North Star Admissions Client Testimonials NSAdmin
Made the right choice with Karen
“As an applicant from the overrepresented demographic pool, I was a bit anxious about the admission process, and therefore sought out an admissions consultant who has a history of placing clients into top institutions, worked in an admissions office, and delivered a personalized client approach. I made the right choice with Karen, who has been an incredible support for me on my journey to gain acceptance to a top MBA program. Before starting my essays, Karen put extensive care into understanding and contextualizing my background and experiences. Her personal yet thorough approach in our discussions allowed me to not only hone in on my unique characteristics that she believed MBA admissions would find attractive, but also identify the best schools that would best complement these strengths. This brainstorming process was crucial, as it allowed me to establish a compelling narrative by selecting the best anecdotes and stories that firmly tied together my personal history, “why school X”, and my professional goals. Since day one, Karen has always been prompt in her responses and feedback. Given my tendency to be obsessive with the process, I truly appreciated this and her care and patience with me. There are an abundance of MBA resource online, however it is a lot to navigate and a lot of info are myths or inaccurate; therefore, having a consultant such as Karen can help prospective applicants avoid crucial errors in this time-intensive process. Ultimately, Karen was more than I bargained for as she became my personal advocate who I could rely upon (she was also a lot of fun to work with!). My efforts paid off and I was able to gain acceptance to Tuck, my top choice school!“
I got into every school I applied for (including Stanford GSB, HBS, Wharton, Sloan and Booth) which I could not have done without Karen!
“I thoroughly recommend working with Karen! I thought I was ready to apply and came to Karen for some additional advice and support. Karen provided the perfect balance of tough love and support. She was honest when something could improve as well as when it was ready and we could move on and make better use of our time. She took the time to get to know me then challenged me to be more personal and vulnerable in my essays and interviews. She helped me make sure each essay was targeted to the school I was applying for and not generic. During interview practice she was tough but provided specific, actionable feedback that made me so much more comfortable on the day of. Karen was always available to talk through a question and could not have been more supportive. I got into every school I applied for (including Stanford GSB, HBS, Wharton, Sloan and Booth) which I could not have done without Karen!“
Accepted Early Decision to Penn
“Working with Karen got me accepted early decision into my first choice college, the University of Pennsylvania. Karen’s knowledge and expertise helped make the process very smooth and low-stress, especially after I was accepted early decision. Karen understands the admissions process very well, but more importantly, she invests the time necessary to really get to know the people she works with. By doing so, she helped me incorporate my personality into my essays. Karen helped me identify the strongest points of my candidacy and put them all together to create the best possible application, which accurately reflected my personality and ultimately got me accepted into a top university. Throughout the process, Karen remained very positive and supportive, and helped make the process a lot faster, easier, and more relaxed than it otherwise would have been. I strongly recommend Karen; working with her was the best decision I made during college apps.“
Working with Karen was the best decision I made
“I wholeheartedly recommend working with Karen if you are remotely considering applying to MBA programs. Working with Karen was the best decision I made throughout the MBA application process.
One great part of working with Karen is that she truly takes a personal approach, taking time to really understand both you as a person, as well as your biggest needs in terms applying to school. I have heard that many consultants are tactical in nature, preferring to become involved after one has initial essay drafts. This couldn’t be further from Karen’s approach, as she invests in every detail, guiding you from choosing the right schools to apply to, to helping solidify your career goals long before you even start writing. As a result, I was much more confident in my approach, producing more meaningful and genuine application essays.
Relatedly, Karen became an incredible support structure for me throughout the process. She is readily available to her clients, and frequent touchpoints both helped me stick to a timeline, as well as provided me the support needed through an otherwise fairly isolating process.
Karen is a pleasure to work with. She is encouraging, energetic, and was a huge part of my ultimate success in being admitted to Tuck. If you are thinking about applying to MBA programs, call Karen! This will certainly be one decision you won’t regret.”
Her guidance is the best investment I have ever made and has set me up for a bright future.
“Without Karen I would not be at the top tier MBA program I am at today. Before meeting Karen I applied to and was rejected by several schools and was at a loss on how to gain acceptance. My academic history was a massive red flag to MBA programs and a blemish on my application. I had an undergraduate GPA of 2.8 and a degree that was stitched together across several schools and years. It was something I tried to minimize and avoid in my previous applications.
I perceived my academic history as a blemish yet Karen saw it as an opportunity to tell my story of perseverance and personal growth. This shift in thinking was only possible because Karen took the time to get to know me, my story, and my dreams. Karen’s nuanced and bespoke approach transformed what I thought was my greatest flaw into the cornerstone of my MBA story. With her unique perspective and guidance I was able to create a compelling application that landed me at my stretch MBA school in the Ivy League.
Karen’s dedication to understanding me and my story along with her deep knowledge of MBA programs, truthful feedback, and guidance made the application process painless. Her guidance is the best investment I have ever made and has set me up for a bright future.“
I could not have done it without her!
“Karen was instrumental in helping me get into business school. She has a gift for understanding the unique personality of each of her clients and teasing out elements that determine the best fit for each person. From the start, Karen’s instincts on the right program for me were spot on, even before I came around to realizing it myself. Further, Karen provided the guidance I needed throughout the entire process, from planning to essays to interviews, and she enabled me to present the strongest version of myself to prospective programs. I could not have done it without her!“
We Highly Recommend Karen
“We are so thankful that we hired Karen to help our daughter with her college admissions process. Not only did our daughter get in early decision to Brown University, her first choice, but the process went so smoothly with Karen there guiding her along the way. Even though our high school has a strong guidance department they were not able to offer the type of support that kids need to get into highly selective schools. Karen really helped strengthen our daughter’s application and helped her manage deadlines. In addition, she helped her feel more confident and less stressed. Karen was always willing to listen and calm the nerves of our daughter with real concrete information that put her at ease during this stressful time of life. Although my husband works at an Ivy League college and we are both Ivy graduates, we found it useful to get expert advice. We highly recommend Karen. You, too, will be thankful that you hired her!”
