Anya P., Santa Monica High School ‘17, Yale University ‘21
First as my SAT tutor, then as my college counselor, Nick has been part of my life for about two years now. From start to end was always there to answer any and all questions about the college application process. He kept me on top of my deadlines and proofread all my drafts for all the written parts of my application. Nick really took the time to get to know me as a person, not just as a student, and when I wanted to take an unconventional route for my personal statement, he encouraged me to trust in my own ideas and believed in my conviction.
Thanks to Nick's help and guidance, I will be attending Yale University, my top choice school, in Fall 2017!
Finn G., St. Paul's School ‘17, NYU Clive Davis Institute Of Recorded Music ‘21
I cannot thank Nick enough for the work we did together this fall! It took off an immense amount of pressure to have someone guiding me that was mellow, creative and could talk to me on my level. Nick was much more hands-on than the school counselor (who was extremely busy and couldn’t offer as much time or attention as Nick). I can't imagine how that would have worked without Nick.
As a creative type, it was so important to me to find someone who could balance the academics components with creative ones. Nick finds that balance.
We were always able to get things done without getting stressed out. We worked together flexibly, and even when I wasn't able to get something done, we'd just talk through it. I was really comfortable talking to him; it was therapeutic, even if what we were discussing was not directly going into the essay.
Most important of all, Nick always made sure the story I was telling was true to me, and he ensured that I was writing to tell my story rather than give them an answer I thought they would want to hear.
Jenny K., Santa Monica High School ‘17, University of Pennsylvania ‘21
From the moment I met Nick, I knew he'd make the college application process a breeze. He tries really hard to get to know you and what your strengths and weaknesses are so he can brainstorm colleges that relate specifically to what you want.
At every meeting, Nick takes notes so by the time you have to write your essays, everything is right there for you in your own words. He also takes his time to help you edit your work and make sure it's the best it can be. Nick made me feel confident about my application rather than nervous.
The best thing about Nick is that he helped take away the stress that applying to colleges can cause. He made sure that I turned in all my applications way before the deadlines.
I'm so glad I decided to work with Nick because he helped me apply to all my schools with ease.
Hadyn P., Palisades Charter High School ‘17, University of Michigan ‘21
Nick was way more personable and easy to talk with, to work through my ideas with, than other tutors and mentors I've had. He always asks the right questions to get me to think about things that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. I also really like the setting at his home office because it was comfortable and relaxed. This really helped to relieve the stress that otherwise can come with the hard work of college preparation.
Nick was especially helpful with ACT prep. He really helped me break down what I was doing and showed me how I could get a better score the next time.
Nick is great for people who have a certain degree of independence and a sense of time management—he gives just the right amount of space to allow us to take the initiative. I'm so grateful to have someone with me on this path to the colleges I really love.
JULIAN S., BEVERLY HILLS HIGH SCHOOL ‘17, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ‘21
If you're like me, you thought that you could write essays without a college counselor. So I brought some of my essays to Nick, mostly to make sure I was putting commas in the right places. He looked at my favorite essay for one second and recounted exactly what was in the essay almost word for word. I asked him, "How did you do that? You didn't even read the essay." He told me that about 1 in 3 students write about a trip to a third world country in similar fashion, therefore boring their college admission officer and simultaneously squandering their chance at admission. If you want a college counselor who knows which essays interest admission officers, then Nick is the right guy for you. Secondly, when choosing a college counselor, it is imperative that they possess superb writing talent. Nick definitely has you covered in this department. Thirdly, in order to make great essays, you need a lot of time. The more time you spend perfecting/polishing your essays, the better they will be. Nick is amazing, but hard work is required on both ends. Nick encourages you to start early because great essays don’t appear out of thin air. Finally, Nick is a very welcoming presence, whether you meet him at his home or talk to him over Skype.
Nick’s kind words of wisdom and masterclass writing talent is the only thing between your application and the shredder. He's well worth the money. In fact, he's undervalued.
