I worked with Alice in the 2018-2019 school year, and I wholeheartedly and unequivocally recommend Polaris College Counseling to any student who finds themselves in the muddy waters of the college application process. I believe that even the most accomplished students can greatly benefit from the mentorship of an experienced, kind, intelligent, and extremely knowledgeable college counselor like Alice.
Without Alice’s help, I sincerely do not think I would have been accepted to Stanford. Essays are such an important part of the application process because they are the only chance for a student to show who they are, but I was never a great narrative writer. Alice helped me transform the ideas in my head into just the right sequences of words on paper to highlight the aspects of my personality and life I most wanted to portray. From brainstorming about essay topics to navigating the revision process, Alice was somehow both extremely quick to respond and highly detailed and insightful in her suggestions and feedback. Alice also helped me put together a more cohesive application and compelling profile, find scholarship opportunities, and determine which colleges were the best fit. And beyond her concrete ability, Alice’s deeply caring personality also truly made me feel like we had developed a very close one-on-one relationship; I have complete trust in her judgement, character, and ability.
I believe what has been more important than the tangibles of the college application process is the personal development I have gone through this application season. By working with Alice on writing deeply personal essays about all parts of my life (some of which I had forgotten until this year), I’ve not only developed a greater sense of conviction about the abstract-yet-very-real idea of “my life purpose” but also feel infinitely better prepared to tackle the academic, extracurricular, and social challenges of college—and life!
Student R. L.
I started working with Alice in 10th grade, when I was still skeptical of getting a college counselor. As a shy and quiet kid, it was hard for me to open up about my thoughts. However, Alice remained patient and slowly pushed me to develop my interests and passions. She provided a countless amount of opportunities and connections that helped expand the bubble I was stuck in before then. Her communication throughout these two years has been consistent and fast, as I could always count on her for quick help and advice. As the college application process began, I found it difficult to find ideas to write about, specifically with my personal statement. However, through my meetings with Alice, we churned out many solid ideas throughout brainstorming exercises and talks. She gave me the perfect push as I started writing my first essays, remaining heavily involved throughout the writing and editing process. Writing has never been my forte (I’m more of a STEM guy) but Alice always provided an encouraging atmosphere when we met and worked through my essays. In the end, I got into the majority of the colleges I applied to, including two of the schools I most wanted to get into—Yale and MIT. If I could re-do my college process, I would change some things but one thing I would keep for sure is Alice’s help and involvement in my application process.
Student G. L.
I had the pleasure of working with Alice throughout my college search and application process for the past two years. Alice began by helping me thread together my most meaningful activities and accomplishments into a coherent story that was persuasive and true to myself. She also took the time to get to know me personally. Alice found ways to extrapolate from my stories more complicated implications and was able to elevate my writing into higher dimensions in thought and analysis. She asked deeper questions to guide me into my own realizations, which is reflected through the evolution of drafts we've worked on together. Through all the edits she has always preserved my voice while providing gentle nudges to guide me towards a more meaningful conclusion that I had been dancing around. I'm an endless procrastinator and Alice always moved me along. She was constantly on top of all revisions and deadlines. Through the college app process, I've learned a lot about myself: who I am, what motivates me, and what I truly care about. And all those things would not have been possible without Alice's questioning, nudging, and steering.
Student C. C.
While I was initially uncertain about the merits of working with a college counselor, my experience with Alice has left me with no doubt about the value and impact of her work. Even at our very first meeting, Alice's experience provided immense help in crafting a holistic story in my application.
From helping to brainstorm ideas and messages to polishing off words and sentences, Alice took my trivial ideas and transformed them, asking purposeful questions to unearth the deeper connections between my activities and interests and strengths. Her thoughts inspired me to write stories I would never have considered approaching when alone. Additionally, Alice's willingness to read draft after draft and leave unapologetic feedback pushed me to become a better writer — not just with applications, but in all my academic writing. By the time I submitted my last application, Alice taken on the role of a rapid editor, mentor, cheerleader, and thoughtful confidante, greatly reducing the pressure of what is otherwise the most stressful period in all of high school.
Ultimately, Alice's advice was crucial to writing the application that gave me an acceptance to my dream school. I would truly recommend her to anyone getting ready to face the college application process.
Student A. G.
I worked with Alice for two years, and had the fortune of going through my college search, essay, and application process with her!
Alice was a great guiding hand throughout my high school career as I was understanding more of who I am and what I wanted to do in the future. In high school I was able to be an intern at a local coding school, a math tutor, and a leading dancer. I was able to take full advantage of each of these opportunities with Alice’s support and genuine interest in what I was doing and how I was growing as a person.