Personal and Reflective Experience
“The business school application process can be daunting and complicated – Karen both guided me through the labyrinth and helped make it a more personal and reflective experience. She encouraged me to focus on my professional goals and polish that narrative before jumping into each school specific application. This approach helped me stay calm and keep to my core values and objectives throughout the process. Karen also tactfully kept me on task in my essays while still encouraging my voice and personality.
With Karen’s help, I got through the business school application process while staying sane and confident that I had given it my very best effort. In the end I got into my top choice schools including Tuck, Kellogg, and MIT Sloan. I also received almost full funding from five of the eight schools to which I was accepted – making the work I had put in all the more worthwhile.”
Karen is the real deal
“Let’s start the story with the outcome: I am going to my dream school and that is without doubt thanks to Karen!
A few months ago after being denied admission from all the schools I applied to the previous year and despite having worked with a « famous » consultant from a « famous » firm, I decided to reapply to the same schools and also to apply for the first time to my dream school, which was a stretch considering my stats. I decided to « audit » possible consultants and came upon Karen. Any free consultation could only give a glimpse of what it would be like working together but from the first call, you can hear in Karen’s cheerful voice that she is on your side. Karen was the first person to believe in me and to push me to apply to my dream school. As I mentioned, I did not apply to my dream school in my first round of application last year because the previous consultants told me I would never make it, they just looked at my profile and analyzed the stats and concluded I could only make it to a top 15 schools at best. Karen had a very candid and holistic look at my profile and concluded that both of us could make it to my dream school with some hard work of course.
So here are the best part of working with Karen:
– she understands that all prospective applicants are rough diamonds and that with some hard work: you can go to your dream school! Unlike other consultants who are not willing to go the extra mile with you but just to make you fit in a box;
– Karen will be your coach from day one until you put your deposit in the school you aimed to get to, at no point she will let you down (trust me on this point, if you are Rocky Balboa, Karen is Mickey Goldmill);
– take it from someone who worked with other consultant and who heard from friends working with consultant: you might think: ok that’s nice feedback from my consultant but was it worth the money? With Karen you will never have this feeling: all her inputs and prep will make you think: oh I could have never do so good without her inputs.
This is just my opinion, but after going through two admission cycles and working with several consultants before Karen, I can tell you this: Karen is the real deal. I am going to my dream school: Tuck!
Good luck to all of you, you can all make it!”
Took some of the angst out of this process
“Karen was a key asset during the college search and application process. In initial interviews with each parent separately and then with our son, she listened openly to our hopes, concerns, and aspirations, and used those conversations to shape a path of exploration that ultimately led to admission to his first choice school, Wake Forest University.Karen deftly walks the line between supporting students and encouraging independence, and she thinks both aspirationally and realistically. Karen can take both the meta view and see school trends from afar and at the same time, she understood very well the unique high school context from which our son comes. Impossibly, she also took some of the angst out of this process for which we are deeply grateful.”
Found a way connect with me
“Karen helped make my college application process go as smoothly and stress free as possible. She found a way to connect with me (a 17 year old high school male) and make me feel comfortable. Karen worked with me to identify and articulate my strengths and guided me as I prioritized my applications. I highly recommend Karen!”
What Got Me Into Business School
“Without question, working with Karen is what got me into business school. Just a year prior, I applied on my own and was disheartened to be receive rejection after rejection. Fast forward a year – I was offered admission or a spot on the waiting-list for all but one school that I applied to with Karen. She provided a soup-to-nuts approach to the process, which was invaluable for somebody who had no idea what he was doing. She helped me pick the best schools, she guided me through the applications/essays, and she prepared me for school visits – all with passion, energy and enthusiasm. As a former graduate admissions officer, Karen has incredible insights that you won’t find elsewhere. And beyond her qualifications, Karen was simply a pleasure to work with – always encouraging and instilling confidence in me throughout the process. I would recommend Karen to anybody without hesitation. Trust me, it’s worth it!”
Took The Stress Out Of The Process
“Working with Karen took essentially 100% of the stress out of the process for our family. Karen worked with us to develop an appropriate list of schools to visit and based on our initial visits very quickly got a sense of what our daughter was looking for in a school and who she is as a person. Karen had a ton of knowledge about school culture and was open about sharing her insights while still making our daughter feel that the choices she was making were her own. Karen and our daughter worked seamlessly to complete the Common App and the essays. With deadlines, our daughter was never playing catch-up or rushing to finish. As parents, we were able to remove ourselves from the application part of the process and be available to be available for the fun part – the school visits! While there are never any guarantees, our daughter did get accepted to her early decision choice and I believe that is because of her academic record, her application, and Karen’s help in finding a school that really felt like the right fit for our daughter.”
Professional & Personable
“Karen is professional and personable. She is continually keeping her clients’ needs in mind and wants to make them as successful as possible. Karen was also fun to work with! She demystified and clearly explained the entire grad school application process. She then worked proactively with me to set realistic timelines and regular check-ins to help achieve my goals.”
Karen's Help Made All The Difference
“After getting accepted to my dream school, the first person I wanted to tell was Karen. It’s a testament to how much I attribute my success to her and how personalized I felt she made the process. After receiving an offer from a top school, I was faced with a difficult choice on whether or not to re-apply to my dream school. I only felt comfortable turning down an amazing offer if I were to work with Karen. It was Karen’s honesty and authenticity that made me feel so at ease.
