Mary did an amazing work with our daughter. As parents who’d attended college in the 1980s, we were completely lost as to how to approach the essay process – what topics were appropriate, expected word count, etc. Mary’s an expert on all things college essay and guided our daughter through applications at eight colleges. Our daughter found Mary really easy to work with. She’d post drafts to Google docs, Mary would review and suggest edits, and it all went as smooth as could be hoped for. The most important thing from our perspective is that Mary provided the kind of editorial guidance that enabled our daughter’s voice to shine through. Our daughter’s essays were all her ideas and her work, and it showed. We’ve suggested to Mary to friends who are going through the application process and will continue to do so.


Parents of senior, Northern California, 2018

We are so grateful to have found Mary last summer (before senior year). She worked closely with our daughter to create a considered and balanced list of colleges, guided her through the detailed essay and application process, was a calm and reassuring voice in moments of high stress and was very organized in her approach.

Mary was always there and helpful when we had a question or needed advice. All of this was invaluable. Mary went above and beyond but was also measured in holding our daughter accountable and on track. Hands down, Mary was the best investment we made during the process. We highly recommend Mary to any family – and have already done so!

Portland, Oregon Parent of HS Senior, 2018

We loved working with Mary! She developed a strong rapport with my son and held him accountable for the work, but kept me informed and checked in with me all the way through. Mary helped us navigate the entire college application process start to finish, (even calmly and cooly responding to my panicking texts!) and helped my son select a set of schools that he fell in love with. The best news, he has already gotten accepted to two of them. She was spot on in her recommendations and advice. I cannot recommend Mary highly enough.- Berkeley mom, 2018

Berkeley High School Parent, 2018

I found Mary Finn through BPN in the summer before my son’s junior year at Berkeley High. Sometime early winter she came to interview him and I could see that they clicked. She has a very easy payment plan which was a plus for me as a single mom. She somehow got him to apply and write essays for all the schools he picked. There were about 15. She created a very helpful spreadsheet showing each college and its good points, his chances of getting accepted, and why it would or would not be a good school for him with his particular interests. I highly recommend Mary. She works by teleconference directly with the students which made me skeptical at first but the kids are completely used to that.

Berkeley High School Parent, 2017

I highly recommend Mary Finn as a a counselor for the college selection and application process. Our daughter started working with Mary late in her junior year in 2016 and has just finished now that she’s been accepted to her school of first choice. Mary is great to talk to and works well with both parents and teens. She is very skilled at defusing the anxiety that all parties can bring to this process. I really appreciated being able to hand off all of the application and essay writing process to her.

Mary came up with a detailed and achievable step-by-step schedule of the process and deadlines that greatly helped our daughter keep track of where she was in the process and meet her deadlines. Mary is also very skilled in helping a student identify colleges to apply to. She spends time at the outset getting to know the student, her/his interests and preferences and academic and life experiences, and then suggests colleges well suited to that student.

Above and beyond all of this, Mary offered a very calm and reassuring perspective and, very importantly, is far more affordable than many other counselors.

Parent of a Berkeley High School Student, 2018

I highly recommend Mary Finn. She helped my daughter with college essays. She was efficient, knowledgeable, professional and knew how to guide my daughter through confusion and stress. My daughter produced strong essays and was happy and confident with the results thanks to Mary´s gentle guidance. We enjoyed the process, the way it is organized and the method she uses to help a student to find his/her voice. I know this is a skill my daughter will use in the future. I also appreciate that she was flexible with time and the meetings were via Skype.

I selected Mary after interviewing more than 10 counselors in the Bay Area. We are so happy we found her!

Parent of a High School Senior, Palo Alto, CA

It is no understatement to say that we could not have gotten through the college process–no less already with 4 acceptances in the bag–without Mary’s guidance and dedication. She helped us identify appropriate schools, created a game plan for our approach to the applications, was on the other end of the phone whenever we had a nervous question or crisis of confidence and created a list of scholarship opportunities for my son to explore. Mary was really helpful as the mediator between the controlling mother (me) and her less than engaged son. Mary was able to motivate my son to take charge of the process in a way that I hadn’t been able to. We came to her late in the process and the only regret that I have is that we didn’t bring her on to the team when he was still a junior in high school.  

First Semester Senior, New Jersey

Mary is an incredible college counselor. She is calm and her knowledge on the process of getting into college is such an incredible asset to anyone during the stressful times of applying to college. She always makes time for the people she works with and as someone who had the privilege of working one on one with Mary I know that I could not have gotten into my dream school without her help. She edited every single one of my essays to all of my colleges and I will always appreciate her for helping me through one of the most important phases of my life and helping me represent myself the best way possible to all the colleges of my choice. Mary goes above and beyond and I would recommend her to any child applying to college!

Student Athlete From Florida

Mary was very helpful to me in regards to the application process, organization, and essay/writing prompt editing. She is adept at helping with writing yet making sure it is the student’s voice, not hers. She created a structured and efficient chart for me to manage my colleges, essays, and more. I really appreciated how she was able to refine my writing, help me choose the best prompts, and review my applications well.

-Dublin, CA High School Student

Dublin, CA High School Student

Although my daughter says she wants to go to college, she’s also sick of (high) school, and showed no interest in the research, planning and application process. It was great to have Mary, a third party, be in charge of steering her through the convoluted process. Mary was friendly, low key, and stayed on my daughter without at the same time making her feel nagged or harassed. Although we are still in the application process and she has not heard from any colleges yet, I’m confident that with Mary’s help my daughter ended up choosing an appropriate selection of schools, any one of which would be a good fit for her.

Parent Of Berkeley High School Student