1-1 College Prep Coaching

A comprehensive program to help your child get into their dream school

Imagine watching your child open a stack of envelopes from their top choice colleges and each one containing a letter that says “Accepted.”

Your heart bursts with pride knowing that all their hard work has paid off.

You start dreaming about your child’s future after college: traveling to exotic locations, having the means to pay for whatever they want, and making a big impact on the world.

You’ve been thinking about it since the day they started school: “Which college will my child go to? A small liberal arts school? A large public school? An ivy league?”

And, you’ve been planning for college for years. You’ve likely looked up ways to pay for college, enrolled your child in after school programs, and chauffeured them to and from activities — all while knowing that these endless sacrifices will give them the best future possible.

As a college admissions and career coach, I help students stay organized with the college preparation process, stand out from the crowd and increase their chances of getting into their dream school.

After getting accepted into the nation’s most competitive universities like UCLA, Yale and Johns Hopkins, spending ten years working with hundreds of students, and serving on the admissions team for University of California, Berkeley, I know exactly what it takes for students to stand out from thousands of others and get accepted into their school of choice.

Using everything I’ve learned, I take students step by step through the college preparation process, give thorough feedback and keep them on track.

When your child submits college applications during their senior year of high school, they’ll need to be sure their application stands out, highlights their strengths and immediately grabs the attention of the admissions committee.

Your child already has such a busy schedule. I know you want to help them plan which classes to take, select what extracurricular activities to get involved in, and choose colleges to apply to —  without getting overwhelmed by the process.

Simply put, you want to see your child succeed.

After reading hundreds of college applications serving as an admissions committee member and helping dozens of students prepare for college, I know:

  • You’re already investing in your child’s success through tutoring, test prep and summer programs with the hopes that it will increase their chances of getting into a good college, but concerned it might not be enough.
  • You have to stay on top of things to make sure your child gets good grades and strong test scores while still having time for friends and family.
  • You want to be supportive of your child and will do whatever it takes to ensure their success even when your child tries to fight it.
  • You’re tired of feeling like you have to tip-toe around whenever you talk about college in order to avoid a stressed out reaction from your child.
  • You worry that there’s a chance that your child won’t get into their top choice school and land a great job once they graduate.

If this sounds like your experience as a parent, you are in the right place. Nearly all parents of college bound high-school students feel the same way. And, you keep pushing your child, knowing that the decisions they make now will impact the course of their lives forever.

After dedicating years to making sure your child has what they need to be successful as an adult, you find yourself perplexed that your child wants to push back on your attempts to be helpful as they begin thinking about college. Simple questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “Which schools are you applying to?” are sometimes enough to trigger your child into a ball of stress.

You know that your child has the potential to be whatever they want to be, so you do whatever it takes to help them live up to that potential. Even if it means sacrificing your own time so your child becomes your top priority.

The truth is, you’re no longer sure how to best help them get into their dream school, but you want to make sure they have every chance possible.

I’m Mary Grace Gardner and I work with hard working students who want to get into a great college, land a successful career and make a positive difference in the world. 

I know you’ve already tried to do it on your own: searched “how to apply to college” on Google, coerced your child to meet with the high-school counselor, and asked your network of friends and family for advice.

But, you’re not sure what to do with this information overload. And, you want your child to be guided through the steps without you spending all your time searching for the best information out there to improve your child’s chances of getting into their dream school.

Not only are you already super busy, but you know it’s critical for your child to go through these steps themselves and learn how to be more independent before heading off to college.

Your child might even insist that they can figure it out on their own. But, each time you ask about their progress, they still have so much left to do.

When you suggest topics they can write about in their college admissions essays, they give you that apathetic look and deliver that audible sigh that annoys you to know end — and terrifies you.

So, you find yourself anxiously letting time go by as that college application checklist continues to grow.

So, what does your child need to secure that competitive edge in the college application process?

A step-by-step guide that is customized to their needs.

When your child knows exactly which steps to take in a realistic timeline, they’ll be less overwhelmed and less intimidated by the process.

And when they have a clear plan in place and an easy way to ask the questions they may hesitate to share, it leaves more time to focus on school, extracurricular activities and other important steps in the college preparation process.

Most importantly, they’ll also get a chance to enjoy precious family time during their final years at home before leaving for college.