Karen takes the time to learn as much as possible about a candidate. She pointed out the qualities and experiences that would help differentiate my candidacy and craft a compelling story. It’s through this personalized process that helped me completely re-vamp my application from the previous year.
The business school process is stressful but Karen made me feel much more relaxed. She quickly turned around materials, answered all my questions, and always had time for a phone call.
Not only was I admitted to my dream school, but I also received scholarship offers from two other top schools. Without a doubt in my mind, it was Karen’s help that made all the difference!”
Single Best Decision
“Investing in North Star Consulting was the single best decision I could have made during my application process. Karen’s professional expertise coupled with an easy friendliness allowed for an unmatched experience. Karen has served as a guide, a cheerleader, and a savant. From the beginning, her analysis was insightful and could pull threads together from various conversations. She understands the business school landscape very well and can navigate it with ease and speak to distinctions. Through my personal process, Karen knew when to encourage me and when to pull back to give myself a break. Finally, Karen was always right! She put schools on my radar that I would have not considered, but she knew that they were perfect cultural fits. I am now enrolled in my dream school, and it could not have happened without Karen’s insight and encouragement.”
Unbelievable & Necessary Resource
“I don’t know what I would have done without Karen. From initial soul-searching to application composition to ultimate decision-making, she was an unbelievable and necessary resource. When I began this application process, I was flying blind; I had no idea what MBA programs expected of me when it came to application materials (whether my GRE score was strong enough, what essay topics were appropriate, how to structure my resume effectively, etc.). Karen gave me a nuts and bolts understanding of what I needed to say and how I needed to say it each step of the way — not by dictating content for me, but by helping me put my best self forward, in my unique tone of voice. Karen was also readily responsive throughout the application process, taking calls and responding to my emails at generous speed, which was helpful during anxiety-ridden months. At the end of the day, I was admitted to four of the six schools I applied to, and waitlisted at one of them. I received generous scholarship packages at three of the four schools to which I was admitted. Karen helped me negotiate for one of these packages. I have now happily committed to attending what was, from the start, one of my top choices.”
Understanding And Trusting
“Being an international student, I knew I would need some help with my application process for my MBA application in the US, so I reached out to a few admissions consultants. However, after my first interview with Karen I was convinced she was the right person. She immediately struck me as someone who truly seeks to understand her clients and she seemed to genuinely have my best interests at heart.
Over the last couple of months, Karen has helped me refine my career goals and taught me how to communicate in a direct and effective manner. Her calm and inviting nature also promoted an environment of trust where I always felt comfortable knowing I had someone to whom I could go with any questions or problems I had about the application process.
Karen constantly encouraged me to focus on my own unique experiences, which ensured my application was a true reflection of my values and attributes rather than merely what I thought the adcom wanted to hear. Her insight into the various universities and their differences also helped guide me towards which B-School I thought would be the best “fit” for me.
Having now been accepted into an Ivy League school, I am certain that it was Karen’s assistance that enabled me to put my best foot forward and eventually get in. I would highly recommend North Star Admissions to anyone who is looking to get into a top tier B-School. Karen’s insight was invaluable to me and there is no one else I would rather have had on my team throughout the process.”
Changed The Course Of My Life
“Karen has changed the course of my life. This is not an overstatement or an exaggeration. If you are reading this review that means you are lucky enough to have found her. Do not pass this opportunity up!
To say I was not the ideal candidate was an understatement. I found her 2 months before my first (and most important) application was due. At that point I have not even taken the GMAT yet. I come from a non traditional background, have low GPA at 3.02, my undergrad was piecemealed together because I worked full time while completing my degree, and my chosen career trajectory suddenly took a depressing turn as the plant I worked at was shut down. I also was a mom with two small children and a working spouse.
Karen excels at many things. She is equal part a detective combing your life experience for attributes and achievements you yourself forgot about or felt were unimportant or not pertinent, and equal part your most ardent cheerleader. Her knowledge on the application process and dynamics at play is unparalleled. Karen has an uncanny ability to reframe your experiences in way relevant to business school. She will push you to reach for your best product, she will make you work for it and you will work hard. She is an absolute master of her craft.
When you work with her you will have her undivided attention and will feel like she has no possible other place she needs to be even though you know she is extremely busy. She always honors her dead lines. If she says she will do something by this date and time you can set your whole life around it as she will deliver without fail.
But the results are unprecedented. I got accepted into my first choice school Ivy League Business School, and got two full ride fellowships to two lower tiered schools.
Ironically the hardest decision was still ahead of me. Given the fact that I was an older applicant with a family I did not see how I could possibly assume the financial burden of attending my first choice school and would have accepted the full ride to a lower tiered school. Karen would not have any of it. When I felt it could not be done she persisted and guided me, way beyond what our contractual relationship obligated her to. She was that dedicated to my success. The only thing I can credit myself with was having the good sense to listen to her.
I sincerely hope you do the same!”
Getting Accepted To Harvard
“I was very happy with Karen’s service and ended up getting accepted to Harvard. This is my second time applying to MBA programs, and the first time with consultants. After talking with Karen, I knew I wanted to work with her the most when compared to all the companies I had talked to. I ended up purchasing 10 hours. As she was running her own thing, I knew that the person I was talking to was the person I’d work with (unlike the other companies). I would recommend her to anyone looking for consulting help. She listened. I cannot emphasize this enough, especially in comparison to the other people I talked to. She took time to understand me, my candidacy and truly listened. I found her admissions experience extremely helpful. She gave me her perspective and guesses as to what other schools were looking for. She was generous with her time. With the other consultants I used, they were marking essays sent back to me with time it took to read, they were very much “counting hours.” With Karen, I never felt that way. Karen was very positive and provided a lot of encouragement.”
