Announcements/Press Releases

(See "Outreach" for info on campus visits and more.)

Local Educational Consultanting Leads Workshop at National Conference

Sandra M. Moore, M.A., founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, was a presenter at the national spring conference, sponsored by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), which was held May 10-13 in Denver. Ms. Moore spoke on “College Affordability 101: How Determining Financial Fit Benefits Your Families and Your Practice.” The conference drew over 1200 attendees, including 100 colleges from the United States and abroad.

Based in Hyde Park and a former college admission director, Ms. Moore is a member of IECA’s subcommittee on affordability, which provides information and training for the association’s membership involved in college counseling; has written for both the IECA blog and Insights newsletter; and shares her knowledge and answers questions via her own College Aid blog. Locally, she gives pro bono presentations at libraries and other venues on planning for college, standing out as an applicant and writing compelling essays as well as on college affordability.

A cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Ms. Moore received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to IECA, her professional memberships include the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and its New York State affiliate (NYSACAC).

Chronogram Story Highlights Expertise of Sandra Moore

A feature story in the January 2017 issue of Chronogram magazine highlights the expertise of independent educational consultant, Sandra M. Moore, MA. Ms. Moore is quoted in the piece, entitled "The Waiting Game: Recent Trends in College Applications," as are a client family of hers and two professional colleagues with whom she's worked.

Read the story.

Independent Consultant Debunks Financial Aid Myths

Hyde Park, NY - Sandra M. Moore, M.A., founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling and the college counseling consultant at Woodstock Day School (Saugerties, NY), has written an article, “Debunking Need-based and Merit Aid Myths,” for the October/November edition of Insights newsletter, published by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). 

Ms. Moore, a Hyde Park resident and former college admission director, helps families throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond to navigate all aspects of the college search and admission and financial aid application processes. Recently invited to join the  association’s affordability subcommittee, she regularly gives pro bono talks on a variety of college-related topics, including “How Much Does College Really Cost: Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later” and Affordabilty 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid.”

In addition to her professional membership in IECA, she is also affiliated with the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC). Her blog, College Aid, is hosted by the Poughkeepsie Journal.

IECA was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit, professional association of established educational consultants. IECA members, who are drawn from across the country and around the world, continually update their knowledge base and refresh their skills through IECA meetings, retreats, workshops and conferences as well as via information exchanges with colleges and universities, schools, programs and other consultants. They are often tapped by the media and various education-related organizations to provide expert commentary and input on various issues related to college, university and school admission matters.

Mount Holyoke Club Sponsors Affordability Talk

Worried about how to pay for college? Baffled by the financial aid application process? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go? The Mount Holyoke Club of the Hudson Valley is sponsoring a presentation for parents, “How Much Does College Really Cost? Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later,” on Thursday, October 13 at the Chatham Public Library (11 Woodbridge Avenue, Chatham, NY).

Led by former college admission director, Mount Holyoke alumna and the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the presentation will show parents how to determine the actual costs of colleges before their children apply to them, rather than simply relying on published sticker prices or hoping to qualify for some type of assistance. Ms. Moore also will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing the relative generosity of institutions with regard to need-based and/or merit aid and also cover basic financial aid terminology, required forms and time frames.

The talk begins at 6 pm and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at 518-392-3666.

Saugerties Public Library Hosts FAFSA Talk

The Saugerties Public Library is sponsoring a presentation on October 4 for parents of high school seniors that will explain the important changes to the2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Led by former college admission director and founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the session also will include a review of how the need-based financial aid and merit scholarship processes work. Free and open to the public, it begins at 6 pm (91 Washington Avenue, Saugerties). To reserve your place, call 845-246-4317. Click here to view flier.

Deadline for New Full-Service Senior Enrollment is September 1

Sandra M. Moore, M.A., founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, will stop taking on new rising high school senior clients who require comprehensive assistance with the college search and admission and financial aid applicatioin processes as of September 1st. She will continue to accept new seniors who need short-term assistance (e.g., with the college essay) as well as full-service juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Ms. Moore caps the number of seniors that she accepts into her practice annually in order to ensure that her clients receive the highest level of professional service.

Parents of college-bound students are urged to contact Ms. Moore earlier rather than later in the their children's high school careers because finding the "right" colleges, and completing the myriad attendant tasks well in order to help position them as viable candidates for those institutions, takes a great deal of time and effort. Indeed, she notes that ""waiting until the last minute creates undue family stress and more often than not results in ill-informed, rushed decisions that turn out badly."

