When You Follow Your Passion...

Great Things Happen

About Us

Starting Gate College Consulting

You’re off and running toward that life-changing goal that is college. But the competition is fierce, and you’re wondering if your work-to-date can carry you across the finish line. Mind-boggling entry forms and fees, a tough field of competition, confusing formulas for added money, plus you have to ace your SAT/ACT tests!

Starting Gate College Consulting can help. We’re here to help students master the College Condition Book and select schools that match their academic interests, personal goals, and professional aspirations.

Horse walking towards starting gate

Photo by: Michael Gallitelli

About Carolyn Karlson

As President of Starting Gate College Consulting, Carolyn Karlson, Ph.D. has 25 years of experience in higher education, having worked as a professor, academic advisor, program director, and graduate school dean.

She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, an MS from Columbia University, and a BA from Simmons College.

Her academic appointments include the University of Notre Dame, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Karlson is also an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).

About the Name

Two passions collided in the creation of Starting Gate College Consulting. President Carolyn Karlson has loved and owned race horses for ten years, and equally loved working with her college students for 25 years.

She walks the perimeter of the Oklahoma training track in Saratoga Springs every morning. As she watched the young horses learning to navigate the starting gate, it occurred to her that they were not unlike her young students navigating their path to college.

Our Services

We offer flexible options for every budget!  Select one of our packages or an hourly rate.  We can help with all or a portion of the process. 

Senior with backpack

Junior/Senior Unlimited

Package includes everything needed to select a school, career path, test preparation and all the assets needed for admissions.
Late senior

Senior Rush

Package includes everything needed to select a school, career path, test preparation and all the assets needed for admissions, just faster!

Hourly Rate

Can include all or part of the process, as needed. College list analysis, test prep, transcript assessment, application assistance and more!

College Admissions Counseling

Is It Worth It?

In today’s competitive college admissions landscape, relying solely on a strong GPA and a few extracurricular activities is no longer sufficient to guarantee admission. This holds especially true if you want to attend a top-tier undergraduate business school or are looking for a university with optimal pre-med programs that will help get you accepted into medical school.

Recent data from the Common App reveals a staggering 20% increase in the total number of applications submitted within the past year, while acceptance rates either remained stagnant or declined.

In short, as you prepare to apply to colleges, it is critical that you do everything possible to make your application stand out, and maximize your chances of admission. A college admissions counselor can help you do just that.

Choose the right school

A good college counselor will help match the student with college choices that best align with their personality, goals, and values.

Choose the right program or major

A college advisor can also help students figure out their goals and prospective career paths before selecting a program. Students may even have a career goal in mind but don't know how to create a plan to get there, and advisors can help with this, too.

Strengthen Your Application

College admissions counselors can help guide students through the application process so nothing is overlooked. They can also provide valuable feedback on essays and give tips on other details that can strengthen the application.

Ready to choose the school & major that match YOU?

Making decisions for the future is, well, hard! No one has that magic crystal ball so we can plan perfectly for what’s to come.

Starting Gate can help you evaluate your skills, discover your preferences, and understand your goals, so you can make informed choices about your future!

Schedule your discovery call today!