Big Ripple Effect
“It wasn’t until I started working with Karen that I truly understood the importance and value of soul searching throughout the MBA application process. As Karen and I continued to work together it became clearer than ever how important it is to me to find work that has meaning. In this regard, and many others, I would have been lost through this process without her. Aside from considering my own future and career, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that what Karen does for a living is a very important job, and it impacted me very deeply. Karen’s guidance and input helped me achieve results beyond my expectations. Further, she helped me touch others in such positive and meaningful ways – I can’t express how excited my entire family from Brazil was to hear that I was accepted to Duke. I feel like I’ve inspired them to reach higher, too. What Karen has done has had a big ripple effect!!”
Immediately Encouraging And Positive
“After my son was deferred from his first choice college in December, we went to North Star Admissions Consulting to help us through the regular admissions process. Karen was immediately encouraging and positive. She helped us identify target schools that were a great fit for my son. She helped my son write essays that truly explained why he was genuinely interested in each school he targeted. Rather than edit or rewrite the essays, she talked him through the essay writing process and gave pointed feedback that drew out writing skills that he didn’t even know he was capable of. Her method resulted in sincere essays that accurately reflected his interests, goals and personality. She also reviewed his common application to make sure it told his unique story. In addition, she gave us advice about enhancing my son’s application to his top choice to increase his chances during the regular admissions cycle. After he was deferred, we thought he had no chance of admission. But Karen did not let us give up and helped my son effectively convey to the school the reasons why he was a good fit. My son was ultimately admitted to his top choice Ivy League college! In addition, he was admitted to many of his other top choices. After receiving disappointing news in December, my son ended up in a great position, having to choose among a list of excellent schools, including his top choice! Karen assuaged our anxieties about the entire college admissions process with her sage advice, wealth of knowledge, and most of all, her calm, supportive and enthusiastic demeanor. My son is looking forward to enrolling in his first choice college next year thanks to Karen and North Star Admissions Consulting!”
“I am fortunate to have Karen as my mentor of MBA applications. I got to know Karen because my good friend, who was admitted to a top MBA program with the help of Karen, strongly recommended her. As a prior Associate Director of Admissions at Tuck, Karen has unique experience in top business school applications. When reviewing essays, she is able to quickly identify the pros and cons of your essays, proactively explore your potential selling points, and strategically provide you with suggestions from an insider’s perspective. All these expert advices saved me lots of time and boosted the quality of my essays. In addition, Karen is nice, supportive and responsible. It was always great experience working with her. To help me catch up with the application deadline, she sacrificed her weekend time to review my essays and cared about my application progress. As an international applicant, I was quite impressed by her quick responses in spite of the time difference. Sometimes I received her responses at her night time. I could easily tell that she treated my application as her own stuff and helped me with all her heart, rather than simply handle a task. Another thing that impressed me was that she is familiar with many top business schools. With her help, I was admitted to my two “dream schools,” Kellogg and Tepper, both with scholarship. Karen is far beyond my expectation. I strongly suggest that business school applicants consider her services. You will harvest not only an experienced mentor but also a lifelong friend.”
“I chose to work with Karen due to her exceptional qualifications and the fact that I get to work with her directly, rather than another employee. She had very fast response times, and was a huge help in perfecting my essays. I was able to receive admission to my top choices of graduate schools within weeks of submitting my application! On top of that, I was offered scholarships to my dream school! I honestly would not have been able to be so successful in my endeavor without help. I would definitely be working with Karen again when pursue further education.”
Accessible And Responsive
“Working with Karen was a real pleasure and her feedback and coaching were instrumental in my gaining acceptance to Wharton’s Lauder MA/MBA program, my top choice for a business school program. After consulting with Karen I felt that my application was much more precise and well-organized, and her knowledge of both the school and my target program made a huge difference when writing my essays and preparing for my interviews. I was out of the country when I applied, and despite a 12 hour time difference, Karen was always very accessible and responsive. I would highly recommend anyone who is serious about applying to business school to work with Karen. I think that she helped me to show my best self in the application and our conversations were always very fun and constructive at the same time.”
Invested In Your Success
“Karen is so good at getting you to trust her first, and then trust yourself. She helped me believe that top MBA programs were within my reach, which is half the battle in the application process. Graduate admissions is a competitive and intimidating process that can easily lead one towards self-doubt. Karen’s cheerfulness and positive attitude served as a voice of reason that assured me that everything would turn out fine (and they did!)
Having Karen’s experience in admissions and her willingness to really learn about my professional background helped me highlight my true strengths as an applicant. She helped add a genuine tone to my essays, which were too polished and proper. With her help, I applied to my only two “dream schools” in the final round of admission and was accepted to both. Needless to say, Karen was elated to hear about it. She’s truly invested in your success and has the knowledge and resources to help give you the best chance for admission.”
Top MBA Program
“Karen was instrumental in helping me getting accepted into my top choice school. I came into the application process very nervous that I did not have the qualifications to get accepted into a top MBA program. It was through my MANY conversations with Karen that I was able to successfully present my experiences both on paper and through my own voice. For me, the best thing about working with Karen was the constant reassurance that I was on the right track and the confidence she gave me to know that I would be successful. Thank you Karen!”