Don't delay and miss out! To schedule your complimentary consultation, contact Sandra Moore today: 845-242-8336 or smoore@nextstepcollegecounseling.com.

Local College Consultant Tapped for Affordability Committee

Sandra M. Moore, M.A., founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, has been invited to join a professional group within the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). As a member of the College Affordability Subcommittee, Ms. Moore will provide information and training opportunities to the organization’s more than 1200 consultants who, in turn, will share what they’ve learned with the college-bound students with whom they work. According to the subcommittee chair, Lora K. Block, by encouraging IECA members to integrate this knowledge into their practices via various professional development avenues, the committee helps the membership provide the best possible service to families.

Ms. Moore, whose private consulting practice, based in Hyde Park, was established in 2008, helps families throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond to navigate all aspects of the college search and admission and financial aid application processes. A former college admission director and life-long educator, she regularly gives pro bono presentations at local libraries and other venues to help families understand how to determine what colleges actually cost as well as how need and merit based financial aid systems work.

In addition to holding professional membership in IECA, Ms. Moore belongs to the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC). She graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and received her Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. Since September 2015 she has served as the college counseling consultant at Woodstock Day School. Her blog, College Aid, is hosted by the Poughkeepsie Journal.

IECA is a not-for-profit, international professional organization representing experienced independent educational consultants. Chartered in 1976, with headquarters in the Washington, DC area, IECA sponsors professional training institutes, workshops and conferences, publishes a directory of qualified independent educational consultants, offers information to students and their families regarding school selection issues and works to ensure that those in the profession adhere to the highest ethical and business standards.

How To Find Great AND Affordable Colleges

Is your student wandering aimlessly, trying to find the "perfect" college? Need help locating “best-match” options (including high-priced private institutions) that won't burden families with unmanageable debt? Want to find out how online tools can help you discover and compare institutions that are generous with need-based and/or merit aid and discounted tuition?

Join me for a presentation, sponsored by the Phoenicia Library, which will help you become a more savvy consumer. This session, the second in a series entitled the Road to College, will be held on Saturday, June 18th from 9:30-11:30 am at the library (48 Main Street, Phoenicia), and is free and open to the public. To reserve your place, call 845-688-7811.

How Much Does College Really Cost?

Worried about how to pay for college? Baffled by the financial aid application process? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go? Saugerties Public Library is hosting a presentation for parents, “How Much Does College Really Cost? Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later,” on Wednesday, May 18 (rescheduled from April 19).

Led by former college admission director and the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the presentation will show parents how to determine the actual costs of colleges before their children apply to them, rather than simply relying on published sticker prices or hoping to qualify for some type of assistance. Ms. Moore also will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing the relative generosity of institutions with regard to need-based and/or merit aid and also cover basic financial aid terminology, required forms and time frames.

Free and open to the public, the presentation begisn at 6:30 pm (91 Washington Avenue Saugerties).

Assisting the Student Who Learns Differently

Children experiencing difficulty in school may be affected by specific learning issues that have not been identified. Others who have been given particular diagnoses may benefit from additional or different types of supports. How can parents be sure that their children are receiving the kind of assistance that they need? And how can they ready their children to take advantage of higher educational and career opportunities down the road?

Psychologist Lenore Strocchia-Rivera, Ph.D., and independent educational consultant Sandra M. Moore, M.A., will address these and other questions during an informal presentation, “Making the Transition from Home and School to College: Assisting the Student Who Learns Differently,” on May 10 at 6 pm.

Dr. Rivera, founder and director of Learning Insights, an evaluation and assessment practice for people of all ages, brings more than 20 years of professional experience to her practice, garnered in a wide variety of settings, including public and private schools, hospitals, residential treatment centers, Head Start, and Family Court, and currently teaches assessment to graduate students at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ms. Moore, founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling and the college counseling consultant at Woodstock Day School, is a former college admission director and life-long educator who helps a wide-range of students navigate all aspects of the college search and admission and financial aid application processes, with an emphasis on discovering “best-fit” and affordable options while minimizing family stress.

The talk will be held at the Learning Insights office (3548 Route 9W, Highland, NY 12528; one mile north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge) and is free and open to the public; 6 pm. For directions and to reserve your place: 845-532-1575; support@learninginsights.net.

