Our older son, at the time a high school junior, returned from his first meeting with his college counselor, and said, “I am going to enjoy working with Alistair. He can relate to so many of my interests”. As a parent, challenged with anxiety about balancing the “too much, too little" approach in assisting with the college process, it was a moment of disbelief, joy and relief. It’s magical to take a daunting process of writing college admission essays, test taking, visitations to colleges, college fairs, possible interviews, and then somehow encourage your student to take on this responsibility with a sense of self and desire. Alistair did this not just for one, but for both of our sons. He somehow instilled confidence and reassurance, allowing them to write about themselves, and to get to the heart of who they are. Moreover, Alistair’s encyclopedic knowledge of colleges and universities allowed him to identify just the right matches for our sons, several of his suggestions were new to us but turned out to be a perfect match. – Cynthia D
Alistair's approach is calm and understanding, which made our daughter comfortable with him from the start. He was very thoughtful in helping her think about herself - what she responds to and what's important to her, and then used that insight to help her think about what she wanted from her college experience and what type of school might be a good fit.
Once the application process started, Alistair was always available, even quite late sometimes, to answer a question or alleviate a concern. He knew everything we needed to know, and made the entire process more clear and less stressful. Our daughter had some stressful moments of doubt about a few things, and Alistair calmly and respectfully talked her through them. In the end, the schools our daughter chose to apply to felt right and she ended up being accepted to her first choice school.
Alistair is super knowledgeable about the different schools and all the details of the application process, but I think he also really cares about helping the kids be thoughtful about themselves and this next step in their lives. We so appreciated his calm, intelligent guidance. – Anne C
Alistair had a profound impact on our daughter's college application experience. He had a particular gift in encouraging her to recognize and appreciate the best of herself. He helped her to be proactive in discovering what was important to her and translating that into a successful college search.
Alistair has a number of characteristics that make him particularly well suited for this task - he is a wonderful listener, he is ethical, compassionate and accepting, he is a strong writer, he is thoughtful in the way he approaches college selection and tactical with his suggestions, he has a wealth of practical knowledge about colleges and strongly-held philosophy about embracing this time in a student's life.
Through Alistair, our family learned that a successful college admissions process is based in exploration & excitement rather than stress & struggle.
To summarize, the gratitude I have for having worked with Alistair is broadly based on two things - experience and results. Alistair made the college search process genuinely enjoyable - for all of us. My daughter gleefully accepted admission at her favorite school (in part, I'm certain, due to Alistair's counsel about successfully pursuing a wait list spot). – Joan K
Alistair began working with my daughter, Kate, in January of her sophomore year. From the start, his belief that the college application process can be a journey in self-discovery informed every aspect of their work together. I loved listening to his naturally curious and skillful approach as he helped my daughter answer two important questions; “Who am I? How do I fit in? As a high school teacher and a mother of two teenage daughters, I know this search for identity reigns high in the minds of most teenagers. Alistair understands how addressing this concern is foundational in helping high school students chart their next chapter. It also creates trust.
After each session with Alistair, Kate had a sense of confidence that came from being seen, heard, and understood. Alistair’s approach is both social & emotional, as well as, college guidance counseling. Through this process of self-discovery, Kate grew crystal clear on exactly what kind of college environment she needed to thrive. By September of her senior year, she had identified the school of her dreams and applied early decision to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She was accepted in December and finished out her senior year, stress free. Authentic and visionary in his approach, I highly recommend Alistair for his ability to help high school students learn who they are, where they have been and where they are going. – Marilyn L, M.Ed.
I feel so fortunate that all three of my kids have had the opportunity to work with Alistair on application essays. Alistair took such care to help them really discover what aspects of their personal experiences could make a compelling story to tell to an admissions team. The process was more of a soul searching exercise that left its impression on my kids far deeper then a simple writing of the college essay. With Alistair's guidance, the daunting process of the college search, application, interviews, and decisions was more grounded and far less stressful. We loved having Alistair part of our lives and we all miss his frequent visits and calls. – Lindsay L
Alistair has a unique ability to relate to teenagers. He made my stressed out teenage girl feel heard. Alistair helped her feel calm and empowered throughout the college application process. His care and understanding of teenagers and the college process is present in every meeting. She survived the process with a smile and humor, in large part due to her working relationship with Alistair Grant. I would recommend Alistair for any student willing to put in the work and who can handle honest replies to their questions. She is eager to head off to Tulane University in the Fall, thank you Alistair. Families have to approach the process with faith and calm. For our family Alistair was a 10 Plus! – Alyce E
My son enjoyed his interactions with Alistair. Alistair helped him with his thought process on what would make a good college fit (introspection for a teen boy--not easy). We had a great outcome with my son getting into his first choice school. I don’t think he would have found that school without Alistair’s process. – Cliff M
We were overwhelmed at the thought of selecting a college along with our son and the entire road that entails. Alistair brought an incredible level of professionalism to this process. His a take-charge attitude and subtle-yet-confident approach resulted in immediately being connected to our son and our family. He is not only creative; but he possesses the rare skill of being able to communicate ideas and their associated benefits effectively, which in our case resulted in an outstanding journey through the maze of the college admissions process. Simply put, he gets results that helped us all along this lengthy path. He was on call whenever we needed and consistently went above and beyond our expectations. – Kevin R
Alistair provides meaningful, in depth one-on-one meetings during the college essay process that help not only with the brainstorming phase, but also with refining papers far past the point of mediocrity than many would be satisfied with. – Joseph D
Like many others applying to college, I struggled with how to capture myself in my applications and essays. Deep down, I knew what I wanted people to know about me, but I couldn’t articulate those feelings into words, much less into a polished and concise essay. After working with Alistair, I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. More importantly though, I left with a greater sense of clarity about myself. This not only made the college process easier and more enjoyable, but has also allowed me to move forward in life with more courage and certainty. I am not quite sure how Alistair does it, but to this day I learn something new about myself every time I talk to him. – Sam D