Rayna B., Santa Monica High School ‘17, Middlebury College ‘21
Before I met Nick, the only idea I had of college was from The Secret History. Besides daydreams, I was clueless. Nick shaped every part of my college process. After first working to get to know me, he gave mapped out a list of schools that fit what I was looking for and my interests. Together, we planned a college tour, prepared for the ACT, practiced free-writing and brainstormed in preparation for college apps, and finally helped me edit and rework those apps right up until they were sent off. I will be attending Middlebury College in Vermont this fall, one of Nick's recommendations. Besides his diligence during the college process, Nick is an extraordinary person, and one of the people who I admire most in the world. Nick has always understood me when I stammered through vague and confused descriptions of who I am and what I care about. He was able to guide me to the right word, the right phrase, to help me expand my abstract musings into larger, and more concrete declarations. I will be forever grateful for the process that I underwent with Nick, a process that has irrevocably changed who I am and how I think about myself.
Maya D., Santa Monica High School ‘17, University of Southern California ‘21
I came to Nick flustered, with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do and where I was interested in studying. Nick really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and do lots of research. This showed me that the "best schools" are the schools that are right for you personally. I was encouraged to stay true to myself, and to make that possible he had personality tests, free-writing and goal setting exercises. Nick was able to pinpoint aspects of my personality that are crucial to who I am and what I wanted to show colleges. Most people won't say this, but I really enjoyed the college application process. I learned so much about myself and what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Thanks, Nick!
Jamie S., Palisades Charter High School ‘17, Smith College ‘21
About a month before my early decision application was due, I came to Nick with my personal statement and a feeling of impending doom. At the very beginning of our time together, Nick told me to completely disregard any and all essay prompts— and suddenly that feeling vanished.
My first meeting with Nick was a simple “get to know you”: he asked me questions about myself and assigned me basic freewrites, where I would sit down and write about anything I wanted for twenty minutes. This process of getting out ideas was essential for me, because then the actual writing came naturally. Over the course of a few meetings, my personal statement formed on its own, my ideas and values weaving together beautifully to create a piece of writing that truly felt like an accurate representation of myself.
Nick’s approach to this process was incredibly flexible, liberating, and safe. I knew I would finish my personal statement and my supplements and meet my deadlines because of Nick. This feeling of security and assurance is crucial in a process with so much uncertainty. And I’m so proud to say that I will be attending my top choice, Smith College, in the fall.
Emma B., Santa Monica High School ‘17, Sarah Lawrence College ‘21
The college application process for me was one of the most daunting aspects of my youth. But over the course of a few months, Nick helped me work through my anxiety about the sheer size of the task and my fear of writing about myself. Coming out of the college application experience, I am a much better writer, learner, and efficient worker. I will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in the fall, and I highly recommend Nick for his college application and writing support!
Ella Swimmer, student, Santa Monica High School ‘16
I’ve been amazed at how personable, hard-working, and passionate Nick Soper has been, and I am in awe of how he essentially transformed a stressful process into an enjoyable one. That’s right—enjoyable!
Nick helped me compose a well-balanced list of “reach,” “target,” and “safety” schools, spent hours meticulously editing all my writing supplements, and was there whenever I had any questions or concerns. I was never worried about missing a single deadline because together, we had crafted an efficient, week-by-week calendar of everything I needed to have completed by a set list of dates. In fact, I met most of those deadlines early, because Nick actually made the process fun and exciting—I was constantly eager to move on to the next step.
I was accepted into 4 of my 5 top schools, and I was overwhelmed with excitement knowing I had options. I have chosen to attend Tulane University in the fall, and it’s truly all thanks to Nick Soper that I have made this enormous decision with confidence and optimism for my future. I cannot express strongly enough how much I recommend Nick Soper as a personal college counselor.
Tim Southam, student, Santa Monica High School ‘16
College as an institution is changing. But Nick tackles the changes with such innovation, it is truly astounding.
The first thing Nick does is to get to know you as a person. Answering a personal survey he provides, Nick gets a feel for your work habits as a student as well as the type of individual you are in terms of socializing. Paired with his knowledge of school atmospheres nationwide, Nick helps you narrow down what colleges/ universities he sees you fitting into well, and you find yourself rarely disagreeing with him. Nick has you describe your views on the world around you, family life, personal experiences, etc., while he takes notes. When you begin brainstorming your personal essays, his notes are the best foundation to work from. Nick treats every idea you have he with the utmost care and respect.
I cannot thank him enough. I appreciate him immensely as a counselor and as a person for the time and effort he spent helping me.