Adriance and Saugerties Libraries Host College Planning Talks in April

Worried about how to pay for college? Baffled by the financial aid application process? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go? Adriance Memorial Library and Saugerties Public Library are hosting a presentation for parents, "How Much Does College Really Cost: Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later,"on Thursday, April 7 and Tuesday, April 19, respectively.

Led by former college admission director and the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the presentations will show parents how to determine the actual costs of colleges before their children apply to them, rather than simply relying on published sticker prices or hoping to qualify for some type of assistance. Ms. Moore also will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing the relative generosity of institutions with regard to need-based and/or merit aid and also cover basic financial aid terminology, required forms and time frames.

Free and open to the public, the presentations begin at 6 pm (93 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, and 91 Washington Avenue Saugerties).

Grinnell and Millbrook Libraries Host College Planning Presentations in March

Worried about how to pay for college? Baffled by the financial aid application process? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go? Grinnell Library and Millbrook Library are hosting a presentation for parents, “How Much Does College Really Cost? Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later,” on Thursday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 16, respectively.

Led by former college admission director and the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the presentations will show parents how to determine the actual costs of colleges before their children apply to them, rather than simply relying on published sticker prices or hoping to qualify for some type of assistance. Ms. Moore also will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing the relative generosity of institutions with regard to need-based and/or merit aid and also cover basic financial aid terminology, required forms and time frames.

Free and open to the public, the presentations begin at 6 pm (2642 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls and 3 Friendly Lane, Millbrook).

Red Hook Public Library Hosts College Planning Presentation in February

Red Hook, NY (January 20, 2016)- Worried about how to pay for college? Baffled by the financial aid application process? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go? Red Hook Public Library is hosting a presentation for parents, “How Much Does College Really Cost? Why You Need to Know Sooner Rather than Later,” on Thursday, February 25 at the Elmendorf Inn.

Led by former college admission director and the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, Sandra M. Moore, M.A., the presentation will show parents how to figure out the actual costs of colleges before their children apply to them, rather than simply relying on published sticker prices or hoping to qualify for some type of assistance. Ms. Moore also will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing the relative generosity of institutions with regard to need-based and/or merit aid and also cover basic financial aid terminology, required forms and time frames.

Woodstock Day School hosts FAFSA Presentation

Saugerties, NY (November 20, 2015) - Woodstock Day School will host a workshop for parents of high school seniors, “How to Complete the FAFSA: A Step-by-Step Guide,” led by Sandra M. Moore,  M.A., the school’s college counseling consultant, on December 9, from 6-7:30 pm.

The founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling and a former college admission director, Ms. Moore will walk participants through each page of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which becomes available for filing on January 1, 2016. The FAFSA determines eligibility for need-based financial assistance distributed by colleges and universities, including grants, student and parent loans and work-study jobs.

Free and open to the public, the workshop will be held in the school’s Café, 1430 Glasco Turnpike, Saugerties; snow date is December 15 at the same time. For more information, call 845-242-8336.

Sandra M. Moore, MA Appointed College Counseling Consultant

Saugerties, NY (September 16, 2015) – Kara Stern, Ph.D., the new head of school at Woodstock Day School (WDS), has announced the appointment of Sandra M. Moore, M.A., founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, as the school’s college counseling consultant. A former college admission director and independent school administrator, Ms. Moore will assist the upper school faculty and staff in enhancing the college counseling and placement program at WDS.

As an independent educational consultant, based in Hyde Park, Ms. Moore helps students and their families from the Hudson Valley and beyond to navigate all aspects of the college search and admission and financial aid processes. A professional member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), she recently joined the network of professional advisers participating in the new Money College Planner website, launched by Money Magazine. Ms. Moore is a cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Local Counselor Joins Money Magazine's College Planner Advisor Network

Hyde Park, NY (July 15, 2015) - Sandra M. Moore, founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, has joined the network of professional advisers participating in the new Money College Planner website just launched by Money Magazine. 

The Money College Planner includes an easy-to-use “find your fit” college search tool, independent college reviews, a scholarship search tool, news and advice for students and parents, and a directory of professional college counselors. It is powered by Unigo.com, which provided the technology platform and some of the content on the site.