When it came time to begin our college search and create our final list, Alice knew who I was, she knew my preferences and what I wanted for my future, which made making our list a hundred times easier. She was actually the one who put my dream school on my radar, one that I had never even considered but fell in love with the moment I saw it.
The college application process was made very simple with Alice, and we were able to go through our essays very efficiently. She was always available on call or text if I had any questions about writing my essays, and gave me thorough feedback on each of my drafts. Alice also made sure we were prepared with all of our applications weeks before the final deadlines, so there was no sense of urgency or lost time.
Working with Alice has been incredible because she was not only a mentor, but also a pillar of support throughout my high school career and the application process. I had a great time working with her, and would definitely recommend Polaris College Counselling!
Student M. R.
I strongly, wholeheartedly recommend Polaris College Counseling! Dr. Zeng and her team are professional, experienced, knowledgeable, yet also so friendly, patient, and down to earth!
Dr. Zeng is able to find the unique "shine" in a student through close one-on-one communication and highlight those aspects of my personality and life on paper. During the important essay writing process, Dr. Zeng encouraged me to discover the deeply personal experiences that had shaped who "I" am through brainstorming sessions. She guided me to transform thoughts into compelling stories, never asking me to follow some templates of others.
Dr. Zeng helped me streamline the college application process and made it clear what I should do and kept me on track and on task. She was never more than a message/text away, and I could always count on her to answer questions with highly detailed and insightful advice!
I had an amazing time working with Dr. Zeng and her team! She was definitely an essential part of my college application experience!
Student E. Y.
Working with Dr. Zeng on my college applications was like taking a self-discovery journey. College applications became less stressful after we put together a plan, quarter by quarter. Each meeting with Dr. Zeng dug a little deeper into my past experiences – accomplishments, struggles and triumphs, and what I look forward to in college life. A few potential essay topics emerged as a result, as well as a list of colleges that suited my needs. Dr. Zeng provided thorough and thoughtful comments on my essays, and helped me get into the college that I aspired to go to. I would highly recommend Dr. Zeng to anyone.
Student H. L.
I have worked with Alice for almost 4 years, and, needless to say, without her help, I can never dream to receive the acceptance letter of my first-choice school. Alice and her team helped me greatly in various fields, including course selection, extracurricular activities, and most importantly, college essays. Writing a college essay was a painstaking process because it is nothing like the essay I usually write in the English classes at school. It requires the writer to express the positivity of him/herself without sounding boastful or insincere. Telling a compelling story within the word limit was a lot of times difficult, but with Alice and her team’s help, I was able to win the heart of college admissions officers. I believe other students, like me, will enjoy the benefits of having such a helpful team.
Student R. W.
Alice and her team walked by my side throughout high school; they made the entire journey a lot less overwhelming and a lot more enjoyable! Whenever I had questions about what I should do or should not do, Alice was the single most helpful source of advice. She was always caring, responsive, dependable, and, above all, creative. My proudest personal projects outside of school were accomplished with her assistance and encouragement. During college essay writing, Alice, being a remarkable listener, skillfully elicited stories from me and helped me present them wonderfully well in applications. Looking back, I don’t think I’d have got into Penn without her guidance. I’m extremely grateful to have her as my invaluable mentor!
Student P. C.
I started working with Alice in the second semester of Grade 9, during which time my parents’ family business took off and they became busier and busier. As much as they cared about my studies, they were often swamped by responsibilities and chores of their work. I really appreciate it that Alice made our family conferences happen regularly at her office so I could sit down with my parents to talk about my progress as well as my needs. With the guidance of Alice, I tried to keep my high school life as organized as possible, from school work to outside learning programs to summer camps and to the final college applications. Over the years, she gradually increased the difficulty of the tasks she suggested that I take on, and each time I achieved something daunting I gained more confidence in myself. Right now COVID-19 casts a cloud of uncertainty to my college life, but I feel I’m ready for any challenges.
Student A. Y.
I visited Wellesley in Grade 9 and knew immediately that this was my place. I want to thank you for helping me get into my dream school! Having never been a good writer myself, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the writing process. The discussions we had challenged me to look deep into my soul and create a purpose for my life. With a stronger sense of who I am and what I can do, I find I'm more prepared to become a woman leader, which I wrote in my essays for Wellesley. Thank you again for your guidance along the way.
Student C. C.
