, 2022
Stefan Hitchon - Syracuse University, 2024
"Just like we hire professionals in other areas of our lives, hiring Carolyn was a huge asset in helping us with the college admission process. College selection is such an important decision for the family. The climate is so competitive, and there are huge financial implications. Having Carolyn to help us wade through the waters, keep the process moving, and keep everyone calm, were just a few of the reasons why she was so helpful. We hired Carolyn to help us with our son Kyle, who went off to George Mason University in 2016, his first choice. Carolyn was so instrumental in the process, we hired her again to help with our daughter Amy. Once again, we were reminded that Carolyn is an asset from start to finish. She has the ability to skillfully guide the family through the issues, and is the voice of reason along the way. Carolyn worked directly with Amy most of the time. This greatly helped minimize the parent/student stress throughout the process, as Carolyn pushed things along, keeping Amy accountable and responsible. Carolyn was invaluable in helping Amy get to Quinnipiac University, her first choice, where she will be starting in the fall of 2020. If we had more kids, we'd hire Carolyn again, it's well worth it."
Rich and Hope Sherman Parents of —
Kyle - George Mason University, Class of 2020
Amy - Quinnipiac University, Class of 2024
Berkeley Heights, NJ
"We started working with Carolyn during our son Grant's sophomore year in high school. He was leaning towards studying engineering (and ultimately did go that route), and Carolyn really helped to guide us towards schools that would be a good fit. Carolyn made a huge effort to get to know our family and to answer the countless questions we had while going through the college process for the first time as parents. She covered everything from colleges to consider and visit, preparation for interviews to assisting with the common application and providing feedback on his essays. We felt it really eliminated a lot of the stress of a stressful process having our son be accountable to Carolyn for deliverables. It also helped alleviate any concerns we had having Carolyn ready to answer questions and give feedback. Carolyn was encouraging, yet realistic. Her style was the perfect fit for our family.
Two years later, we also signed on with Carolyn for our daughter Jackie during her sophomore year. Her path was slightly different as she planned to swim and knew she wanted a smaller liberal arts school, and her swim times were a factor as to determining school. Our daughter did a few official visits and Carolyn made sure she was prepared. She also worked with her on her essays. Both of our children had their common application general information ready before the start of their senior years.
Our youngest was accepted into a program at her dream school where you spend the first year abroad. We reached out to Carolyn to see if she had any extra information about it. Through her network, she was able to gather lots of helpful information, so our daughter could make an informed decision. Carolyn was a lifesaver, and we are so thankful to her for helping us navigate the process. We were very happy working with Carolyn and have recommended her to friends who were also very satisfied."
Chris and Alex Gemici, Parents of —
Grant, The George Washington University, Class of 2020
Jackie, Lafayette College, Class of 2021
Natalie, University of Southern California, Class of 2023
"We began working with Carolyn during my son's sophomore year in high school to determine which schools would be a good fit for a student whose main strengths were in the arts, only knew he wanted to be in a city, and also happened to be learning different. He is our first child to go through this process. Carolyn was indispensable in getting to know my son, encouraging him to think about his goals and strengths, and helping to keep him on task through the years. Most importantly she was sensitive to the changes he went through during this time not only personally, but in his academic and creative journeys, and encouraged him to think independently and thoughtfully about his path. This was especially helpful as his interest in music developed and intensified junior year and he determined this would be his focus.
Carolyn counseled my son to be true to himself and suggested schools that were truly a good match, and that would be supportive to his learning needs. It was a tough process, but one full of growth and reward, and Carolyn was an excellent guide. My son received several acceptances, including one to the school that was his first choice, and attended three accepted students' days to make his final decision. In the end he chose the school that had been his second choice, for some very perceptive and intuitive reasons that reflected the self-knowledge, maturity, and critical thinking skills he gained in this process. I don't believe he would have learned as much about himself and come to such a well-considered decision working alone with just my oversight. Carolyn's experience, patience, kindness, and wisdom made all the difference, and I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone hoping to help their child not only find the right school for them, but learn and grow in the process."
S.M. Allain, Mom
University of New Haven Class of 2023
Whitehouse Station, NJ
"We feel very blessed and lucky that we were introduced to Carolyn Mulligan and the Insiders Network through a dear friend. Carolyn really takes the time to get to know your child. We first went out to her home office where she conducts a fascinating, fun and in depth interview of your child. She carefully evaluates every aspect of your child's life from academics, personal time, and extracurriculars, in other words Carolyn gets to know the whole person. Carolyn strategizes with you and your child across the whole process, from looking at grades, scores, college lists, thinking through the essays, activities, and also working alongside your child in real-time on the Common App (and any other applications).
