College Testimonials

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I think that working with Johanna through the college admissions process brought out my most presentable self. She helped highlight the information that made me unique in the eyes of any admissions officer. In all facets of the process, Johanna was incredible. However, I think the best thing she did was make evident the collegiate potential I possess; rather than help structure my essays around my academic record, she encouraged me to find interesting and creative things to talk about. I am now deciding between Wake Forest and UW-Madison.

– PHS Senior, Class of 2019

“Johanna Baum came strongly recommended by a friend who has a child one year ahead of our son.

We found her informed, articulate, thoughtful, and professional. She took the time to get to know our child and had specific recommendations based on his background and interests. She set expectations well up front and delivered on all of them. She worked with our complicated schedule.

Our son found her insightful, calm, and helpful. She had good chemistry with him and us, together and separately. She was immediately responsive to our questions. Her feedback was specific, clear, and actionable. We went through the entire college admissions process without added drama. We recommend her for any family looking for professional help with college applications.”

–Parents, PHS Student, Class of 2019

My son and I were visiting one of the colleges he was accepted to yesterday, and In the car, he was talking about how valuable his experience has been with you. I see that he is a much stronger writer, and I think this entire process of writing about things that matter to him has been so valuable.  I am sorry that he cannot continue with you!!  Who knew that reticent boy would have such a positive application and admissions process? You deserve so much of that credit.

–Parent, PHS Student, Class of 2019

“I’m a senior at PHS, and I worked with Johanna last year and the beginning of this year for college prep. Writing supplements, building my resume, picking out schools, she does it all! Johanna put in a lot of time and so much effort into helping me get into my top schools. She truly cares about your success and will help you get where you want to go!!”

–PHS Senior, Class of 2019

My daughter started working with Johanna the summer before her senior year.  Meeting regularly with Johanna ensured that she stayed focused and on top of all the various aspects of the college application process. Johanna provided regular feedback and encouragement, and helped reduce her anxiety and stress level considerably. My daughter finished submitting her applications ahead of time and was accepted into her first choice college. Thanks to Johanna, the whole process was smooth and efficient.”

–Parent, MHS Student, Class of 2019

Because of the help I got from you, I learned to highlight the strengths and best aspects of my application and find schools that were the best fit for me. Now I’m going to my dream school. I couldn’t be happier and I owe so much of that to [your] help.”

–MHS Student, Class of 2019

“My son Ryan started working with Johanna Baum in his junior year of high school. She was an enormous help in working with him with his college essays and applications. She helped him to achieve the goal of getting into his number one college choice, which was Elon.

Ryan decided he wanted to change majors and follow an engineering path during his freshman year. Since Elon didn’t offer this, he knew he had to begin the college application process for an engineering school.  Once again, he worked with Johanna on a new round of essays and applications and was accepted into his two of his top college choices, RPI and Lehigh. He is flourishing at RPI this year and couldn’t be happier. Johanna was strategic in helping him choose this amazing college fit and then helping him present his best self to the admissions committee.
Ryan is now working with Johanna as he prepares his work resume for summer internships. She is amazing.”

–Parent, PHS Student, Class of 2016; RPI Transfer Student, Class of 2020

“I am very happy to be attending Georgia Institute of Technology this fall majoring in Industrial and Operations Research Engineering and I could not have done this without your help and expertise. Thank you very much for your time and effort in polishing my application to the best version it can be.”

– WW-PHS North Senior, Class of 2018

“I am very happy with how [my essay] turned out. I think [the final draft] gets rid of the fluff and focuses on the main points that are important. I would not have been able to get this essay to where it is without your help and I want to say thank you very much.”

– Rutgers Transfer Student, Class of 2019

“I found out earlier today that I got into UChicago EDII! I’m super excited and extremely grateful for all your support and advice throughout the process, from helping me craft my essays from the very beginning to your reassuring words during a difficult period around Christmastime. It’s a bit of a shame that I won’t be able to see the results of my applications to other schools, which I poured my heart into, but at the same time I know I’ll be happy at UChicago. Once again, thank you for your guidance. I definitely couldn’t have done it without you.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2018