Alice was wonderfully experienced in helping me get through the college admissions process. She dramatically simplified Common App’s convoluted system of inputting activities, additional information, adding colleges, and filling out forms by providing structured instructions, examples, and templates which I could easily fill out. Her recommendations for colleges, updates for new tasks like interviews, and suggestions for essays pushed me in the right direction in getting the best chance of being accepted. Alice’s biggest strengths are her communication skills, accessibility, and flexibility; from college choices to essay corrections, she’s always there to help you get your concerns and questions addressed.
Student T. C.
I’ve been working with Alice since Grade 9. She is an amazingly inspiring woman! She directs me to all sorts of opportunities to discovery my true colors and embrace my uniqueness. She teaches me the growth mindset and encourages me to learn in every circumstance. Looking back at the past three years, I find I have gone a long way. I just cannot say enough about her!
Student J. L.
Hi Alice, I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me and all the guidance you provided during my college application. Currently, I got accepted all the colleges I applied for and the majors I chose except one. I feel extraordinarily accomplished and all this would not be possible without your help. So I would just like to thank you again for all the help you gave me.
Student J. Z.
When it comes to finding a college counseling service for my son, I look for someone who has a broad vision, who can listen, and who can pinpoint the essential qualities of the student so that my son can thrive beyond his college life. Dr. Alice Zeng and her team at Polaris College Counseling did exactly what I hoped for and even more than I expected.
Alice is very professional, attentive, and easy to work with. To foster my son’s long term growth, she and her team built up an individualized plan to meet my student’s needs in a comprehensive and systematic approach. She acknowledged and respected our needs and expectations, providing feasible solutions and strategies based on intensive research to help strengthen my son’s admissions profile every step throughout the whole application process. Her timely manner of coaching made the slow and tedious journey of college application vibrant and efficient. My son learnt to appreciate the challenges at all times. "This is amazing!" he said, as if he just emerged from rebirth with so much joy.
Parent K. S.
My son went through quite a few rough patches during high school. Alice was instrumental in helping us make some of the very important decisions during those difficult times. While we were sometimes anxious and lost, she always remained calm, rational, and sympathetic at the same time. She was a skillful and sincere communicator between our son and us parents when we didn’t see eye to eye with each other. She helped us clear up misunderstandings and pointed out what was at the stake. We benefited greatly from her intellectual and personal investment far beyond what was required of her job. She is a valued mentor to our son during the college admissions process as well as a great family friend we cherish.
Parent L. R.
Dr. Zeng counseled my daughter for her college application. From application planning to essay writing, Dr. Zeng provided invaluable guidance. I was amazed at how quickly Dr. Zeng was able to build a connection with my daughter. I can see my daughter’s trust in Dr. Zeng, allowing her to open up, go over her experiences, and discuss the future. It was such a relief to me knowing that she was in good hands. My daughter successfully got into a college she most desired. Throughout this process, I can’t help but notice my daughter’s growth - she became more confident and open. I would highly recommend Dr. Zeng to anyone seeking college planning counseling.
Parent M. G.
Our family worked with Polaris College Counseling during the past three years and were very satisfied with the support we got from them! The world of college admissions changed drastically since we were teens, and the Polaris team helped us understand the nuances of the complicated process. We like that Dr. Zeng never made decisions on behalf of our son. Instead, every time she would lay out different possibilities, explain the pros and cons carefully, and encourage our son to make decisions himself that fit his unique circumstances. Our son felt empowered, and we parents felt relieved to sit in the passenger seat watching our son steering his own path. Dr. Zeng’s team was highly organized and efficient. Our son finished most of his applications before November and was admitted by his early decision school in December. We were all excited about the result and thankful for Polaris’ guidance!
Parent T. R.
If you’re looking for a college admissions counselor, Dr. Zeng and her team would absolutely be the best choice! My daughter got accepted into her top choice school with the help of Dr. Zeng and her team. We started working with Dr. Zeng since my daughter was in 10th grade. Dr. Zeng is patient, kind, intelligent, and professional. She builds a close, trustworthy connection with my daughter, willing to listen to her and inspire her. She offers lots of helpful suggestions in terms of my daughter’s extracurricular activities, community service, and much more... When my daughter was stressed out during the college application season, Dr. Zeng provided her encouragements, kept her on schedule, supported her to feel prepared and gain confidence during the college application process!
Parent C. Y.
I knew college application was a lot of work, but it was a lot more than I had thought. Alice knows inside out about college applications, and she knows how to bring out student’s strengths and tailor each application to them.