“Working with Karen got me into arguably the best business school in the world. But that’s not all. It helped me get a truly incredible scholarship to that school. But that’s not all, either. Most remarkable to me was that working with Karen turned the application process into a fun and organized personal growth experience. Karen is one of most insightful and thoughtful people with whom I have ever interacted. She instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Her powerful influence on me will go on well beyond the application and even business school. Working with Karen resulted in an immediate and long-term positive impact on my education, career and life.”
“Karen is amazing! With her knowledge of the admissions process she developed an admissions strategy that got me admitted to Wharton, Booth, Cornell, and Darden. Best part: I pulled $338,580 in scholarships … with a 2.57 GPA.”
“Karen is an amazing person to work with and I urge anyone applying to business school to consider her services. The MBA admissions process is a giant black box and Karen’s insider knowledge and ability to help me navigate the otherwise unknown was incredibly valuable, and more importantly, reassuring and calming. According to Karen, I had very good “stats” to start, but without her help I would never have been able to translate them into a meaningful, concise story that appealed to the types of schools I was aiming for. Throughout the process, Karen provided a consistent (and clearly correct) approach for me to follow, something that I think is vital in a world where every website and blog offers their own take on the secret to a successful application. It’s also important to note that working with Karen is like talking to a friend; there were no time limits or up-sells, it never felt like a business transaction, and she was always willing to answer my most ridiculous of questions and concerns within hours, even on weekends or when she was on vacation. Almost a year after starting to work with her, I’m eternally grateful for her direction, which helped me get into my dream school and even get a scholarship. I am also proud to say that as a result of working with her I have made a new friend who I plan to keep in touch with for life.”
“I cannot imagine navigating the MBA admissions process without the guidance, support and insights offered by Karen. The years of first-hand admissions experience she has, coupled with her naturally supportive personality, are a rare and incredibly helpful combination that I have come to trust and rely on immensely through the admissions process. Karen has a gift for seeing and bringing out the best in a candidate by listening intently, offering solid, realistic advice, and by honoring the experiences and personality each of her clients brings to the table. Where other consultants were confused by my “non-traditional” background, Karen was able to clearly see how my non-traditional background was a strength and present it as such in my application. With Karen’s help, I believe my applications reflected the very best of me, and my school choices were on target with my personality and career goals. Now, with several offers of admissions to consider, Karen continues to be my sounding board as I make my final decision. I am grateful for all that she has offered me through out this process and cannot recommend her services enough.”
“Karen has been a wonderful adviser to have through this complex application process. I made the mistake of not reaching out to her until I was almost ready to submit my application, but I dramatically improved my essays after talking with her. Applying to school is really about fit, and Karen does not overlook this essential aspect of your application. Karen has a rare gift of being a skilled listener, and she forced me to drill down my statements to emphasize my core values and challenged me to present my ideas in new ways. I am positive that my applications would not have been as strong without Karen. What I really appreciated the most about Karen was her honest feedback. I took my GMAT two weeks before application deadlines and was devastated that I did not reach my target score and was below the average for most of my target programs. With her encouragement, I applied and received three acceptances, including one from my dream school! I loved the fact that Karen never felt the need to sugarcoat any situation but always gave great advice that calmed me down when I was stressed. Her responses to any questions were always immediate and effective. If you work with Karen, you will instantly feel how much she genuinely cares about your success!”
“What I believe sets Karen apart from other consultants is she really took the time to get to know me and was invested in my success. Her taking the time to know me really showed on my essays. She helped me to better tell my story and frame my essays to not only answer the prompt, but also hit key areas admissions officers look for. For example, she took something I thought was a weakness in my application and helped me turn it into a positive essay. I had applied to business schools before and been accepted, but I wanted to get into higher caliber schools. I was very interested in applying to Tuck and decided to work with Karen because of her inside knowledge about the program. Karen’s guidance and experience as a past admissions officer was more than helpful with my essays for all of the schools I applied to, not just Tuck. Her expertise as a past Consortium representative was especially helpful. I will be attending UNC this fall as a full Consortium fellow, and Karen was instrumental in this achievement. I highly recommend North Star for anyone applying to MBA programs, but especially for Consortium applicants.”
“Working with Karen was one of the best investments I’ve made in my education. I will be attending my top choice school with a fellowship this fall, and without Karen’s guidance I would not be on this path. I was hesitant to contract a consultant – this was not something I had done for undergrad or really ever considered before. However, as a non-traditional candidate I found the MBA application process daunting and struggled to understand my competitiveness. I learned of Karen’s organization through The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and from the brief referral I had a glimmer of hope that someone could help me sort through the plethora of information inundating me from MBA websites, message boards, and shiny admissions brochures. From our first session, I knew I made the right choice with North Star Admissions. Karen is very knowledgeable about admissions systems at top institutions, and her feedback is grounded in her impressive experience within the admissions field. But beyond that, she is kind, competent and downright amazing at her job.
One of my fears of working with an admission consultant was that I would be overly coached and pushed to represent myself in an inauthentic way; this was the exact opposite of my experience with Karen. Karen’s approach is focused, consistent and personal. Karen is incredibly approachable and she took time to get to know me. I was surprised to experience so much personal growth throughout the application process as Karen helped me to clarify my goals and articulate my story. I also really valued Karen’s perspective and advice on finding the best “fit” with an MBA program. Karen helped me align my background and goals with potential programs, and I ended up applying to and being accepted to many schools that I had not previously considered, including the program I will attend this fall! Karen was instrumental in building my confidence and tapping into my strengths, especially when crafting my essays and preparing for interviews.
Karen helped me define a final list of schools, create a timeline and manage action items to keep me on track. I was able to rely on regular check-ins, clearly defined expectations and an always calm, reassuring tone throughout the chaotic application process. As an added bonus, the interview and resume prep have proved invaluable for the start of recruitment season.