“Working with Johanna on my college essays and applications was a real game changer. I had so many things about myself that I wanted to let the colleges know about and found it challenging to organize all this information into the few paragraphs allowed on most applications. That’s where Johanna came in and made a huge difference.
We met and she took the time to really find out a lot about me and my past accomplishments. She helped me filter through all the ideas I wanted to share and pull out what I felt was most meaningful. We then spent time formulating ways to convey this into a format that would jump off the page as admissions counselors read about me.
She had fantastic suggestions and was always easy to reach. She helped to keep me on schedule and super focused. Here is a list of some of the colleges I was accepted to:

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Villanova
  • Lehigh
  • NYU
  • Elon University

I highly recommend working with Johanna if you are in the process of applying for colleges. Chances are, she will be a game changer for you too.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2016

“I am grateful for all of Ms. Baum’s help throughout the essay writing process. It was assuring to have her help me brainstorm ideas, organize my thoughts into structures, develop a genuine and compelling voice, and much more. Essay is the only part of the college application that one gets to truly speak for oneself, and I am confident that my essays were what set me apart from many other applicants with similar résumés, and ultimately helped me to get accepted into highly selective colleges.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2017

“While the college application process can be stressful for many, Johanna made my experience so much more calming and insightful. She allowed me to develop my own unique voice in my personal statement and supplement essays, as well as assist me in terms of organization and clarity. Johanna never ceased to amaze me with the amount of effort she put into helping me with each essay. She was also very helpful in narrowing down a list of top colleges that best fit my future goals and personality. Throughout the entire time I worked with Johanna, I learned so much about who I am as a person and what I value most in life. I am so appreciative of her support and proud to say that I will be attending one of my top choice schools!”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2017

“Johanna Baum is a lifesaver! Neither of our sons enjoys writing, and they especially dislike writing about themselves, so we all were dreading the prospect of college essays. Johanna was unfailingly patient and encouraging, while also prodding them to keep working and stay on schedule. Somehow she was able to draw out two very reserved boys, getting each of them to articulate what they were passionate about, and to convey that passion in their own voices. She was also very helpful in suggesting schools that would be good matches for each of our sons, and was always available for “emergency” consultations whenever questions or problems arose. Both boys were accepted at one of their top-choice schools, and our younger son got in to every college to which he applied! We highly recommend Johanna to anyone who wants to make the college application process as successful and unstressful as possible.”

– PHS Parents, Classes of 2014 and 2017

“My daughter began working with Johanna in August of her senior year. We are extremely grateful for all of the guidance and support she provided. Johanna helped my daughter to write outstanding essays by asking thoughtful questions and providing suggestions but still allowing her to speak in her own voice. The essays were genuine and insightful.
Johanna’s calming manner made the entire process less stressful for our family. Thank you, Johanna!”

– PHS Parent, Class of 2017

“Dear Johanna,
We would like to thank you for your work with our son over the past six months. You have been key to keeping him focused and having him move forward constructively on his college applications. You answered many questions for him and us and mostly you allowed him to develop his own ideas into powerful essays which enabled a very good outcome for him.”

– PHS Parent, Class of 2017

“Ms. Baum is truly an exceptional counselor who was able to bring out the best of me. Even though I had many interests and passions, I was unsure of what I wanted to do moving forward and was even unsure of who I really was. Through Ms. Baum’s counseling and insightful intuition, I was able to understand myself a lot better and what I exactly wanted to do in college.
Not only did Ms. Baum help me understand myself better, but also gave me a better understanding of college admissions since it is a very obscure topic. Throughout my sessions with her, we were able to correctly approach each essay question and answer them to the highest quality. One key thing I took from the sessions was being able to translate an idea or something pivotal in my life into words, which I believe was the hardest part about college essays. Another key thing was avoiding “red flag” topics, topics that might potentially be the deciding factor in being denied to a college. There were times where I hit a wall, and I could not get my ideas onto paper, and there were even times where no matter how much time I invested in one particular question, I could not make my idea flow fluently. Ms. Baum helped me conquer these adversaries. It was as if she knew me better than I knew myself.”

– PHS North Senior, Class of 2016

“I really feel that Johanna helped me put my best foot forward for my college essays. She pushed me to write only what I genuinely felt passionate about, rather than what I thought would “impress” colleges the most. This was reflected greatly in all of my essays. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed discussing new essay ideas with her and watching them turn into final drafts. She is friendly, professional and VERY knowledgeable on the college admissions process. Her careful guidance, encouragement, and advice with my admissions journey has proved to be invaluable. I was accepted into nearly all of the schools I applied to—including my top choice, the University of Michigan, which I will be attending next fall!!”