Carolyn offers advice on schools you may have missed; or schools you should avoid and why. As well, she reads through every essay, she'll help with feedback, grammar and overall ideas. Every e-mail you send is answered with a deep and thoughtful reply, and always so promptly. Carolyn knows all the school reps and spends her "off season" traveling to visit schools and to meet with school reps all over the country.
Above all, Carolyn is patient, kind and so knowledgeable. Having Carolyn in our corner took so much stress out of the process from start to finish. I will add by saying, we live in NYC and we went out once to meet Carolyn in NJ, where she indeed conducted her detailed and incredibly thought provoking interview of our child, and then we did much of our communicating by phone and e-mail. Carolyn's rates are so good, the value and experience, the kindness, attention to detail; the way she comes to truly and deeply KNOW your child; and her expertise in navigating the entire college process. I truly cannot say enough. We are lucky to know her!"
Vicky (NYC mom)
Class of 2018
"No one should go through the college process without Carolyn! She was the answer to my prayers! Even though I am a Learning Consultant, I felt overwhelmed looking for the right college with my son who is an athlete, as well as a student with an IEP. The application process plus the recruiting process, complicated by academic support needs, was quite a trifecta!
Carolyn jumped in full force supporting my son, as well as the whole family every step of the way. Carolyn was so dedicated that she made us feel that we were her only case, when in fact she is a well-established professional. Carolyn is wonderful at helping students find colleges that are the right fit and can be a home away from home for your child. We are so grateful!"
Kathy and Terrence Curran, Parents of John Curran
University of Scranton Class of 2022
"Mrs. M played a big role in my success, helping me prepare for my interviews, helping me brainstorm, and work on my essays. She helped me tremendously in terms of getting into a mindset in which I could be self-reflective, which allowed me to truly express myself through my application. For that, I can't thank her enough, and I don't think I would have been able to do what I did without her guidance and encouragement."
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021
"Carolyn is dedicated, caring and exceptionally supportive with the college application process. Her guidance and infinite patience was essential in working with both my children and we are deeply appreciative. I highly recommend Carolyn as a college counselor to work with your child to navigate the complexities of the application process of applying to colleges."
Liza & Jerry Rosenzweig, Parents of
Neil, Rowan University Class of 2018
Ari, Bucknell University Class of 2020
"Gosh, where do I even start with this? Carolyn was more than just a huge help, saying that would be an understatement. She was help, she was support, she was available and very accommodating.
When I started on the road to college, I had no clue what to do, the whole college applying process terrified me to say the least, but Carolyn was there for me through thick and thin. She worked at my pace, walking me through every step of the process from looking up possible schools, all the way through to choosing which college I would attend come the fall. She was always open to new ideas and changes, was very easy to contact and connect with, and answered last minute emails with haste. She was so kind and energetic, I really felt as though I could be honest and open up to her, I really felt that she wanted the best for me. She didn't suggest schools that were popular or famous, she suggested schools that fit the criteria I wanted, that she knew would suit me.
Carolyn was such a great help in this whole process, I can't even begin to word how much I appreciated her guidance. I think what made her really special though, was the fact that she wasn't just a counselor, but she was a friend, someone I looked forward to meeting and talking with."
SCAD, Class of 2020
"I am a consultant who specializes in transition to college for students with disabilities. But when it came to my own daughter's college search, the professional I chose to help her was Carolyn Mulligan.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Carolyn professionally before we worked together on this most personal of family endeavors, so I knew that she was the right person to help guide my daughter through the college process, which can be so stressful. Carolyn really understood my daughter's interests and her concerns and honored those throughout every step of the process. She suggested a range of schools that offered the unusual major our daughter initially wanted, some of which we would never have found. Unlike some college consultants who seem to focus their efforts on sending students to certain big-name schools with snob appeal, Carolyn didn't focus on "prestigious" schools in order to impress us or bolster her own reputation; she suggested schools that had everything our daughter sought.
When it came time to write the essay, Carolyn encouraged our daughter to be herself when writing her essay and write about her true interests, rather than write about something designed simply to impress an admissions officer. As our daughter's focus changed, Carolyn helped her seek out new schools to which she could apply. She made herself so available to our daughter and to us, and she provided reassurance and guidance throughout the process. In the end, our daughter was accepted to every school to which she applied. I think this is a testament to Carolyn's work; she helped our daughter focus on schools that were realistic, and included a reach school that accepted her, too. Our daughter was pleased with her choices, and we know she'll be happy at the school she has chosen to attend.
When it comes time for our son to apply to college, Carolyn is the only person we will consider using to help him with his search."
