What do customers say about Julia?

"Prior to working with Julia, I was only considering a short list of top-tier universities. Julia helped me create a more realistic list of options, which made for a very successful admission process. I had several colleges to choose from rather than only one or two." — Josh G., student, University of Chicago

About Julia Surtshin

College Ahead Certified Educational Planner, Julia Surtshin, is here to help. Julia has extensive knowledge of universities, financial aid/scholarships and the timing of the college admission process. She is an experienced guide for college-bound students and their families. Read on for more info about Julia.

About Julia Surtshin, MS, College Search and Admissions Counselor

"Julia opened my daughter's mind to a greater variety of possibilities in colleges than she had previously explored. Without her help, she would not have been as successful at finding the right university." — Lisa C, parent

Reach your college goals with Julia at College Ahead educational planning

Julia regularly visits both public and private colleges nationwide and can help you navigate the college search and admissions process with optimism and confidence! Email today to connect with Julia about your college selection and admissions goals.

About Julia, in her own words:

"I completed my undergraduate education at Columbia University's Barnard College and received my Master's degree in Counseling and College Student Personnel Services from the University of Southern California. I am one of very few independent college counselors in Oregon recognized by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners.


"My entire professional career has been devoted to assisting students make the most of their college opportunities and experiences. I have thirty-five years of experience in counseling, teaching and university administration at both two- and four-year institutions. Prior to moving to Oregon, I spent five years as Assistant Director of Student Affairs at UCLA's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Why did you go into college counseling?

"I saw too many students and families overwhelmed by the pressure and uncertainties of the college search process, so in 1995, I founded Surtshin College Counseling, now College Ahead. High school students today face more pressure, more choices, and more uncertainty than in years past. With thousands of colleges to choose from, finding schools that "fit" can be daunting. A skilled professional college counselor can be especially beneficial. Students I've worked with have been admitted to a wide variety of schools, often with excellent financial aid packages.


"In addition to advising students and their families, I conduct workshops on educational planning, college search and admission, financial aid, effective decision-making, and using summers wisely. I provided college counseling services for the Lake Oswego School District's Scholars' Alliance program™ from 2007 through 2011.

What have you published about college preparation and selection?

"My newspaper column, College Corner, was published for twelve years (1995–2007), appearing in Oregon newspapers such as the Beaverton Valley Times, Canby Herald, Grants Pass Daily Courier, Lake Oswego Review, Tigard/Tualatin Times, West Linn Tidings, and the Wilsonville Spokesman. My freelance articles have appeared in The Oregonian, the Seattle Times, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review, as well as Under 25 and U-turn magazines.

How do you keep up with current developments in college admissions?

"Each year I visit college and university campuses and attend professional workshops and conferences. My professional affiliations include:

What do you do for fun around Portland, Oregon?

"When I’m not working with students, I enjoy bicycling, cooking, and traveling. I’m a huge fan of Portland’s restaurant and theater scenes."