Gayle Gilman, parent of Ella, Santa Monica High School ‘16
We had started working with a traditional college counselor that used a cookie cutter approach to the college process. She didn't seem to want to get to know my daughter and think about what might work for her talents, interests and abilities. We felt like we were wasting our time and money.
Then we heard Nick speak at a Santa Monica High School event and decided to set up a meeting. Immediately my daughter connected with him. He wanted to build a plan around her, not around a competitive, often mysterious and frustrating process.
After the first session, Nick helped her organize her thoughts, and they began to work together directly on the various assignments he was giving her. They came up with a list of schools and began to prepare for the application process. Nick was able to turn a potentially stressful situation into something that was actually fun for my daughter. She was researching and brainstorming and planning campus visits with enthusiasm. And the results speak for themselves. Ella's lists of schools were spot on. She was accepted at 11 of the 16 schools she applied to and will matriculate at Tulane in August. We couldn't be happier.
Sherrie Evans, parent of Brendan, LACHSA ’16
Attending a seminar that Nick presented at LACHSA was the best decision I made in helping my son navigate the college application process with a talent based emphasis. Having successfully ushered my 2 older children into college and graduate school, one with the use of an educational consultant and one without, I approached Nick's seminar somewhat skeptically. After one hour, my skepticism was cast aside and my enthusiasm mounted as I realized Nick had something very special to offer: credibility and competence!
Nick’s services are comprehensive but you can also choose an a la carte approach, which worked fabulously well for us. His writing expertise and background were of particular interest to me especially knowing that Brendan would have to write more than 15 essays during the process.
Nick proved to be the most valuable asset. Nick is calm, rational, professional, caring, supportive and extremely good at what he does. My best advice is to give yourself and your child the gift of working with Nick. I've worked with other consultants and Nick far surpassed them in every way.
Kendall Zeile, student, Oaks Christian School ’16
I started working with Nick via Skype sessions the summer before my senior year, and he has helped me with everything from college research to essay writing. Prior to our meetings, researching colleges was overwhelming and boring, but he helped me navigate the college websites so I could easily rule out colleges I wasn't interested in and quickly discover colleges that seemed like the perfect fit. While working on my personal statement and supplemental essays, he asked me precise questions that pinpointed exactly what I was trying to say, and as I sat back to answer, he typed up everything word for word so that next thing I knew I had my entire outline set and ready to go! Nick is very flexible with meeting times, and he puts 100% of his effort into all of his clients even at the end of a full day. If I had felt overwhelmed and stressed just hours before, a meeting with Nick would make me feel prepared and excited to continue my college process.
Annabel Lassally, student, Harvard-Westlake Upper School ’16
Nick helped me most on science by teaching me how to dissect the passage and highlight key information, which made the questions so much easier. He tailored our sessions perfectly for me to focus on my weaknesses (like science) and not waste time on the stuff I was doing well on. After just a few sessions, I went from a 32 to 35 overall and from a 28 to 35 on science! Thank you, Nick
Anirudh Addepalli, student, Santa Monica High School ’16
I was applying to technical programs in science and engineering, and so my writing and speaking style tend to be very analytical. When I started my original draft of my personal statement, I focused mainly on my achievements as a student. I avoided writing anything too emotional or heartfelt. Working with Nick pushed me out of my comfort zone so that I could tell stories that would help admissions offices understand who I am as a person. As a result, my essay-writing and interview skills improved, and I was accepted to Rice University, my top choice!
Nina V., student, Marlborough School ’16
I'd worked with another tutor before Nick and my ACT scores weren't quite where I wanted them to be. Nick taught me a completely different way of approaching the test, and after just a few sessions, I got a 34 on my next exam! My scores went up in virtually every section. I am thrilled and certainly attribute the improvement to our sessions. I'd say I'm most proud of my 35 in reading.
Caitlyn Cook, student, Oaks Christian School ’16
I knew I had a great story to tell to colleges, but I was having trouble figuring out what parts I should and shouldn’t include. Nick helped me start writing and encouraged me to share as much as possible. Soon I was feeling overwhelmed because we had a LOT of material, but Nick knew exactly how to help me choose the parts that were most important to me. I can’t recommend him highly enough!
