College Application Planning, Essay Help, and More

College Connections is a college consulting firm based in Richmond, VA. A college application is a process, not just a senior project. We help students create a complete college application package, so that they may best represent themselves.

Comprehensive College Planning to Minimize Stress in the College Application Process

College Connections is a college consulting firm based in Richmond, VA. We work with students and their parents to survive the college application process.  We do this by providing a step-by-step plan that takes the burden of the college application process off the parents.  Your resulting college application package will emphasize your student’s strengths, making him/her look as competitive as possible on paper.

If you would like to replace college application stress with  admissions success, contact College Connections

Please contact us for more details or pricing information for any of our services.


College Connections offers guidance and services for the following:

College Selection

College selection involves identifying schools that match your academic, financial, geographical and social criteria. Part of college selection process involves identifying schools as safety, target and reach in terms of your academic record as well as the cost of attendance. The goal of college selection is to have desirable college choices once admissions decisions are made.

College & Scholarship Essays

For many larger and/or public universities, the college essay takes the place of an interview. An effective college essay will give the admissions committee deeper insight as to who you are; therefore, the topic of your college essay is you. Some college applications ask for up to three essays, while others require one or none. College essays are usually the most time consuming part of the college application process. It is important to allow time for revising your college essays.

Curriculum Evaluation

Curriculum evaluation involves looking at the classes you are currently taking and determining if the strength of your curriculum matches the colleges and college major you are considering. Curriculum evaluation should be an ongoing process throughout high school. Are you challenging yourself in your academic strengths by taking higher level courses? Are your grades being compromised by higher level courses in subjects that are more difficult for you? Answering these questions is part of curriculum evaluation.

Student Recommendations

Student recommendations are usually written by your teachers, counselor and school administrators. The number of student recommendations required varies by school. It is important to allow enough time between your request for a recommendation and when it needs to be submitted. Student recommendations are part of your college application package so it is important to choose people who can write a strong, positive recommendation for you.recommendations and evaluate your strengths. Some college applications request student resumes. It is also advisable to bring a copy of your resume and your transcript on your college visits and show them to admissions counselors and academic professors.

Advising for Athletes, Artists, Musicians, and Performers

If you have a special talent to bring to the college application process, you can be admitted based on your special abilities, or you may be admitted based on both academics and your abilities. Depending on the school you are applying to, merit money could also be available for you based on your talent and/or academics. The ideal situation is to have strength in both areas. Your athletic performance, audition or portfolio could greatly affect an admissions decision as well as the tuition you pay at the colleges where you apply.


College applications can vary considerably in terms of their length and complexity. The most desirable method of submitting a college application is online. As a college applicant, your goal is to submit a college application that emphasizes your strengths and makes you appear as competitive as possible on paper. It is important to submit your college application materials meeting all deadlines. A missed deadline could prevent you from being admitted, even if you are a strong applicant.

Organizational Techniques

The college application process can result in a maze of paperwork. College Connections can create documents which help students track their application materials. We can also create personalized spreadsheets so important deadlines are not overlooked.

Student Resumes

Student resumes are an important tool in the college application process. The student resume organizes the information you will need to complete your college applications. Resumes are especially important for student athletes, with a section highlighting their sport(s). Providing your counselor and teachers with a copy of your student resume and a college essay will help them write strong recommendations and evaluate your strengths. Some college applications request student resumes. It is also advisable to bring a copy of your resume and your transcript on your college visits and show them to admissions counselors and academic professors.

College Visits

Campus visits are excellent opportunities to see a college “up close and personal” and assess whether or not the school is a good fit for you.  You can learn a tremendous amount about a college through a campus visit.   Knowing the right questions for you to ask will help you make the most of your campus visit.  A good campus visit will introduce you to students, faculty, facilities and give you an idea about what it would be like to live on the college campus you are visiting.

Advising for Students with Disabilities

If you have a learning disability, most colleges offer resources to help you succeed academically. Often, the services offered by colleges are stronger and more comprehensive than those offered by many high schools. Access to these services may require assessment within a year of matriculation to college. To determine whether or not a college offers the services you require, make sure a visit to Student Support Services is part of your college tour.


A Note from the Founder

I started my college consulting service, College Connections, in June of 2000. As a college consultant, I can help college bound high school students with the entire college application process. Some of my clients require assistance in all areas of the college application process, while others require only one or two of my college consulting services. My services are customized to my clients’ needs.

As a college consultant, my goal is not to replace the services provided by high school counselors or career centers but to supplement them. My role is similar to that of a private subject tutor. I encourage and advise my clients as to how they can benefit from the services that are available to them in their schools. However, not everyone can access these services due to their own schedules and commitments. College Connections provides highly specialized services to meet individual schedules and needs.

— Christel Milak-Parker, College Connections founder —


I have shared clients with Christel Milak-Parker of College Connections and found her to be very professional and thorough in her approach to the college application process. College Connections is a wonderful complement to the work of school guidance counselors. I recommend her highly to those who would like to structure their college application process to make the process proceed as smoothly as possible. As the owner of an SAT Preparation Service (e-mail for a schedule of classes) I have had many opportunities to see College Connections at work.”

Carolyn Scaniello, M.Ed.


“We met with the counselor on Friday at school, and if I haven’t said this enough already, please know how grateful I am that you were willing to work with my daughters. Its never been clearer that we would have fumbled badly without you. With our difficulties this past year, I honestly don’t see how we would have accomplished any of this! Its really been a blessing.”

Jeff Gumenick, Parent
St. Catherine’s School

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