• Explore Career Interests

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  • College Recommendations

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Stand out in your application

An independent college consultant can help you stand out from the crowd by providing application guidance, helping you create compelling essays and prepping you for interviews.

Personal Attention

Why Hire a College Consultant

Helping students through all aspects of the college transition is Starting Gate's mission.

Starting Gate works independent of colleges, universities and your school guidance counselor, providing personalized attention with unbiased, objective guidance and information

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"I've worked firsthand with Carolyn for ten years - her attention to detail and passion for her students is admirable and contagious."

- Cynthia Hartman


"We couldn't have done this without your help and guidance. We are so thankful and thrilled with the acceptance letters that keep pouring in! Thank you!"

- Gretchen and Milan


"My son's expectation for college greatly exceeded our budget. Carolyn found the perfect school for Ryan and helped him obtain scholarships too!"

- Sharon Lee


"I was completely overwhelmed how to help my son navigate this entire college application process. Carolyn's calm but professional demeanor made all the difference."

- Patrick Francis


Additional Resources

Click here for the full list of resources

Free Aptitude Test – Find Your Strengths & Weaknesses

The RichardStep Strengths and Weaknesses Aptitude Test (RSWAT)

Job/Career Quiz

Use this test to generate recommendations for career choices.

Jung Typology Test

Personality test based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory.

Khan Academy Practice Tests

Free online practice tests for SAT reading, writing, and math exams.

What Makes Starting Gate Different

About Starting Gate College Consulting 

CarolynGateStarting Gate was founded by Carolyn Karlson, Ph.D. and is based out of Saratoga Springs, NY.

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

As President of Starting Gate College Consulting, Carolyn Karlson, Ph.D. has 25 years of experience in higher education.

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