e understand education because we’re educators and we’ve been doing this since 1991. Our admissions experts have spent decades as teachers and college counselors, investing their lives in helping their students succeed. As a branch of Bennett International Education Consultancy, Bennett College Consulting is dedicated to supporting students with college and university applications. With offices in Philadelphia and New York, and a team of consultants around the world, we have served hundreds of students interested in attending college in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Unlike many college consulting firms, Bennett also offers an understanding of the curricula and culture of education systems around the world, and this enables us to support students from all kinds of backgrounds.
We honor the respect and the trust that our student clients and their families place in us, and we’re dedicated to helping them identify and gain admission to institutions that will be the best fit for them academically, socially, and culturally. We believe in the uniqueness of each student and are committed to providing professional and personalized guidance to each one we serve.
We also offer comprehensive and extended support, providing expert guidance for one full admission cycle. We’ll typically start working together after the first marking period in the junior year of high school. The student is supported by their Bennett consultant all the way through to the acceptance of an offer of college admission. The service includes:
• Discussion of overall education goals.
• Review of the student’s candidacy for multiple programs through assessment of academic records and standardized testing results.
• Explanation and recommendation of further standardized testing options.
• Discussion and recommendation of specific college and university programs.
• Explanation of the financial aid process and deadlines, including merit versus need-based options.
• Guidance on selecting the right courses for the remainder of high school that will make a compelling college application.
• Preparation for campus visits and interviews whether in person or virtual.
• Discussion after campus visits and interviews and formulation of next steps.
• Support in the creation of a final lineup of programs to which the student will apply, (typically organized into “Reach,” “Target” and “Safety” categories).
• Advice regarding early decision, early action, and rolling admissions options.
• Essay writing guidance.
• Decision counseling after offers of admission have been received.
Our College Consultation is useful if you’re planning to manage your own college search and application process and would like the assurance of an expert that your list of colleges is appropriate and that you fully understand all aspects of the application process. It best serves students who work well independently or respond well to parental assistance and is not the best service for those of you who would enjoy more ongoing support as you write your personal statement and complete applications. This service includes:
• A two-hour meeting (typically online); discussion usually includes topics such as application timelines, testing, financial aid, recommendation letters, student “resumé,” extracurriculars, interviews, and the role of long and short essays.
• An assessment of your academic record and standardized testing.
• A written summary report of the meeting, including a “to-do” list.
• A testing strategy.
• A customized list of recommended colleges & universities, organized as “reach,” “target” and “likely” options.
• An explanation of deadlines (e.g. ED, EA, Regular), including those for financial aid.
• A follow-up discussion of our suggestions and an opportunity to address questions generated by the report.
The personal essay is a key piece of the college application – it’s where you tell the world about yourself. Not always an easy task, right? We understand. So we take the stress out of the process and turn it into a powerful opportunity for self-reflection and expression. The results won’t just show who you are, they’ll communicate the unique value you bring as an individual.
Our decades of experience take the mystery out of the process. Here’s how it works:
• Together, we’ll discuss possible topics to write about and help you hone your ideas
• We’ll guide you on how to begin the writing process
• Then, we’ll stay by your side all the way through: helping you as you organize your thoughts, choose your tone and vocabulary, and create working drafts on which to build
• By the time you’ve finished, you will have conveyed clearly and powerfully what you wanted to say.
Want to get an early start? Let’s do it! Our College Application Workshop is for students who’d like to complete as much of their college application as possible before their last year of high school begins.
Whether you attend the workshop in person or virtually, we’ll guide you through completion of the Common Application based on your personal goals and preferences. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have written a reflective college essay, created a focused list of your activities, and completed the personal and academic information the application requires.
And of course, we’ll give you (just a little bit) of homework! You’ll get a detailed “to do” list that will guide you through the remainder of the application submission process.
“My son loved the College Application Workshop! It helped him understand and gain confidence in the college application process and enabled him to pretty much complete his common application. He came home after the first day and thanked my husband and me for signing him up! All of it was helpful – guidance with the personal statement, direction on filling out the common application, and strategies to applying to colleges.”
“Thank you again to our Bennett college consultants for their continuous support, advice, and encouragement during this quite stressful process! You made it so much easier to get through and in the end, our son got some really great university choices. It was all worth it – from guiding us on how to fill in the Common App, how to write the personal essay and additional essays requested by various universities, the recommendations of universities to apply to based on student personality and study objectives, the follow up with admission officers and additional requirements – to keeping track of deadlines and making sure all requirements were met and fulfilled ahead of deadlines.”
“Very helpful with our first child going through the SATs and college application process. The individual coaching helped to boost our daughter’s self-confidence with the college prep and application process. Also, your consultants provided my wife and me with a sense of relief as a result of your guidance.”
