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.
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.
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!"
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。