Close your eyes and imagine:

  • Watching your child excitedly call their grandparents to tell them they got into their top choice college
  • Celebrating an incredible list of college acceptances and the wealth of possibilities with each option
  • Packing up those suitcases at the end of senior year as your child heads off to the college of their dreams

But, these things can only happen if you’re ready to invest the time and energy now to reap the rewards in the near future.

These live,1-1 sessions are for busy, high-potential students looking to get accepted into their dream school. During these highly sessions, your child will learn exactly what admissions teams look for when deciding who gets rejected and who get accepted.

I’ll teach your child how to create a plan that organizes all the things they need to do in high school to prepare for college.

I’ll help your child identify their strengths and key interests so that they can make better decisions about what majors and colleges to pursue.

I’ll give your child the tough love, detailed feedback their friends, teachers or parents won’t be able to give.

I’ll help your child with a structured approach that’s easy to follow and shows them exactly what they need to do to make their high school achievements stand out from thousands of other applicants. 

Session Topics


Create your goals and timeline

Your interests survey

Summer planning

Selecting classes

Test planning

Selecting extracurriculars 

Developing positive relationships with your teachers and administrators

Scholarship planning

... and more!


Your college application checklist

Creating your college list

College tours

College application essays

How to complete the college application

Preparing for college interviews

Comparing college acceptance offers

Success strategies for college

Sessions occur via video chat for one hour.

Frequency: From 9th grade to the first half of 11th grade, sessions occur once per month. When the college application process begins the second half of 11th grade, session frequency increases to twice a month through 12th grade.

Text support: While your child is enrolled in the program, I’ll hold digital office hours every Thursday, all day, where your child can text me their toughest questions on preparing for college. I answer every question.

Parent updates: After each session you will receive a summary along with actions you can take to support your child. If you ever have questions or concerns you'd like to talk through, you have the option to schedule a 15 minute call each month.

I created the How to Get into College program for busy students who want a competitive edge and are serious about getting into their dream school, but don’t have the time to sift through the endless pile of information out there.

As an overachiever in high school, I remember how stressed out I was about the college preparation process. With a schedule full of AP classes, club meetings and sports, a simple question from my well-intentioned parents about applying to college was enough to push me over the edge.

I quickly recognized that I needed a system to keep me organized, on track and hitting goals so that I could get everything done without the stress. I got accepted into great schools and ended up in a career I love.

After hearing parents and students each year share the same struggles to balance it all while preparing for college, I noticed they were feeling short on time, unsupported and overwhelmed.

I knew that the process could be so much simpler. And, as someone who has been on both sides of the fence — as a student who got accepted into top colleges and as an admissions reviewer for the #1 public university in the country – I know exactly what it takes for your child to get accepted into their dream school.

In contrast to other options out there, How to Get into College is a mentorship program designed to specifically meet the needs of busy students, while leveraging the technology they already use.

You won’t have to drive your child to and from sessions. Instead, they’ll be able to watch classes, submit work and ask questions on their phone, computer or tablet. Imagine seeing your child on their phone and knowing they are using social media to stay on track with preparing for college.

You’ll have an expert guiding your child through the process, and I’ll keep you posted on what you can do to make sure they stay on track.

By the time our work together is done, your child will have the best chance of being accepted into their dream school.

I’ve designed this program so that your child can get the specific guidance, feedback and accountability they need without having to turn to a tutor with an outdated approach, claiming to know the secrets of getting accepted into college just because they got accepted into college. They are missing half the picture.

With this program, you can stop those searches for “Applying to college” on Google — the advice you read was conflicting, anyway.

And, you won’t have to buy thick college preparation books, chase down teachers or counselors to walk you through the process, or hope your child will figure it out.

During this program your child has the option to join my online group and be surrounded by other motivated students while I guide them through understanding how to stand out in the college application process.

You don’t want to look back years from now and regret not helping your child increase their chances of getting into their dream school.

As an ADDITIONAL bonus, your child gets access to The College Prep Academy while enrolled in The How to Get into College program.