– MHS Senior, Class of 2016

“Johanna was incredibly helpful throughout the college application process. She helped me come up with topics for my essays, and then she helped edit and revise them to make them the best they could be. Aside from the essays, though, Johanna helped me figure out what type of school would be best for me, and she introduced me to the school that I ended up picking! She also found a summer program for me to attend before my senior year that helped me narrow down what I might want to major in, and that was a great experience.”

– MHS Senior, Class of 2016

“Applying to college can be such a stressful process for the entire family with the essay weighing heavily on everyone’s minds. My son knew what he wanted to say in his essay. He had original thoughts and he is a good writer. I had heard many stories of consultants writing college essays for students and we knew that was something we did not want but we also didn’t want to go it alone. We needed guidance. My son spent many hours writing and rewriting his essay and I proofread. It well exceeded the limit of words and we could not figure out what to eliminate. We also had no confidence in how the admissions officers would react to what we thought was good work. We wanted to put forth our best effort. When we voiced our concerns to the school college counselor and asked for a referral she recommended Johanna Baum. We are so grateful. Johanna was amazing at calming us. She loved my son’s essay and helped him to condense his words to concisely relay his message. She encouraged him and helped him, never putting words in his mouth. Johanna let it truly be his work with just the right amount of guidance and support. In addition, Johanna reviewed his application before submission and found an error that we corrected before submitting. Phew! She suggested actions my son should take to show his interest in his top choice and he followed her suggestions. Happily, my son was accepted early decision to his “dream” school. So we had the happiest of holidays. I highly recommend Johanna to any family going through the process.”

– PHS Parent, 2015

“Working with Johanna has been an amazing experience and not only helped me tremendously with applying to college but also I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. My essay skills improved a lot and I was not only happy with my writing but also extremely confident that my essays were the best they could be. My results were also great!”

– MHS Senior, 2015

“My son worked with Johanna starting in the summer of 2014 on his common app essay. After four visits, he not only had a thoughtful and rich essay, he had gained the confidence to complete several other supplemental essays on his own. Johanna does not re-write or re-direct the sentiment of the essay; rather she engages the student in conversation and asks meaningful questions about the topic so that the student/writer is expressing him/herself with clarity. With Johanna’s expertise, my son was able to express himself in a wonderfully concise way. Thank You!”

– PHS Parent, 2015

“Dear Ms. Baum,
Thank you very much for all your help with my essays. My essays looked much better after your editing.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2015

“I’m glad to say that I have great news for you! I was accepted at Princeton, Cornell, Williams, Tufts, BU, and McGill! I can’t begin to thank you enough for all the support you gave me during the application process. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was accepted at the places I felt we wrote our strongest essays. Even more than that, though, meeting and talking with you really got me on track with the whole process. I ended up applying to pretty much all of my schools in that last half of December, and without your guidance, this could have ended very badly for me. Throughout this whole process, I learned a lot about what I actually wanted out of college, as well as a bit about myself, and I have you to thank for that.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2014

“We would like to thank you for the help you provided our son during his college application process. During what can be a very stressful time for both parents and student, you were always professional and proved to be a calming influence. You provided us with good insight into what colleges would be best suited for our son and ensure him a happy and successful college experience. We would also like to commend you for the time and work spent in helping him write an essay that showed who he is. We believe this played a significant role in many of the acceptances he received.
Lastly, we would like to mention, that when we started this process, we were very concerned about him getting accepted to the schools he was applying to, however, we are pleased to announce that out of the 11 schools he applied to, he got into 9 of them, and will be attending The University of Delaware in the fall.”

– MHS Parents, 2014

“It was a pleasure working with Ms. Baum. I can’t stress enough the amount of effort she put into my essays. My teachers at school would just check for the basics, like grammatical errors, and did not really provide me with solid suggestions for improvement, but Ms. Baum was not afraid of change. We went through my college application essays multiple times until it was perfect and flowed beautifully. I am very pleased with the outcome of my essay and cannot wait to attend Johns Hopkins University next year.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2014

“Johanna Baum is a life-saver! Applying to college is an extremely stressful process, especially when transferring from a community college without the support of a high school guidance counselor. Johanna helped to reassure my daughter that she should apply to The College of New Jersey, that she was smart enough, and had the necessary attributes. My daughter did indeed apply and was accepted. What I found to be the most rewarding part of working with Johanna was that my daughter had a third party to work with, alleviating the pressure that parent and adult child have in working together. I highly recommend Johanna!”