Money Magazine’s annual "Best Colleges for Your Money" feature, published in print and online, rates more than 700 colleges based on educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings. Its exclusive methodology was developed in conjunction with leading experts, including the former commissioner of the federal government's National Center for Education Statistics.

Independent experts say Money’s new rankings are the most useful and realistic available. The Washington Post says the Money rankings “Get it right” and “answer the questions that prospective students should be asking.” 

Subscribers to the premium portion of the website are entitled to a 30-minute session with a professional counselor on any aspect of college planning. The counselors, who are all professional members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), will also answer readers’ questions on the site.

The Money College Planner is located at http://time.com/money/best-colleges/. Ms. Moore’s blog, College Aid, is hosted by the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Learn How to Write a Winning College Essay

Once again this summer and fall I'll be offering my popular workshop, "How to Write a Winning College Essay." The workshop includes three 75-minute sessions that can be scheduled at your convenience and held at either my Next Step CC, LLC office, remotely via Skype or in the comfort of your own home! Don't leave this increasingly important component of the college application process to chance! To find out more, click here; to register, click here. If you have questions, please contact me at 845.242.8336 or via email:
smoore@nextstepcollegecounseling.com.

IECA Spring Conference in Baltimore

I'll be attending the spring professional development conference, sponsored by the Independent Educational Cosultants Association (IECA) in Baltimore, May 5-8. In addtion to hearing provocative key-note speakers in the admission and counseling field and attending workshops on topic areas such as affordability, international student counseling and therapeutic services, I'll be participating in the always popular Counselors' College Fair, where I'll have the opportunity to chat with admission officers, one-on-one, from around the country.

Join me for "How to Find Great AND Affordable Colleges" on March 4

Most students fall in love with colleges and THEN hope they can afford them. There’s a better, more productive way to locate “best-fit” options that will not burden families with unmanageable debt (and keep hearts from breaking).
This presentation will give participants the tools for discovering and comparing institutions that are generous with need-based and/or merit aid/tuition discounts

Wishing You Peace and Joy

Holiday Greetings!

"Best of the Blogs"

Once again one of my blog postings has been excerpted for the Poughkeepsie Journal’s Best of the Blog series. The latest selection, which appeared on December 8, was originally titled “Making Your Lists and Checking Them Twice.” Take a look by clicking here.

"Affordability" Talks Set

Join me for my ever-popular talk, "Affordabilty 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid," at two locations this fall: Monday, November 17th at Grinnell Library in Wappingers Falls (6 pm) and Thursday, December 4th at Saugerties Public Library (6:30 pm - snow date: Thursday, December 11th).

Designed to demystify the financial aid application process, this presentation will introduce basic financial aid terminology; describe types of assistance available
(including need-based aid, merit scholarships and tuition discounts); review required forms and time frames for applying; and discuss strategies for maximizing eligibility.

As always these two talks are free and open to the public.

Get Help with College Essays!

Once again this fall I'm offering my popular workshop, "How to Write a Winning College Essay." The workshop includes three 75-minute sessions that can be scheduled at your convenience and held at either my Next Step CC, LLC office, remotely via Skype or in the comfort of your own home! To find out more, please click here. If you have questions, contact me at 845.242.8336 or via email: smoore@nextstepcollegecounseling.com.

New Professional Membership in IECA

Fairfax, VA – The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) today announced that Sandra M. Moore, of Hyde Park, NY, has been accepted for professional membership. Professional membership is reserved for only the most capable and experienced independent educational consultants. It requires an appropriate master’s degree or comparable educational training and background and a minimum of three years of professional experience in counseling or college admissions. In addition, members must have visited a minimum of 50 campuses, meet IECA’s professional standards and subscribe to its Principle of Good Practices

A lifelong educator with over 20 years of experience in college, university and independent school admissions, including director’s-level positions, Ms. Moore became an independent educational consultant (IEC) in 2008 as the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling (Next Step CC, LLC). That year, she attended IECA’s intensive Transitioning to Private Practice workshop, held in conjunction with the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) annual conference in Seattle. After becoming an associate member of the organization in 2009, Ms. Moore participated in its Summer Training Institute at Swarthmore College. She is a professional member of NACAC as well as the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).