In addition, the process itself is an important experience for teenagers. By bringing out her strengths, my daughter gained confidence. She learned a lot from this experience and it prepared her well for her future when she needs to apply for something.
Last but not the least, Alice's work released enormous pressure on me as a parent. Without her help, I would have worked really hard with my daughter to prepare her applications.
Parent Z. Z.
I must say that we are incredibly satisfied with Alice in her handling of our daughter and her applications. She is highly efficient and organized. A superb communicator, she kept us informed about every stage of the progress while we had our daughter work independently with her. We have recommended her to all our friends who need help in college admissions.
Parent Y. C.
We are very happy to update you that our daughter was accepted into Brown! She wouldn’t have got there without your help. We are very impressed by your professionalism and dedication. Thank you so much!"
Parent W. Z.
Parent T. S.
我们的记忆很长一段时间都停留在1月6日晚上的激动和兴奋，在老师和我还有孩子组成的转学群，孩子突然发来消息，Barnard College 录取她了，总觉得offer离我们还好远，没想到幸福突然之间就来了。
印象中非常深刻的是文书题目出来后老师和女儿多次的头脑风暴, Barnard College 是女儿的美本申请时的梦校，在GPA等硬件成绩达标的前提下，如何提高文书的质量，使申请者的材料看上去更加生动、真实而有特色，显得尤为重要，可能因为从大一开始一直持续不断地保持交流，到申请时老师显然对女儿已经非常熟悉，在文书的方向确定上老师一眼看出了女儿身上和Barnard学校精神契合的地方，她给女儿的建议是所有的文书可以围绕着她在非洲拍摄的关于女性割礼的录像展开，那段时间女儿确实对女性的权益非常感兴趣，从而做了大量的研究，而老师也帮助孩子找到了和学校最契合的那个点，等我看到女儿文书最后的成稿，自己被这些内容有点感动到的时候，我想也许这一次她终于可以实现自己的梦想。
今天，是女儿在新学校的Orientation Day, 她终于实现了自己的梦想，开始新的生活。 非常感恩于Alice陪伴孩子一路前行，如果没有老师的专业，认真、耐心和负责，也许孩子还会再走一些弯路，也许孩子也没法如她所愿进入一直以来想要进的梦校。Alice就像一个专业的引路人，带领着孩子一步步走向她期望中的目标，把孩子托举到一个更高的平台。
Parent E. H.
又快到十年级选课了，我迫切希望找一个适合我和我女儿的能提供全中文服务的教育规划机构。于是我开始参加各种有关教育方面的讲座，虽然通过听讲座对美国的高中教育及大学升学制度有了一些了解，但是仍然没有找到一个满意的教育规划机构，直到听到北极星升学咨询工作室的曾敏昊博士主讲的《不得不知的美国大学录取”综合评估法”》, 让我在迷茫的求学生涯中找到了方向，帮我打开了美国教育制度之门，照亮了美国求学升学漫漫长路。这就是我心心念念想要的教育规划机构，讲座后就同曾博士预约了一对一的升学咨询。首先曾博士通过同孩子及家长的认真细致的面谈全方位的评估孩子的升学背景，针对孩子的个人特点专业建议她的学习及兴趣规划。不仅参与孩子的学校选课，对孩子平时兴趣活动及社会公益活动都有专业的建议及提供丰富的信息和平台给孩子选择参与。其次每月都同孩子及家长一起面谈，针对孩子的变化及时更改给孩子制定的计划，平时还可以通过微信平台给家长提供各种信息让家长更了解美国教育及升学制度。不论是家长还是孩子有问题时可以随时通过微信、电话联系到曾博士咨询及请求帮忙解决问题。最后也是对家长很头痛的同叛逆期孩子的沟通，曾博士可以很好的同孩子沟通，有时家长苦口婆心的同孩子说了半天，孩子不仅不接受还会同家长产生很多矛盾，可以通过曾博士同孩子的沟通很好的解决这个矛盾，还可以通过曾博士了解孩子不愿意同家长说的一些想法，让家长更了解自己的孩子，反之可以通过曾博士传达家长的一些想法,也让孩子更能理解家长。总结这几年的求学感想。非常幸运找到了北极星大学升学咨询机构认识了曾博士，感谢你们个性专业的服务，帮助我的女儿开启了她充满期望的人生。有同我一样情况的家长们别犹豫, 选择北极星大学升学咨询机构就是选择了孩子充满希望的似锦前程。