Elizabeth C. Hamblet
Learning Disabilities Consultant
June 6, 2016
"When I started working with Mrs. Mulligan I could not make up my mind about what college I wanted to attend. All I knew was what region I wanted to be in. Sure enough, during one of our first meetings she guided me through the process of narrowing down my search and later helped me perfect my applications, resume, and interviewing skills. When I decided on my top school choice, Mrs. Mulligan encouraged me to stay organized and checked with me each week to be sure I was on track even if we did not have a meeting scheduled. With Mrs. M's constant encouragement and cheerful attitude I found applying to colleges less stressful than many of my classmates. Since starting college, I have been able to use the skills and techniques that Mrs. M taught me when applying and interviewing for summer internships, jobs, and positions in campus organizations. Without Mrs. M I don't know if I would have gotten through the college application process or my first two years of college so painlessly!"
Wofford College, Class of 2017
"The college process is something I had been dreading from the get go. Being an only child, I had no one to rely on for answering some of the important questions about the application process. However, Mrs. M was my saving grace. The enthusiasm, compassion, and knowledge that she emits make her the best candidate for helping anyone through the "storm" of applying. With her methods, I felt more organized and always knew what the next step was. Mrs. M's constant smile, helpful advice, and encouraging emails settled my nerves and aided me in bunkering down to work. In terms of brainstorming ideas and editing, she is a great essay mentor. I loved that I could be creative and use my voice rather than correcting it to make it something I would never write. Most importantly, I felt at ease because I could be myself around Mrs. M and felt comfortable working with her because she is extremely nurturing. If I needed to meet, she would be happy to schedule a meeting as soon as possible. Mrs. M really knows the meaning of getting the job done because even after I had submitted my applications, she stuck with me. It's nice because this way, you know you have someone who really cares about you and doesn't consider you another "task" on her To-Do list. Mrs. M is the best and I would not have been able to be so time conscious and successful as I have been with her."
New York University Class of 2018
"The stresses of senior year were greatly diminished with the assistance of Mrs. M. It is always a great pleasure to work with her, because her enthusiasm and positive attitude are absolutely contagious. She truly helped me find my voice as a writer by refusing to settle for anything less than I was capable of, and I am so thankful for her guidance. The college process can be especially stressful and exhausting, but it is made bearable with Mrs. M's support and encouragement. I am so excited to be going to my first choice school next year and I don't think that would have been an option without Mrs. M's guidance and support."
Georgetown Class of 2017
"I thought my daughter and I could do the college search on our own. We were very mistaken! The best investment we made in her college education was to hire Carolyn. Carolyn is by your side for the entire college admission process from the moment you meet her until long after the acceptance letters arrive. She is professional, knowledgeable and knows the "ins and outs" which give her students the extra edge. She took the time to understand what my daughter was looking for in a college and found the perfect fit to meet her needs. The school she fell in love with and was accepted early decision would never have been on the radar if it wasn't for Carolyn. We are very lucky to have met her and have already started daughter number two with Carolyn!!"
"Our son, Andrew, began working with Carolyn at the end of 10th grade. Andrew is now a senior in high school and will be attending his first-choice college in the fall. Andrew is our third of four children. He attends public school. Our older two attended local, independent schools. Although we were familiar with the college search and application process, this was the first time we worked with an independent college adviser. Carolyn is an incredibly warm person. She immediately set our son at ease. She is very easy to work with and extremely knowledgeable. Carolyn got to know our son, his strengths and interests, and recommended a number of schools we never considered. The list of schools Carolyn has visited is amazing! This gives her the ability to hand select and recommend a highly personalized group of schools. This was tremendously helpful when we prepared our itineraries for college visits. And it paid off in the end; this up-front planning with Carolyn saved us a tremendous amount of time and provided us with many excellent choices to consider. In one of these visits, I even found a school Carolyn recommended, which I might have preferred over my alma mater!
Carolyn could not be more supportive, knowledgeable, and/or helpful. We look forward to working with her when our youngest begins the process. I recommend Carolyn with enthusiasm. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I would be delighted to discuss our experience with you. "
"The degree to which Carolyn Mulligan contributed to my college process is truly ineffable. The most accurate description I can give is this: she was relentlessly involved, passionately interested, and continually reliable. Whether it was her constant refinement of my college list in accordance with my ever-changing interests or a steady stream of information regarding every school I was looking at, she helped us gain a certain amount of relaxation (undoubtedly rare in the college process). Her attitude and enthusiasm towards the entire situation, whatever it was (whether rejection, wait list, or acceptance), helped me maintain the right mindset. Her spark, flare, and optimism were always a welcomed presence when we would have our meetings or phone calls. I am truly fortunate to have found such an incredibly adept, intelligent, and remarkable college counselor in Carolyn. I would surely not have ended up at such an amazing school without her help."
Emory, Class of 2015
"Before our 1st session I honestly felt like I had so much to do with no place to start. But you really helped outline what I needed to do. Loyola was somewhere I never would of thought of, but thanks to you, I'm now attending. It was a long process but you helped it to be stress free and simple."
Loyola University of Maryland, Class of 2015