Ms. Moore specializes in helping students and their families from the Hudson Valley and beyond to navigate all aspects of the college search and admission and financial aid application processes. Her blog, “College Aid,” is hosted by the Poughkeepsie Journal and has been featured in the newspaper's "Best of the Blogs" series; she also has been a guest blogger on the IECA website.

Throughout the year Ms. Moore gives numerous pro bono talks and presentations at area libraries and for school and parent groups on such topics as Becoming a Candidate for Competitive Colleges, How to Write a Winning College Essay and  Affordability 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid. A resident of Dutchess County since 1992, she received her undergraduate degree cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s degree in higher and adult education from Columbia University.

The IECA was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit, professional association of established educational consultants. IECA members, who are drawn from across the country and around the world, continually update their knowledge base and refresh their skills through IECA meetings, retreats, workshops and conferences as well as via information exchanges with colleges and universities, schools, programs and other consultants. They are often tapped by the media and various education-related organizations to provide expert commentary and input on various issues related to college, university and school admission matters.

Poughkeepsie Journal Features "College Aid" Posting in "Best of the Blogs"

My "College Aid" blog was recently featured in the Poughkeepsie Journal's "Best of the Blogs" series. The piece was a commentary on the announcement by the College Board of the changes it's making to the SAT, effective in 2016. In case you missed it, here's the link!

New Membership in HECA

I'm delighted to announce that I've been selected for membership in the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). HECA is the premiere professional organization for consultants who focus exclusively on helping high school students realize their full potential, especially during their transition from secondary schools to undergraduate programs. Founded in 1997, the organization is dedicated to advancing professional standards for the higher education consulting field, while supporting its 700-plus members as they  assist over 18,000 college-bound high school seniors annually with college planning.

I'm also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) and an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).

NACAC Conference in Toronto

I attended the National Association for Admission College Counseling (NACAC) Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Center September 19-21. I have been participating in NACAC events since my admission office days at Sarah Lawrence College and, once again, the organization did not dissapoint, drawing thousands of college admission and financial aid officers as well as high school and independent college counselors from across the country and around the world.

The conference’s keynote speaker was New York Times columnist and Pulitzer prize recipient Thomas L. Friedman, whose six bestselling books include one of my faves, The World Is Flat. Friedman addressed the impact of globalization on the field of higher education and how colleges and universities are changing in a world where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant. 

I participated in a special three-hour seminar on “Shrinking the Cost of College: What Families Need to Know,” presented by experts in the field, including best-selling author Lynn O’Shaughnessy, as well as numerous workshops and presentations, including “Revising and Creating Student Opportunity: A Conversation with David Coleman, President of the College Board;” “What Admission Directors Think: Results of a Survey on Hot Issues in the Field;” and the “Impact of Wait Lists in College Admission.”

And I attended the always-packed “Counselors College Fair,” which once again enabled me to continue building strong, professional relationships with admission officers at schools in which my current students are interested and where my former clients are presently students or alumni.

Sign up for Next Step CC, LLC Summer/Fall College Essay-Writing Workshops

Don't let the opportunity to stand out pass you by. Learn how to create well-crafted, memorable college essays that help demonstrate what makes you unique!

This summer and fall I'm once again offering my popular course, "How to Write a Winning College Essay." (See details on the course flier.) To be competitive in the world of highly-selective college admissions, applicants need to stand out. This three-session course will help you do so in a compelling, authentic way. It includes essay topic brainstorming, overview of effective construction techniques and review of (at least) one first draft. And it's available to you in the comfort of your home via Skype or in my Hyde Park office. For more information, feel free to contact me.

"Tips on Applying to College: How to Stand Out in the Crowd" on April 18 at Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie and on May 15 at Millbrook Free Library

These days, good grades and test scores are not enough to ensure your son or daughter will be a "contender" for admission to many colleges and universities. (Witness Harvard's 2013 admission rate of 5.8 % - the lowest rate in its history!) To be viable admission candidates at selective schools (and not just Ivies!) students must distinguish themselves from other equally strong applicants.

In this session (presented at Adriance Memorial Library and at Millbrook Free Library from 6 to 7:30 pm) attendees will learn what selective colleges look for when evaluating applications as well as what students can do to genuinely stand out and improve their admission chances. Both presentations are free and open to the public. To reserve your place, call Adriance at 845.485.3445 and Millbrook at 845-677-3611.

Congratulations to My Kids!