I am so grateful for Karen’s services and the support she provided me through this process. Karen is truly wonderful to work with and if you are able I would highly recommend seizing the opportunity to have her guide you through your admissions process.”
“Working with Karen as an admissions consultant has truly been a great experience. I was referred to Karen by another friend who knew her from Tuck and spoke very highly of her as a professional and a friend, and I can say with confidence that the praise was well deserved. Karen took the time to understand who I am and what my greatest contributions to the graduate program would be, and then helped me leverage the strongest aspects of my unusual background in my applications for admission and financial aid. Specifically, she helped me develop tools needed to craft a strong application package and to communicate more confidently and clearly in a professional setting. With Karen’s guidance on aspects ranging from time management of GMAT preparation to attire recommendations for a networking event, I am happy to say that I will be matriculating to my first choice school in the fall. Looking back to the beginning of my application process, I have come a long way and I have been fortunate to have Karen as an advisor and friend on this journey.”
“Karen and North Star Admissions Consulting was a joy to work with. I used two different consultants and my experiences were night and day. Since Karen has over a decade of actual Adcom admissions experience, she provided valuable insight on how an actual Adcom would view my application. She was extremely prompt in her responses (less than 24 hours) and respectful of my time. Unlike with other consultants, I never felt that she was nickeling and diming me. I hired Karen for hourly MBA Admissions consulting, and she would speak extremely fast on the phone just so I would be able to hear all the comments she had prepared in my allotted hour. She would even round down my time and did not charge me for a quick review of a short answer that she probably should have charged me (I would have!).
Unlike other consultants, Karen does not do the work to just check the check boxes. She caps her client list, losing out on potential income, so she can give each client’s application a thorough review and provide real actionable feedback. Most of all, I felt that Karen genuinely cared about my success. She wanted me to be happy with my essays and the application I produced. She edited one of my essays for grammatical errors, even when I didn’t ask her to, just so I would submit a better essay. When it seemed like the time I had purchased was not enough, she went above and beyond what I expected any consultant to do—she committed to working with me until the end, no matter how long it took. Having Karen’s help was like having a friend in my corner rooting for me, rather than having a consultant working for me. I could not be happier with Karen and North Star Admissions, and would recommend her to all my friends and anyone looking for MBA Admissions consulting!”
“The college application process is never easy. We decided to engage a consultant to help our son’s application process. We interviewed several services and decided to use North Star Admissions. Karen was professional, reliable and fairly priced. No question was too “stupid” and we felt comfortable going back and forth with her. Our oldest son got into Cornell ED! We feel grateful and relieved we had the services of Karen Marks. We worked with her early in the application process and she was able to help our son put together a plan geared to his college choices. Karen strategized with him on SATs, ACTs, interview strategies, essay writing and the application.“
“As our son approached the finish of his junior year in high school, we were introduced to Karen. Her relaxed and calm approach to establishing a plan for the college process made it easier for all of us to feel that we were organized and not overwhelmed. Karen broke the process down to small steps, allowing our son to focus on the task at hand. While he pursued the option of being a sports recruit, she kept all options in college choices and academics equally weighted. Although he ultimately applied early decision to the college he initially selected as his top choice, Karen encouraged him to look at all possibilities – this in the end helped him feel confident in his choice. Karen brings an upbeat and supportive guidance to the process and is both a great listener and gentle leader for high school students.”
“Coming from a competitive undergraduate institution with a large pre-med population, I was extremely grateful to have Karen returning feedback on my essays within 1-2 days rather than the 1-2 weeks I could expect from my school’s advising services. In the time sensitive process that is medical school admissions, her prompt and thoughtful replies were indispensable. She also took the time to get to know me and my motivations for entering the medical field—again in a way that no school-provided advisor could have—and used that knowledge to draw out and highlight my voice in my writing. Her years of experience with undergraduate and business school admissions grafted seamlessly onto the medical school admissions process. As a result, she was invaluable in the strategic aspects of the process as well, from composing a school list in the narrow window between the receipt of my MCAT scores and submission of the AMCAS primary application, to preparing for my twelve interviews, to maintaining contact with schools through update letters. Largely thanks to Karen’s help, I was accepted to a top medical school on the first day possible during the application season. I recommend Karen as a resource to any medical school candidate in the highest possible terms.”
“The first thing that I think of when I think of Karen and North Star Admissions is “peace of mind.” Karen dispels many myths of admissions and makes sure you are simply answering schools’ questions with the best stories you have.
Furthermore, Karen is always very prompt and conscientious with response times and is not afraid to tell you that something isn’t working. With her background in Admissions, she gives you the perspective of how an admissions officer would read your application.
I’d say also that Karen is particularly helpful with reapplicants. She is able to take what you submitted already and work with that and specifically point to areas and give actionable “to-dos” to re-work your application. One of my pet peeves with any sort of consulting is vague/high-level advice. Karen does not do that. As a result of my work with Karen, I will now be entering a top-tier business school this fall.”
“Working with North Star Admissions was an absolute pleasure. I was initially quite anxious when I started the business school application process because I have a non-traditional background, but those anxieties subsided once I began working with Karen. Her guidance allowed me to focus on the most important aspects of my application to programs. This strategy ended with an acceptance to my top choice. I am grateful for her help during this time and am looking forward to matriculating this fall.”
“After talking to Karen Marks during the free consultation, I knew that I had found the right MBA consultant. She highlighted important parts of my candidacy that I overlooked, helped me turn perceived weaknesses into strengths, and even pointed out MBA programs that fit what I was looking for – schools that I hadn’t even thought of before. Throughout the entire process, Karen kept me accountable and focused on my goals. Coming from a non-traditional background, I knew that I needed to tell my story in a clear and confident way, and Karen helped me do just that.