Darrell L,, parent of Sydney, class of ’16
My daughter, Sydney wanted a 100-point SAT score increase to strengthen her applications to highly selective colleges. This is a high bar when your school was recognized for having the 6th highest SAT scores in a 2012-14 national study. Nick Soper was recommended by an expert as "one of the very best" SAT Tutors in Los Angeles. After working with Nick, Sydney's strong score increased by another 120 points! Nick's expertise got the job done. I will definitely use Nick's services again. Sydney is excited about being admitted to Duke during the Early Decision process!
Casey Rowley, College and Career Counselor, Malibu High School
I met Nick Soper when I first came to Malibu High School. It didn't take long to realize that Nick would soon become a valuable asset to our school. As the only College Counselor for the entire high school, I rely on trusted counselors to volunteer their time and assist my students in workshops and evening presentations. Nick has provided everything from small workshops to leading a large group parent information session. He is constantly looking of ways to improve access to information for students and families and always reaching out to make impactful connections. I am grateful for his work and it is clear the students and parents are as well.
Michael Heeter, Co-Director of College Counseling, Marlborough School
Nick has been an extraordinary asset to our students. He has a concrete approach and clear strategies for tackling the ACT Science—which are hard to come by in the test prep world—and since he began teaching the ACT Science Booster at school in 2012, we've seen significant improvement in our girls' scores. Beyond that, Nick has been instrumental in his one-on-one work with students, helping bring up scores across all areas of the SAT and ACT, and move students through writer's block when it comes to college essays. Ultimately, he is our go-to guy for all things test prep because he never disappoints. To both families and colleagues, Nick comes highly recommended!
Ah Young Chi, Dean of College Admissions, Beverly Hills High School
I met Nick in 2009, and he immediately impressed me with his passion for helping students. He takes time to understand the big picture, and his counseling methods reflect this. When he makes recommendations to students, he always explains why his particular recommendations make sense. This allows students to take ownership of their work because there is meaning behind their actions. Nick is constantly growing professionally. With his background in creative outlets and his desire and practice to constantly learn, I feel at complete ease when he works with any of my students, no matter what schools or programs they are pursuing.
Tommy Weaver, Oaks Christian School '15
"Working with Nick has been absolutely wonderful. Each time I met with him, we focused on specific goals for writing my personal essays and I could see the incredible headway I was making with each draft. When I first started writing my college essays, I had a good idea of what to write about. Our work helped me pick up on a very important aspect of my life. My essays flowed from there and Nick's help furthered my personal essays to reach their full potential and truly express the meaning and significance of my story. Also, Nick is very easy to talk to and his gregariousness made the experience all the better. There were times when I was stretched for time and I needed Nick's help. He made time for me and is willing to make sacrifices for his clients. Overall, I am pleased with working with Creative College Prep. I recommend them to anyone who is going through the college process. If you want your applications to truly express who you are, then you should strongly consider working with Creative College Prep. I made it into the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC and couldn't be happier!"
Eleanor Hoppe, mother of Nathan, LACHSA '15
"Counselors, parents, websites, books –- we all the resources laid out a months-long plan for applying to college. But somehow my kid knew better –- he'd always been able to wait until the last minute and be successful. We were struggling, trying to convince him procrastinating was not the right strategy here. When the moment came that he saw the light, he wouldn't have had much hope of pulling it all together at that late point without Nick's presentations at LACHSA, breaking things down into manageable steps, and Nick's one-onone attention, pulling drafts out of Nathan and finding key information about colleges. With Nick's help, much of the scaffolding was there and Nathan only had to engage with it. One key piece of advice Nick gave was to have contact with the schools, and it was at a college information session where my son finally found his motivation. Teen/parent relationships are complicated, applying to college is complicated. Working with Nick was really straightforward, and made working with my son a lot easier."
Albatool Shuhayeb, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center '16
"I was connected with Nick through a mutual friend. I didn't know what to expect but I had heard outstanding things about him. He tutored me for the ACTs from the beginning of my Junior year until I took the test in December and when I received my scores, I couldn't be any happier. After ACTs, Nick started prepping me for college applications and met with me frequently, via Skype, to brainstorm for my personal essay. To be honest, I'm not the best writer and I had plenty of ideas floating around but working with Nick helped me narrow my ideas and also put me ahead of all of my classmates in terms of college applications. Not only was I clueless on the college application process but I was also a busy student with a bunch of extracurricular activities to do, and without his generous help and his flexibility, I wouldn't be where I am today. Nick isn't just a mentor -- he is a friend."