The College Prep Academy includes:

  • Online classroom setting with peers
  • Helpful links and worksheets
  • A set of recorded classes on how to apply for scholarships, create a college list, prepare for college interviews and more!
  • Interviews with college alumni so that students can learn what it’s really like at different colleges
  • Interviews with industry experts so that students can learn about different career paths — confirmed guests include: Anstasia Soare of billion dollar make up brand Anastasia of Beverly Hills, a business development leader from IBM, an analyst from Apple, a scholar from the U.S. Department of Energy, a management consultant from Deloitte, and many more!

Membership to the College Prep Academy is $200/month. Your child gets FREE access during while enrolled in the How to Get into College program.

This program is perfect for your child if:

  • You’re a busy parent who wants to see your child succeed
  • Your child has a lot of potential, but just needs a nudge in the right direction
  • You’ve tried researching things on your own, but don’t know what specific advice to give your child on how to prepare for college

This program is not for your child if:

  • You have the extra time to read all the college prep books, organize the information you find online and coach your child on your own.
  • Your child doesn’t have the minimum GPA and test scores required by the schools on their “safe list”
  • Your child really doesn’t want to go to college and isn’t willing to put in the work.

30 day money back guarantee: If you are unhappy for any reason after the first lesson, I offer a full money back guarantee. Show me the student did all the work and I’ll issue you a refund. I’ll even cover the processing fees.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How will I know my child’s progress during the program?
A. If you provide your email address, I’ll send you emails outlining what we cover during our sessions and recommendations on what you can do to support your child. If I notice your child falling behind, I’ll let you know.

Q. Is this safe?
A. Safety is my top priority. Your child will submit work to me via an application that only I can see. If I catch anyone cheating, plagiarizing or bullying, I will ban that student from the program and no refund will be issued.

Q. Can you guarantee that my child will get accepted to school “X?”
A. No, no one can guarantee that your child will get accepted to a specific school, and if they do, it’s probably a scam. There are many factors that determine whether or not your child gets accepted into a certain university such as: grades, test scores, awards and extracurricular activities. What I can guarantee is that if your child follows my program, they will increase their chances of getting accepted.

Q. Can parents join the live video calls?
A. Your support is critical to your child's success. I welcome parents to join the calls. At times your child might feel more comfortable without you on the call. During our first session, we'll establish expectations and agree on how we want to set up our sessions going forward.

Q. Do you offer in person support?
A. I am located in the Silicon Valley and have students all across the United States and other countries. Due to the level of customized support I provide to my 1-1 students, I can only take on a few 1-1 students each year. Video conferencing allows me to serve you with flexibility on scheduling and location. If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and interested in in-person support, the travel charge is $1,000 per year.

I know how much is on the line. I’m so thankful my parents gave me the support I needed in high school. I give them credit for the for the great colleges I got accepted to, the networks I created and the dream job I landed afterward. Being able to graduate debt-free on my own, buy a car and home shortly after college, and live a life I love was all possible thanks to their investment in me.

I know you want the same for your child. If you are ready to take action — to stop guessing what your child should do to increase their chances of getting into their dream school — let me show your child how.

Here's what my students have to say:

Mary Grace is an amazing individual. She provided me with great feedback as well as gave me a different perspective. Along with her guidance, she also helped me stay motivated whenever I became frustrated.

Alex N.

Mary Grace put my nerves at ease by answering all my questions and giving me a lot of support. Her feedback was very specific. Through my correspondence with Mary Grace, I can tell that she was invested in me.

Brigitte J.

Mary Grace helped me apply to colleges, scholarship and write my personal statement. She’s very patient and supportive when it comes to helping you with any questions or challenges. She was always there to help me. Applying to college is so stressful, and it’s nice to have someone like her guide you through it.

Aylin A.


Enrollment continues through May 31. Grade level and pricing category changes June 1.

1-1 VIP Option

One hour 1-1 video conferencing session per month

Invitation to LIVE group online classes

Weekly office hours


Apply Now & Book a Free Consultation

1-1 VIP Option

One hour 1-1 video conferencing session per month

Invitation to LIVE group online classes




Apply Now & Book a Free Consultation

1-1 VIP Option

One hour 1-1 video conferencing session per month through the first half of the school year

One hour 1-1 video conferencing session twice per month through the second half of the school year

Invitation to LIVE group online classes


Apply Now & Book a Free Consultation

1-1 VIP Option

One hour 1-1 video conferencing session twice per month 


Apply Now & Book a Free Consultation

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