I've been posting my clients' acceptances on my Next Step CC, LLC Facebook page since last fall and am so proud of all of my students for their hard work, commitment...and patience! Now comes the really hard part: making final decisions. Read my recent blog, Choosing Wisely, for tips on how to make sure your student selects the "right" school.

24/7 Access to MyCCA Online Tools

I'm very excited to now offer all of my client families free access to MyCCA.net, an amazing online college planning and management system, which begins with Find My Spark, a self-assessment tool that matches a student's personality and learning style to appropriate college choices and as well as potential majors and careers, , and includes many useful features, including the brand-new College Affordability Shaper.This is yet another way Next Step College Counseling keeps you one step ahead of the game. Learn more.

Upcoming Library Talks
For more info about Next Step CC, LLC, call 845-242-8336.

Worried about how to pay for college? Concerned about qualifying for assistance? Think public institutions are the cheapest way to go?

I'm once again presenting my popular "Affordability 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid" at both the Saugerties Public Library (Monday, December 10, 6-7 pm; 845-246-4317) and Grinnell Library (Tuesday, December 11, 6-7 pm; 845-297-3428). I'll be introducing participants to financial aid terminology; discussing types of assistance available and reviewing time frames for applying. Please tell your friends and colleagues and be sure to call the libraries to reserve your place.

Join me for
“How to Write a Winning College Essay” on Thursday, November 1 (7-8 pm), Saugerties Public Library (91 Washington  Avenue, Saugerties) and on Monday, November 19 (6-7 pm) at Grinnell Library (2642 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls). I'll be walking participants through the college essay-writing process and sharing “dos and don’ts” as well as useful tips on choosing the “perfect” topic and effectively structuring a compelling personal story that helps applicants stand out.  Free and open to the public; students and parents welcome. For more info and to register, call 845-246-4317 (SPL) and 845-297-3428.

Essay-Writing Workshops for Rising Seniors

Don't let the opportunity to stand out pass you by. Learn how to create well-crafted, memorable college essays that help demonstrate what makes you unique.

Once again, I'm offering my popular interactive course for rising high school seniors, "How to Write a Winning College Essay." See details on the course flier (PDF). To be competitive in the world of highly-selective college admissions, applicants need to stand out. This course will give students tips on how to use the essay to present their best authentic selves to admission committees. And it's available to you in the comfort of your home via Skype or in my Hyde Park office. Click here to download the registration form. For more information, feel free to contact me.

Join Me on the Radio May 31!

Once again, I'll be a guest on Kingston Public Radio (WGHQ 920 AM). Join me on Thursday, May 31 at 8:30 a.m. Topic: The role of the college essay in the admission application process.

Off to Beantown for IECA Spring Conference

It's time for the annual spring conference, sponsored by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), of which I'm an associate member.

This year's conference (May 2-5) will be held in Boston. Among several outstanding speakers, I'm most looking forward to hearing Wes Moore, Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House fellow, businessman and author of the best-selling The Other Wes Moore.

I'll be attending a variety of professional development workshops and discussion groups and networking with college admissions representatives from across the country. And prior to the start of the conference, I'll be participating in two of the many special college tours, designed for IECA members, to Brandeis University and Curry, Dean and Regis colleges.

Be sure to check my Facebook page as I post short videos of my college visits!

Annual Spring Sale!

Overwhelmed just thinking about how to begin the college search and admissions application process? Does your student need help with specific aspects of the process (e.g., brainstorming college essay topics and figuring out how to structure a compelling first draft)? Interested in learning how to plan for college so as to avoid family stress senior year?

From now through June 30, Next Step College Counseling is offering new clients a 10% reduction on regular consulting fees. So whether you're interested in short-term assistance or a multi-year "soup to nuts" package, getting the help you need is more affordable than ever.

Call 845-242-8336 or email me today for a complimentary first consultatioin to find out more about how your family can benefit from Next Step College Counseling's professional services. There is no obligation, so take the first step and help me help you turn confusion into clarity!

Spring Presentations

Once again my schedule is filling up! If you know of a parent, school or student group that might be interested in having me speak (all of my talks are "pro bono"), let me know!

