Laurie Bookstein

Certified Educational Planner

Helping students find their right fit


CPS offers a broad spectrum of services which focus on meeting the needs of the individual student and family. While the consultation occurs in face-to-face meetings in most cases, Laurie has vast experience in maintaining direct contact with her students utilizing technology such as Skype™, email, SMS, and of course, telephone conferencing. Her clients are geographically diverse, from all over the United States and the world, and they are also diverse in terms of academic levels and goals. Laurie works with families on a comprehensive fee basis or, when appropriate, by an hourly fee consultation. Contact her at or 414.351.6801 to begin your path to answers in the college search and application process.

When to begin the process?

Laurie believes in striking an appropriate balance between beginning an engagement early in the student’s high school career and unnecessarily creating anxiety by focusing on the “collegiate career” long before it should be a concern for the student. Typically, to ensure that Laurie has the maximum effective input into the student’s high school course selection, an engagement can begin during the student’s freshman year. However, Laurie has experience taking on students at any point in their high school years, most often as sophomores and juniors. She does assist students entering their senior year as well, depending upon time availability.

What does CPS do?

Introduction and Assessment

The first step in the process is for Laurie to meet with the student and family to listen and learn about what they are looking for in the post-secondary planning process. She then carefully explains how her process works, how it will be tailored to the needs of the student, and how she will act as guide and advisor to navigate the multi-step journey toward finding the right fit. Laurie also employs a number of assessment tools that examine and extract from the student and parents their goals and desires. Each student is given a comprehensive notebook to serve as a roadmap, prepared by Laurie, which will take the student step-by-step through the entire application process. Additionally, both the student and parents receive a monthly newsletter from Laurie that shares many ideas about managing the admissions and application process and tracks the latest trends in college admissions.

Academic Counseling and Extracurricular Advice

According to Laurie, one of the most overlooked factors in the college process is the impact that academic course selection and extracurricular activities may have on the strength of the candidacy of a college applicant. Laurie takes particular interest in working together with her students to create the strongest high school academic profile that challenges the student, yet meets the student’s ability to succeed. Contemporaneously, Laurie explores her client’s passions and interests to develop extracurricular and summer opportunities to showcase the student’s involvement in the school and local community. These activities will form the building blocks of the student’s resume to be included with the application.

Creation of the College List

Perhaps the most creative aspect of the process is developing the college list. Through the collaborative efforts of Laurie, the student, and the family to synthesize all aspects of the student’s preferences, academic performance, testing, passions, interests, and dreams, Laurie creates an initial list of schools that will help define the application process. This list will undergo multiple revisions over time as the student adds and deletes potential colleges based on changing interests, reactions to college visits, geographic preferences, and other factors. It is here where Laurie’s personal familiarity with the more than 1,000 colleges she has visited can provide valuable insight into which colleges might be the right fit for each student with whom she is working so closely.

Supervision of the College Visit and Interview Process

Laurie understands that going on a college visit is more than just a sightseeing trip. Before she sends her students and their parents off on any college tour, she can prepare them with a cohesive itinerary, schedule of tours and meetings with admissions personnel, and a list of questions to be answered by the student to see if the college feels like it could be a right fit. Additionally, as a working trip, Laurie stresses that the opportunity to visit a campus is an opportunity to create a first impression in the admissions process. Thus, where possible, interview options are created and the student is thoroughly prepared by Laurie to present him/herself in the best possible light. She prepares the student for the interview process through mock interviews and additional tips.

Management of the Application Process

Some of the most common questions students and families ask include: "How many schools should I apply to?" " Should I apply Early Decision, Early Action, to Rolling Admissions Schools, or through the Regular Decision process?" " Are these Common Application schools?" "What should I do about essays, supplemental essays, standardized testing or test optional choices, portfolios, auditions, NCAA rules?"  There are so many factors that must be sorted out in compiling applications that will provide the student with the best opportunity for acceptance. Laurie works with each student to evaluate, prepare, and complete the application process in an orderly fashion. She assists in coordinating the student’s standardized testing schedule, personal application, resume, essay brainstorming, personal applications, and monitors the student’s timely communication for guidance staff input and teacher recommendations. This ensures that the application filed by the student reflects his or her best work once submitted.

Counsel on the Selection of the College of Choice

By the time the student is required to select his or her college of choice, Laurie has gotten to know each of her students personally as a result of the collaborative process. She hopes that the process has yielded choices of several colleges that would potentially be a right fit. But now a singular choice must be made. Sometimes that choice is obvious, but at other times the pressure to “choose the right one” can be overwhelming. After years of assisting students in the final selection process, Laurie has learned that there are many ways to guide the student into making his/her choice with confidence and joy. The results and the feedback that can be found in the testimonials reflect the success her collaborative efforts have achieved over time.

Who does CPS help?

Traditional College Applicants

Many students and families find that they need professional advice to navigate the path through the college admission process. Laurie works with all students regardless of academic achievement or placement goals to "find the right fit.”

Students with Specific Talents, Goals, or Needs

Some students possess unique circumstances that play a significant role in focusing the college search process. Whether it is important to uncover those specific talent programs that meet the student’s needs or finding the best environment to assist a student’s particular learning style, Laurie has vast experience in addressing each of the particular needs of her students.

Non-Traditional Programs

Sometimes, direct matriculation to college from high school is not the best first step in the life of a student. Laurie uses an array of specialty, service, and gap year programs to advance her students’ readiness to conquer the college years.

Transfer Students

Recent studies indicate that 33% of all college students do not graduate from the college in which they originally enroll. While that is certainly not representative of Laurie’s traditional students, she understands the special challenges that transfer students face and ensures that they continue on a successful path of achievement at a new institution.

Graduate and Professional School Applicants

Laurie has worked with students interested in pursuing advanced and professional degrees by advising and assisting them in post-graduate admissions and program selection.

Professional Member Independent Educational Consultants Association
National Association for College Admission Counseling
Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling
Higher Education Consultants Association
American Institute of Certified Educational Planners