– Parent of Transfer Student, 2014

“Ms. Baum was extremely helpful to me during my college application process. She was so accommodating and willing to work with me on all of my essays. Even when I struggled with a starting place she always found a way to spark ideas in my head. I would not have been able to get into all of the schools I applied to without her guidance and support! Ms. Baum is the best!”

– MHS Senior, Class of 2013

“Johanna is simply amazing! From concept to completion she helped guide my son to develop well thought out and powerful essays. He was accepted to every college he applied to and I am very sure his essays truly made his applications stand out.”

– MHS Parent, 2013

“Johanna really helped enhance as well as sharpen my writing skills to help mold my college essays. Without her as a mentor, I would not have gotten into many of my prospective colleges.”

– SBHS Senior, Class of 2013

“Johanna is honestly a great teacher to work with. She’s kind, thoughtful, and very flexible with time. I couldn’t thank her enough for helping me to improve my essays so that in the end I have extraordinary pieces to “wow” my colleges with!”

– MHS Senior, Class of 2013

“Johanna was a pleasure to work with via email. She was a smart, capable editor who knew what she was doing. She had a fast turn-around time, which was very helpful in the final weeks. Our son felt that she appreciated his writing style and tailored her approach to fit his needs. Johanna was a careful editor but did not overwhelm him with suggestions. For our family, it made the process less stressful and it was great to have somebody who wasn’t emotionally involved take a calm look at the essays.”

– PHS Parent, 2013

“Ms. Baum served as a supportive guide to me when I was applying to college. She helped me edit various essays with which I was struggling and I am thankful for that. Her advice was also very valuable throughout the entire process. I would recommend her to anyone going through the college application process.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2013

“Thanks again so much for all your help with the college essays! You really helped my son find his voice and put his best foot forward. I think he learned a great deal about writing and editing working with you, and we are so happy for him that he was admitted to some of his top choices.”

– PHS Parent, 2012

“Johanna took me through each step of the process of writing my college essays, from brainstorming through final edits, and never once did I feel that a single word was not my own. She provided me with tools and options to improve my writing, while keeping my writing in my own voice. She helped me seamlessly shorten essays when needed, without losing content. I am so proud of the final essays.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2012

“I am grateful for all of Ms. Baum’s help throughout the essay writing process. It was assuring to have her help me brainstorm ideas, organize my thoughts into structures, develop a genuine and compelling voice, and much more. Essay is the only part of the college application that one gets to truly speak for oneself, and I am confident that my essays were what set me apart from many other applicants with similar résumés, and ultimately helped me to get accepted into highly selective colleges.”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2017

“While the college application process can be stressful for many, Johanna made my experience so much more calming and insightful. She allowed me to develop my own unique voice in my personal statement and supplement essays, as well as assist me in terms of organization and clarity. Johanna never ceased to amaze me with the amount of effort she put into helping me with each essay. She was also very helpful in narrowing down a list of top colleges that best fit my future goals and personality. Throughout the entire time I worked with Johanna, I learned so much about who I am as a person and what I value most in life. I am so appreciative of her support and proud to say that I will be attending one of my top choice schools!”

– PHS Senior, Class of 2017

“Johanna Baum is a lifesaver! Neither of our sons enjoys writing, and they especially dislike writing about themselves, so we all were dreading the prospect of college essays.
Johanna was unfailingly patient and encouraging, while also prodding them to keep working and stay on schedule. Somehow she was able to draw out two very reserved boys, getting each of them to articulate what they were passionate about, and to convey that passion in their own voices. She was also very helpful in suggesting schools that would be good matches for each of our sons, and was always available for “emergency” consultations whenever questions or problems arose. Both boys were accepted at one of their top-choice schools, and our younger son got in to every college to which he applied!
We highly recommend Johanna to anyone who wants to make the college application process as successful and unstressful as possible.”

– PHS Parents, Classes of 2014 and 2017