The results were overwhelmingly great: I was accepted to three top MBA programs, two of which offered me a full-tuition scholarship. I am happy to say that I will be attending my dream school, a Top 10 MBA program with a full-tuition scholarship offer. None of this would have been possible without Karen’s help. Because of her, I am one step closer to achieving my dreams and goals in life. Thank you Karen!”
“Looking back at my application process to some of top schools of the US and Europe, I am deeply convinced that I could not have succeeded without working with Karen.
I initially was told about Karen by a Tuck alumnus after I failed to receive acceptance from any of the schools I applied to in the previous year. Hearing Karen’s great insight into the application processes and her strategies, through which she fully applies her experience as an admissions officer at Tuck, I decided to work with her immediately after the first 20 minute consultation.
While I worked with Karen, I realized the essential part of her instruction. It is “selection and concentration” As a business school applicant, it is very important to balance your essays, scores, other application requirements, and of course your professional work. However, your time and money are limited. Some counselors tell that you should “work hard” and “do everything”, but Karen does not. She distinguishes important parts from others. I was convinced that her strategy worked greatly through having satisfying results.
As a result, I received an offer letter from one of my dream schools and decided to go and study there. I deeply appreciate Karen’s accurate instructions, enthusiasm, and positive attitude which always empowered me. Now, with confidence, I am honored to recommend her as the best counselor.”
“Karen provided us with consistently knowledgeable and thoughtful advice throughout the college admissions process. Her ability to share her experience as a former admissions officer, including the insights that she has as a result, was invaluable. In addition, she was a pleasure to work with, was quick to respond to questions we had, and made herself available on short notice, including once on a weekend. All this, for what we consider to be a very reasonable price. We highly recommend her.”
“After two successful college admissions processes, we cannot say enough positive things about the support and guidance Karen provided to our family. We could always count on Karen, even during the darkest of times, to respond to our litany of questions in a cheerful and positive, yet realistic manner. Between her insightful ability to pinpoint your child’s strengths and her constant availability at inconvenient times to provide her strong and speedy feedback on the seemingly never-ending essay writing process, Karen was the unwavering oar on our boat destined for the high seas. Most importantly, the colleges that our children ultimately selected are tailor-made to their interests and are truly the “perfect fit” for them. As both of our children will likely pursue graduate degrees, we fully intend on tapping into Karen’s knowledge and skills in the future and highly recommend her services to anyone seeking the assistance of a true professional with a heart of gold.”
“I decided to work with Karen after our initial free consultation. At the time, I was already working with another senior consultant from a well-established MBA admissions consulting firm. Within the first thirty minutes of our meeting, Karen discovered important aspects of my background that are crucial for my application that the other consultant did not think to ask about, even after working with me for a few months. Karen helped me craft personal and thoughtful essays that are, without doubt, my stories told in my own voice. Through her vast experience and understanding of the admissions process, she helped me avoid any pitfalls in the admissions process. She was a great editor, consultant, and confidante during this difficult process. I was eventually admitted to my top two choices (both are top ten programs), both withsignificant scholarships! I could not have asked for a better experience, and I highly recommend Karen.”
“When my daughter was placed on the wait list at her first choice college, Karen helped her manage the wait list process, which included writing a compelling letter to the admissions committee. Karen helped my daughter convey her unique strengths as an applicant and the reasons the institution was the best fit for her. She made sure the letter communicated how my daughter would contribute to the school, which is an important part of the admissions process. Karen also helped my daughter determine the appropriate timing and frequency of her communication with the school. In addition, Karen clarified what was likely going on behind the scenes, helping to minimize my daughter’s anxiety. After working with Karen, my daughter felt empowered, proactive and certain that she had done all that she could to maximize her chances of admission. I found Karen to be encouraging, professional, supportive and a clear communicator.”
“I strongly recommend Karen. She was honest, professional, flexible, and above all completely trustworthy. If your goal is to gain acceptance to a top-tier business school, then search no further; Karen is all the help you will need. During one of our first phone chats, Karen provided me with the following blunt yet insightful advice: “You’re story is great, but you need to own it!” From our first meeting onward, Karen answered phone calls and replied to emails almost immediately, all in order to improve my delivery. Karen provided me with fresh ideas and guidance without sacrificing my integrity or hers. I wanted to enter a top-tier school, and I wanted to have earned it on my own. With that, especially, in mind, I recommend Karen’s services to anyone who is genuinely willing to improve upon their own candidacy in order enter a top business school.”
“Simply stated, I highly recommend Karen to other individuals who are applying to business school. Given her professional experience, she easily knew how to display my best qualities to an MBA admissions committee. She knew the right questions to ask me, and helped me bring out parts of my background that I wouldn’t have known to display. I will forever be grateful to Karen. It is because of her that I was admitted to the best school for me, with a scholarship. I am confident that others can benefit from her knowledge and understanding of the MBA admissions process.”
“My time with you was nothing short of a phenomenal experience. You worked hard to get to know me, understand the stories that made me unique, and present those stories in the most effective way possible. As a candidate with a sub 3.0 GPA, it was critical that the other elements of my application be of stellar quality. As you can see from my results, they were; I was admitted to 5 of the 7 schools I applied to and was awarded a full scholarship. Your guidance improved every facet of my application and helped me understand the value in parts of my story that I otherwise would not have thought to share, adding tremendous value to my essays and interviews. Your persistence helped me stay on track with our timeline and accomplish more in less time than I thought possible. It’s safe to say that I would not have had the same success without your help.”