"Planning for College: How to Minimize Senior Year Stress"
- Monday, March 5 - Woodstock Day School (7-8:30 pm)
- Monday, March 19 - Saugerties Public Library (6-7:30 pm)

"Getting to Know the FAFSA"
- March 27 - Shaping Empowered Teens, Poughkeepsie High School (3:15-4:30 pm)

"Tips on Creating a Winning College Essay"
- April 28 - Mill Street Loft (TBA, Poughkeepsie, NY))
- May 12 - Grinnell Library (1- 2:30 pm, Wappingers Falls, NY)

Affordability 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid Seminar on January 9

Join me for this popular semnar on the following dates:

- Monday, January 9 (6-7:30 pm) - Saugerties Public Library (Saugerties, NY)

- Saturday, December 10 (1-2:30 pm) - Hudson Area Public Library (Hudson, NY)

- Thursday, December 1 (7-8:30 pm) Woodstock Day School (Saugerties, NY)

- Thursday, November 3 (6:30-8 pm) Grinnell Library (Wappingers Falls, NY)

Designed for parents of high school seniors, this presentation will introduce financial aid terminology and review the application process, including use of the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms in calculating aid eligibility.

Bucknell, Susquehanna and Penn Videos

Recently I spent two full days at Bucknell and Susquehanna universities as a participant in a special IECA tour as well as a morning at the University of Pennslyvania. View a short video I made at Bucknell; see my Susquehanna video and check out my Penn one.

IECA Conference Update


I just got back from the the spring IECA conference. Wow! Read my recent blog "Straight from the Horse's Mouth" to find out how what I learned will directly benefit my clients.

Kudos to my kids!

Admission decisions are beginning to roll in. Check the Next Step CC, LLC Facebook page to read about my students' good news!

IECA Spring Conference

Spring is just around the corner, and so is the IECA professional conference in Philadelphia. I'll be spending a week in the City of Brotherly Love, participating in a variety of professional development workshops and discussion groups and networking with college admissions representatives from across the country. Keynote speakers include Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, and Amy Chua, author of the controversial best-selling memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

I'll also be venturing to Bucknell University and Susquehanna University as well as visiting the University of Pennsylvania in town as part of specially-designed programs for independent consultants. And I'm looking forward to those Philly cheese steaks!


More Boston Visits in February

Neither snow nor brutal Beantown winds can keep me away from my annual tour of Boston-area colleges and universites. Last February I spent time at Art Institute of Boston, Boston University, Emerson College, Lesley College, Northeastern University and Suffolk University. This year I plan to become reaquainted with Berklee College of Music, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Simmons College and Tufts University. Check out my update on the Next Step CC, LLC Facebook page.

A Little Levity for the Holidays

One of my major goals in working with families is to help reduce the stress that all too often accompanies the college search and application process. For a little laugh, check out this YouTube video, 'Twas the Night before SATs.

Affordability 101 in October and November

I'll be giving encore presentations of my popular "Affordabiity 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid" on November 1 (Kent Public Library, 6 pm) and on Thursday, November 18 (Goshen Public Library, 7 pm). They follow my October 18th talk on the same topic (and second presentation this fall) at the Grinnell Library (6:30 pm). The sessions will introduce participants to financial aid terminology, required forms and timeframe's for applying and types of assistance availalble. Call the libraries to reserve your seat.

"Planning for College" Discussion on Bob Miller Radio Program

Join me on Wednesday, September 22 for a discussion with Mix 97's Bob Miller (WCZX FM/97.7) about how advance planning for college can minimize family stress during the college search and application process.I'll be chatting with Bob at 7:35 and 7:50 am.

Essay Writing Workshops/October Series

If you missed the summer series, here's your chance to sign up for the October edition of Sandra M. Moore's "How to Write a Winning College Essay." Join us on three consecutive Thursdays (October 14, 21 and 28, 6:30-8 pm) and find out how to create a compelling narrative that describes your stand-out qualities. To enroll, complete the registration form (PDF) and send it by snail mail to Next Step College Counseling, 15 Main Street, Hyde Park, NY 12538, along with a check for $250/per student. Register by October 4 and receive a 10% discount. For more info, click here.

Local Library Presentations Scheduled for Fall

Sandra M. Moore, M.A., will offer the first of several free, public presentations this fall on Monday, September 20 (6:30 p.m.) at the Grinnell Library (2642 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls). "Planning for College: Five Ways to Minimize Senior Year Stress" will describe useful, concrete strategies for making the high school years enjoyable while successfully navigating the college admission and financial aid process. To reserve your space, call the library at 845-297-3428. (See list of all presentations.)

