Meet Joan


Working with Joan

Since founding Academic Access in 2003, I’ve brought my innovative approach to each of my students. I combine incisive expertise with my signature conviction that each student has a unique story to tell. I spent my educational career equipping myself with the tools necessary to demystify the nuances of the college process. After earning my Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College, I earned a certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. I am also a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), the highest level of professional certification for college admissions counselors and Independent Educational Consultants. Additionally, I hold a diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris. After all, delicious dinners, like successful college essays, begin with honest, lovingly cultivated individual ingredients brought together into a complex authentic whole. With my team, I help my students articulate their stories by finding their own words to tell them.

I am also a leader in my profession. As a former Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of the leading professional association, the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), I’ve been on the frontlines of developing the highest ethical standards and best practices for our profession. For the past decade, I have been honored to serve as one of eight faculty members at IECA’s Summer Training Institute – the gateway “boot camp” for Independent Educational Consultants in the US. For seven years, I also served as a faculty instructor for the University of California, Irvine’s Certificate program for Independent Educational Consultants. I’ve taught hundreds of people who have subsequently become successful Independent Educational Consultants.

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I remain no less committed to my own continuing education. I regularly attend and serve on panels at regional and national conferences and share the podium with Deans of Admissions. An active member of the National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) and Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counselors (PACAC), I maintain vital conversations with high school guidance counselors and admissions officers at colleges and universities alike.


But of course, translating these experiences into expertise for you and your family is always my top professional priority. Outside the office, I devote over 20% of my time visiting over 500 college campuses nationwide and meet with admissions directors, university presidents, students and faculty for your ultimate benefit. With a belief in the uniqueness of each student’s voice, an ability to find the best “fit” schools, and a timeline to monitor progress, I commit wholeheartedly to helping you meet your application goals. Ultimately, I maintain that your application should mirror your application process: both should be fun and true to who you are and want to become.


When not brainstorming essay ideas or going for walks with the unofficial Academic Access mascot—my soft coated Wheaten terrier, Finn—I hunt vintage Americana treasures to add to my collection. I love trying out Ottolenghi recipes for festive dinners when my three children return home for the holidays. My husband, Seth and I explore the world’s diverse wonders from snowmobiling atop glaciers in Iceland to floating on a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala India.


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