“Our consultant’s knowledge and flexibility were extremely helpful, and have given me complete confidence in my college application. She did a really good job with overall management, her guidance of the process, and help with the common application essay.”
Emma Hoffman was born in New Zealand and was educated in six countries, including Hong Kong, Western Samoa, and Gibraltar. After graduating from King’s College, University of London, with a degree in law, Emma decided to follow her true passion and earned a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of London. She has dedicated the past twenty years to educating children in a number of capacities and has taught in public and private schools in the U.K. and the U.S., where she has resided since 1996. She currently tutors students for U.S. standardized tests, including the S.S.A.T. and the S.A.T. Emma joined Bennett in 2014 and particularly loves helping students find their voice in the college application essay.
Grant Calder has worked in College Consulting and Admissions Counseling for over 30 years and is Director of College Counseling at Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia, where he also teaches American History. Over the years, he has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University in Philadelphia, and the Middlesex and Choate boarding schools in New England. Additionally, he was a guest teacher at the Evangelisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster in Berlin, Germany. A frequent speaker and writer on US colleges and universities, Grant is a recognized expert in the field and is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of programs throughout the U.S. Grant holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a C.E.P. (Certified Education Planner).
Jayne Gandy has been supporting students with their college applications and essays for over 20 years. Prior to joining Bennett, Jayne was a school and college counselor at a highly competitive public high school in Pennsylvania. She also worked as an academic advisor to incoming freshman and sophomores at the University of Delaware, counseling students on appropriate course selection and advising them on future planning. A graduate of Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ, Jayne earned her M.A. in Education, with a specialization in School Counseling, from the University of Delaware. She was a Division I All-American Field Hockey player and was also Rutgers Headley Singer Award winner (Senior Female Athlete of the Year).
Jon Harris has been working in the education arena for more than forty years as a teacher, administrator, coach, Head of School and Trustee at some of the best-known independent schools in the country. He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Master’s Degree from Wesleyan University. As a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), Jon has worked with many American and international students who have matriculated at some of the most competitive boarding and day schools, colleges, and universities in the US. In 2014, he founded Griffin Global Education Network on a very simple premise: to help students and their families find the right school or college, partner with them in the application process, and support them as they settle into their new institution. Jon develops lasting relationships with the students he supports and is masterful in guiding them through the intricacies of the admission process so that, in the end, they present true and compelling versions of themselves.
Seth Hedderick has worked in college counseling and other administrative and teaching positions for over 20 years and has served as an application reader for several highly selective colleges in the Mid-West. He is currently Assistant Principal and Director of Academics at Baltimore City College, the city’s academic magnet high school. He started there as the Director of Admissions and taught the Theory of Knowledge in the school’s International Baccalaureate program. Seth also worked as a college counselor, history teacher and coach at Friends School of Baltimore (MD), Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (MN), and Friends’ Central School (PA). He holds a B.A. from Haverford college and two M.A.s, one from Eastern College and one from McDaniel.
Gabriella D’Amico is a high school college counselor at a private Catholic high school in Southern New Jersey where she has worked for several years, serving students in 9th-12th grades. As a college counselor, Gabriella meets with parents and guides students through the entire college application process. This includes providing help with finding the right college “fit,” with essay revision, with creation of an effective activities resumé, and review of applications prior to final submission. A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Gabriella earned a B.A. in Communications. She also is a graduate of Villanova University, in Radnor, PA, where she earned her M.A. in School Counseling.
Brent Spicer is an Independent Education Consultant based just outside of San Antonio, TX. He has a Master’s in Educational Leadership, an M.A. in American Indian Studies, and a B.A. in History. Brent joined Bennett International after a rewarding career of more than 20 years working as a teacher and administrator in some of the most prestigious college preparatory schools in the United States. He has been a teacher, coach, house advisor, Dean of Students, and Division Head (principal). His administrative tenure has involved him in everything from admission and advising to overseeing college counseling and graduation. As a college consultant, he loves helping students get a strong sense of the many colleges and universities that are a great fit for them, coaching them to prepare the most competitive applications they can, and guiding families to understand how they can afford the cost of college. Brent and his wife, Dana, enjoy traveling, golfing, volunteering, and fishing with their two children.
Julie Bickings brings a long career in working with kids to her Bennett consulting: prior to becoming a mother of four children, she worked first as a teacher and then as a high school counselor at a public school in New Jersey. This was followed by a stint as School Counselor at a highly competitive private school in San Diego where college advisement was a huge component of her role. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, Julie earned a B.A.in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with a minor in Speech and Language Pathology. She also holds an M.A. in Education from Rowan University, with a specialty in School Counseling, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. One of Julie’s areas of focus is military options for students to include ROTC, service academies, and enlistment. A 2x DIV III National Champion field hockey player, Julie also coaches youth lacrosse and field hockey.