How to Write a Winning College Essay

Get a head start on the college application process this summer by learning how to create a well-crafted, compelling college essay that demonstrates what makes you unique.

Sandra M. Moore, M.A., will offer two, three-part workshops for rising high school seniors that will include brainstorming essay topics; critiquing and discussing "essays that worked;" organizing and structuring ideas; and developing first drafts on the way to producing polished pieces.

Both series will be held on three consecutive Thursday evenings: July 8, 15 and 22, and August 5, 12 and 19. All sessions run from 6:30 to 8 pm at Poughkeepsie Day School's Kenyon House, 260 Boardman Road, Poughkeepsie.

For more information, please call 845-242-8336. Additional workshops will be scheduled for the fall.

Online Goodies

Want to know what goes on in college admissions offices? Click here for an informative podcast, “Inside the Admissions Office,” courtesy of IECA and Unigo.

And don't forget to read my blog on the Poughkeepsie Journal website.

"Planning for College: Five Ways to Minimize Senior-Year Stress"

Want to help your teen find balance during the college search and application process? Maintain family cohesion? Be part of the “solution” rather than part of the “problem?” Independent educational consultant and former college admissions director Sandra M. Moore, M.A., will offer a free session for parents called "Planning for College: Five Ways to Minimize Senior-Year Stress” at the Pawling Free Library on Wednesday, February 24 at 7 p.m. The one-hour session will describe useful, concrete strategies for making the high school years enjoyable and the college search and application process successful.


Sandra Moore Gives Parents Tips on Bob Miller's Morning Mix


Tune in to The Morning Mix with Bob Miller on Mix 97 (97.7 FM) on Tuesday, January 12, to hear Sandra Moore's tips for parents on minimizing family stress during the college application process. She'll be speaking live at 7:35 a.m. and 7:50 a.m.

Poughkeepsie Journal Gives College Aid Blog "3 Cheers"

The Poughkeepsie Journal (Editorial Page/December 21, 2009) gave "3 cheers"...

"To the Poughkeepsie Journal's new blog, "College Aid," by former college admissions director and admissions counselor Sandra Moore, who is offering free advice on choosing a college and getting in. One of her newest posts is about the all-important Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Prospective college students of every income level and their parents or guardians should learn about this application. Find the blog at poughkeepsiejournal.com/blogs. Feel free to comment on the posts and ask questions, too."

Read the full story.

New Blog!

Check out my new blog, "College Aid," on the Poughkeepsie Journal website. E-mail your questions and comments directly to the site.

More Library Talks

I've been invited back to the Pawling Free Library (January 6, 2010) to talk on the topic "Affordability 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid." (See description of presentation below.)The event is free and open to the public. Additional sessions are being planned for the spring. If you would like me to speak to your local parent organization or student group on this or another topic, please e-mail me.

Affordability 101 Workshops Offered at Local Libraries

Hyde Park, NY (8/10/09) Worried about how to pay for college? Concerned about qualifying for need-based aid? Think public institutions are the only option?

Sandra M. Moore, founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling, will offer a series of sessions for families called "Affordability 101: The Basics of College Financial Aid" at local libraries this fall. The first session will take place at the Hyde Park Free Library on Thursday, October 8, with a second session scheduled for Wednesday, October 21 at the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library in Cold Spring and a third one on Tuesday, October 27 at the Pawling Free Library. The programs will begin at 7 pm and are free and open to the public. Click here to view flier (PDF).

Sandra M. Moore Selected for National Professional Association

Fairfax, VA (3/17/09) – The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) has announced that Sandra M. Moore, M.A., of Hyde Park, NY, has been accepted as an associate member. IECA associate members are professionals who have established an educational consulting practice and have a minimum of one year’s experience in educational placement, counseling or admissions. 

Ms. Moore is the founder and principal of Next Step College Counseling in Hyde Park. A professional educator in colleges and schools since 1973, she has 20 years of direct experience in college and independent school admissions. (For more information, see bio.)

IECA was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit, professional association. IECA members assist students and their families with educational decision making. Their educational backgrounds, specialized training, campus visitations and professional expertise equip them to help students choose schools, colleges or other programs that meet their individual needs and goals. Members continually update their knowledge and maintain skills through IECA sponsored meetings, workshops, training programs and information exchanges with colleges, schools, programs and other consultants.