Ilan Goldberg, Milken Community Upper School '15
"Nick has a special talent for connecting with teens and understanding both what they need and how to make it happen. I worked with him to develop my thoughts for an application essay because I felt like I had good ideas but could not express them adequately. After a couple sessions of brainstorming together, and learning to work through a few different drafts, I was relieved of yet another pressure early in my senior year when I finished my application essay. Nick has a creative ability unlike many others, and he stimulated my thinking and writing process -- enabling me to write and submit an essay that best represented who I am in an original and beautiful manner. I'm taking a gap year and then will attend Harvard College the following fall."
Hayley Smith, L.A. County High School for the Arts '15
"Nick was there for me every step of the way. He helped me find schools that I had never heard of but that were great options for someone like me. I was not excited for the college search and working through all the applications, but Nick made it feel manageable. It was fun and relaxed at his home office. He always felt like a friend. I don't think I could have made it through the entire process without his help!"
Diego Sacramento, L.A. County High School for the Arts '15
"Nick Soper helped me with my SATs as well as my submission to the UCs. He gave a much needed push when working on test prep and helped me focus my thoughts and ideas when writing personal essays. His keen eye and familiarity with the UC system helped us determine what information was needed and what was merely off topic. As far as the SATs went, I improved nearly 200 points because of his help. I now will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in New York."
Venice Hartwell, Santa Monica High School '15
"From the minute I began working with Nick, we developed clear and meaningful goals to focus on, and I could see the incredible progress we had made after every draft. Nick has inspired me to push through the most difficult challenges I had while writing my college essays, and his experience helped me sort out all of the thoughts in my mind to produce a solid essay that really reflects who I am."
Isabel Mullin, mother of Kellie, Mira Costa High School '16
"In just 2 sessions, Nick was able to give my daughter individualized assistance in determining what college environment most suited her and what major she might select. He has a caring, supportive approach allowed her the freedom to explore possibilities. He was a huge resource for tips how to develop ideas for the college essay questions. He has a wide base of knowledge on colleges and what they are looking for. I would highly recommend him as a private college consultant."
Ananya Madiraju, Santa Monica High School '16
"What initially caught my eye was the 'creative' in Creative College Prep. Not many other counselors knew how to get me to my future career goals, but Nick seemed to understand exactly what I wanted to achieve. During our most recent session, Nick helped me sort out all my various college essays, and made my priorities all the more clear."
Kellie Mullin, Mira Costa High School '16
"Nick made the college application process less daunting by explaining what colleges were looking for in a non-threatening way. He was especially helpful with the essay portion. In 1 one hour session, he broke down and simplified the prompts better than any course could have. I have recommended him to many of my friends."
Danielle Dawson, Santa Monica High School '16
"Before I met Nick, I was worried because my peers seemed already prepared and focused on the College process. I on the other hand, had no idea what I wanted to write about, and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. Immediately Nick had a very soothing vibe to him and was extremely welcoming and involved. Talking about College can be scary, but Nick knows exactly how to communicate and clam you down while at the same time pushing you on the path you need to go. He is genially invested in his student's lives, and really roots for you to succeed. I highly recommend Nick to anyone thinking of applying to College because now I have the confidence and boost I need to start applying!"
Lisa Gitter, mother of Zoe, Crossroads '16
"I found it hard to talk to my daughter about the essay. I wanted to know what topic she'd picked, but I was also very aware of not putting my oar in too much. I wanted to see what she would come with, but also wanted to steer her in the right direction. All of this was mixed up with mom/daughter dynamics and the anxiety around the whole college process. Nick was great. He asked all the right questions, and succeeded in framing the essay for her so she could see it as a chance to show who she really is. Perfect."
Kelsey Smith, student, L.A. County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) '14
"I couldn't have finished my applications without Nick. Through our sessions, he helped me organize my thoughts and ideas into something that could show the real me. The result was getting accepted into UCLA's Musical Theater program, which was my dream. I was able to submit my applications confidently after working with him. Thanks, Nick!"
Ethan Dark, student, Oaks Christian School ’16
Nick pushed me to be much more detailed in all of the writing I was doing for college. The results were great. My essays and supplements became much more personal and I found out that I got into my first-choice school Tulane! Thanks for all your help, Nick!