“Karen was an incredibly helpful resource in navigating the wait list process at Tuck. Her background in admissions has given her a great insider’s view, allowing her to provide outstanding advice and to help craft a unique plan for me as a wait-listed prospective student. What really sets Karen apart though is her ability and willingness to listen to and get to know each candidate. Karen truly has a knack for seeing and bringing out the best in people. She was great at critiquing my letters and helping me articulate my strengths and desire to attend Tuck to the committee. She was always contagiously upbeat and positive and went out of her way to provide a little extra help and talk me back from the ledge. Though she would never admit it, I am pretty sure she rearranged her schedule and went out of her way to help me on a couple of different occasions. My goal was to put my best foot forward, and with Karen’s help, I believe I achieved that goal. I am very grateful for all the help and advice she has offered me and cannot recommend her enough!”
“Over the two years that I have known Karen, both as a prospective and current MBA student, she has proven to be that rare combination of tireless advocate and sharply perceptive advisor that every business school applicant needs. Her many years of experience as an admissions officer admitting a diverse array of students at one of the world’s most prestigious business schools uniquely positioned her to recognize strengths that I could contribute to a top management program – strengths that I could not have articulated or recognized on my own. I benefitted immeasurably from her strategic approach to admissions, honesty, and in-depth knowledge of the application process. Having Karen on your side will set you apart in ways that top schools will find hard to resist!”
BA, University of Pennsylvania; MA, UCLA; MBA, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; MPA, Harvard Kennedy School
“I have had the pleasure of connecting with Karen in many different roles. I interacted with her as a prospective student seeking admissions advice, as a Tuck Student Admission Associate helping to interview candidates, and as a friend. In every interaction I have always known Karen to be genuine, honest, and caring. Her knowledge of the admissions process, coupled with her commitment to helping others, ensures that you will find a business school environment that is right for you professionally and personally. When I was a prospective student, Karen not only helped to guide me through the admissions process, but also displayed patience and honesty when helping me choose a school that was the right fit for me. She helped me think through the pros and cons of my MBA admission choices without bias. I was fortunate to have Karen in my corner through this difficult and stressful time. If you work with Karen during your admissions process, you will be partnering with an expert in MBA admissions, an expert in the consortium process, and a person who will make your personal and professional interests her priority.”
BS, Wesleyan; MBA, the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College
“Karen is an admissions expert with years of experience in a decision-making role at a top-ranked business school. But what distinguishes Karen is her EQ [emotional quotient]. Karen understood me quickly. She appreciated the things that made me special and guided me through the process of communicating them in the most effective way possible. She immediately saw, what others may have missed without her help. I was lucky to have her guidance. I could not imagine a better coach.”
BS, Columbia University; MBA, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
“My interaction with Karen Marks through the MBA admissions process was particularly helpful because I was not a traditional candidate. One area of my application was lacking, and Karen saw other areas of my application that still made me stand out as a great candidate. My GMAT score was not particularly strong, but Karen allowed my work experience, recommendations, and natural fit with the Tuck community weigh more heavily. As a student who has since done well at Tuck and graduated, having an admissions director who can see the value in other areas of an application outside of raw data is crucial to building a great class. For this reason, I am very confident that as an admissions consultant, Karen will help candidates bring out other parts of their applications to offset some areas that are not in the top percentiles. She will be a very valuable asset to help candidates stand out regardless of weaker areas in their applications.”
BA, Brown; MBA, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
“I have known Karen for the two years I was a student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She is impressively intelligent, a complete perfectionist, affable, and enthusiastic, which makes it an absolute pleasure to work with her. She is culturally sensitive and has unique insights regarding the application process, which would be highly beneficial to any prospective student. Further, she exemplifies the spirit of Tuck in terms of collaboration, ethics, and responsibility, which makes her a unique admissions consultant.”
B. Com., Delhi University; Institute of Chartered Accountants of India; MBA, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
“Karen has the unique ability to hone in on the distinctive qualities of her clients and help translate those attributes into their application. Combined with her insider knowledge of the business school application review process, she will prove invaluable to those applicants looking to best present themselves to an admissions committee. I highly recommend working with her!”
BS, United States Military Academy at West Point; MBA, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; MPA, Harvard Kennedy School
“I can confidently say that my life would be very different today had it not been for Karen. Several years ago, I took a crack at applying to business schools on my own – Kellogg, Tuck, Cornell (Johnson) and a few other top programs. I had good grades, a decent GMAT score and “non-traditional” work experience. While I worked incredibly hard on my application and essays, and prepared diligently for interviews, I was disappointed to have been rejected from all but one school. I truly believed that my application would speak for itself, but sadly it had not. Worse, I didn’t understand what I was missing! I deferred admission to the business school that accepted me and chose to give the entire process another shot. In our very first meeting, Karen helped me better understand the things that made me special, unique and capable of positively contributing to the schools’ communities. Once we had identified these elements, she gave me the tips and tools to perfectly position myself and communicate my “story” effectively. Further, Karen worked with me extensively on my interviewing skills. To say that Karen maximized my candidacy would be an understatement. The following year, I submitted applications with a whole new outlook and strategy. I was accepted at Wharton, Kellogg, Tuck and Johnson. Working with Karen ensured that I could attend the institution that was right for me, with a scholarship.”
“Karen understands people—she listens, truly cares, and wants her students to succeed and achieve. Karen’s knowledge of the admissions realm, coupled with her focus on the individual, makes the school search a positive, fulfilling, and rewarding experience.”
BA, Mt. Holyoke; Associate Director of Admissions at an independent high school