“My investment in a college coach was the best money I have ever spent.”
Lisa C., Parent, Tigard, Oregon

Get college counseling in Oregon and beyond with Julia Surtshin of College Ahead (formerly Surtshin College  Counseling).

Your college selection, application, and admissions  process can be fun!

Julia offers personalized, effective educational planning for college-bound high-school students in the Pacific Northwest.

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Complimentary 20 minute phone consultation.

During the past 25 years of personalized college counseling, 97% of our students have gained admission to one of their top 3 school choices.

How it Works

Make the college selection, application, and admissions process easy. Get personalized services for college-bound students and their parents from College Ahead, providing college counseling in Oregon and beyond.

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Meet Julia

For more than 20 years, Julia Surtshin, MS, CEP, has coached students about college selection. She helps families handle campus visits, college application essays, and more with proven tools, resources, and custom plans.

 About Julia


The Right Fit

Find out exactly which colleges are most likely to help you reach your educational, career and life goals. Julia is a great coach and she will show you how to choose wisely and make your applications count.


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College Ahead college counseling in Oregon and beyond improves your chances of being accepted by your choice of schools

Why should we hire an independent college counselor when our child already has a high school counselor?

Independent college counselors help support the work of your teen’s high school counselor. Many public high school guidance counselors have caseloads of more than 350 students. College counseling is just one of their numerous responsibilities. Independent college counselors are devoted solely to the college search and application process. Read more...

College Ahead, college counseling in Oregon and beyond, at a campus visit
Oxy Student, a client of College Ahead, college counseling in Oregon and beyond

How do you work with high school counselors?

Each member of the college counseling “team” has a role. For everyone to work well together, they need to be on the same page. School-based counselors are the experts when it comes their specific schools’ curriculum, using the college search software called Naviance and other school-based technology, processing teacher recommendations and transcript requests, and writing letters of recommendation.


Independent counselors like Julia Surtshin have a different kind of expertise. Julia will give you input on college lists and extracurricular activities, how to make the most of the application opportunity, writing the best college application essays, and financial aid options.

What should we look for when hiring an independent college counselor?

There is no standard degree or license for Independent Educational Consultants (IECs), sometimes, depending on their qualifications, Independent College Counselors. The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) offers some useful suggestions of questions to consider when hiring an IEC. Visit https://www.iecaonline.com/quick-links/parents-students/what-is-an-independent-educational-consultant/12-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-an-independent-educational-consultant/ to learn more.


Seasoned counselors are eligible to become certified by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners. Visit http://www.aicep.org/fam.htm to learn why Certified Planners like Julia Surtshin could be the best option for you.

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