Educational Consulting for the Intelligent, Curious and Adventurous

… and college counseling, too!


Our Philosophy at Lives Under Construction

Educational and college consulting for the intelligent, curious, and adventurous. What does that mean? My mission is to help students build their capabilities in a way that makes life feel like a spirited adventure. “Spirited adventure?” you say, “But I don’t even know what I want to study in college!” That may be true, but every day of your life you have been making choices about where to apply your energy and attention. A curious examination of what you have done so far often produces lots of ideas about where you might like to go next.

Why Choose an Independent Educational Consultant?

Education is an enormous investment. Therefore, you want to make your educational experiences as effective as possible. Good advice can prevent frustration and wasting time. With my help, you will learn and move ahead.

I help students notice the unique and intriguing parts of their experiences. Starting from these strengths we define possibilities for future success by expanding on existing skills. My counseling can help you go from hazy dreams to specific steps that you can take to build confidence in your chosen path.

Click on the tabs below for age-appropriate programs, or contact me for assistance with your individual situation.


Let your senior year be relaxed by finishing your college application in August at my camp, Crafting Your College Application!

Our College Application Camp is Different!

With our instructors you’ll learn about turning your unique high school experience into a clear and memorable application that speaks to the reader. We teaching essay writing, of course. Then we go deeper, into marketing techniques and the specific concerns and demographics of college admissions officers. Lively discussions on values and finding your individual message are a part of every class, as you work toward both originality and clarity in every part of your application.

You will write your college application with thoughtful peers who love both school and life. Some of our students have worked with us throughout high school using our coaching to find academic excellence and the energy to deeply pursue individual interests – whether artistic, intellectual, scientific or athletic. Other students we are delighted to meet at the camp. Either way,  you will feel welcomed in our small, personal setting and will leave with a completed college application before senior year has even begun.

Face the college application process confident and in-control. You will learn to understand your college admissions audience, to write essays that show your most appealing qualities, and to interview with poise.

After writing the main part of their college applications at the Crafting Your College Application summer camp, students applying to elite universities often find private counseling to be the most efficient way to write the many required supplemental essays.  I will help you focus your message to colleges so the admissions committee clearly understands your strengths through your fresh, original, and personal essays.


In the fall, I am available to work with individual students who have attended the summer camps.

I offer three sessions, an Early Admissions session to prepare before October 15th, a mid-fall session for those applying to schools with end-of-November deadlines, and a Regular Decision session. In each of these 4-week sessions we will take your rough drafts and polish and customize your message to each college.

I can assist families with students as young as twelve who are avid learners and want help with designing a personalized advanced curriculum that is right for their individual situation.

I teach How to Succeed in High School for 9th and 10th Graders every year. These classes meet monthly for two hours each. During Spring Break weel I teach a workshop on Researching Colleges and Careers for 9th to 11th graders.

  • In How to Succeed in High School for 9th and 10th Graders,  we develop skills for achieving academic and extracurricular excellence.  The six meetings focus on how to develop interests,  the importance of maintaining motivation, how to plan and organize, leadership skills, and school specific situations. Students discuss their specific challenges and get help understanding how to apply the ideas to their own lives.   We meet several highly successful seniors and get to interview them about their high school lives, focusing on understanding the seniors’ extracurricular successes. Then we use these stories as a template for developing the younger students’ unique plans for where to direct their academic and extracurricular efforts and how to find opportunities to hone specialized skills.
  • Individual Coaching Students rapidly see that planning productive summers leads to interesting and impressive opportunities. However, students in early high school often need help identifying and applying for summer jobs, internships, and specialized camps as early as January. For an hourly fee parents may schedule individual meetings for us to assist students in finding the summer opportunity that fits them.
  • Our Spring Break College Research Workshop is for freshmen, sophomores, and especially juniors. It may be repeated. At this camp, students use part of their spring break to conduct guided, in-depth research on the colleges that goes beyond the marketing veneer presented on college tours. Students develop a targeted list of colleges to research and maybe visit. They also benefit exponentially from listening to one another’s discoveries!
  • College Strategies for Juniors is for students who want to use their junior year to learn leadership skills, hone their extracurricular abilities, and deepen their relationships with the adults who will write college recommendations for them.  This package consists of three 2-hour group meetings. Geared for students who are preparing to work with me on college applications, this class/coaching focuses on helping students develop and articulate a personal vision for their future.


    I provide individual counseling for college students. I have assisted with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) course selection, study skills, applications for internships and out-of-school learning opportunities, graduate school planning and applications, and more! Contact me to discuss how I can work with you.


    For more information about educational consultants visit the Independent Educational Consultants Association website. For 12 questions to ask before hiring an independent education consultant, please see this helpful resource.

    Clients are saying…

    • I just wanted to give you an update on my plans for next year and to thank you again for all your wonderful help and advice. I ended up getting accepted straight out to University of Washington and getting interviews at Caltech and UCSF. Fortunately it looks like UCSF is the best fit for me (great synthetic biology research, close ties to emerging biotech industry and a vibe that I really liked). Thanks again for your help! Your input was invaluable in helping me get into a great program that I really like.
      Jonathan Glidden