The In Team

While each student has one main point of contact in our office, our team works together as many college admissions offices do. We regularly discuss issues pertaining to our clients and provide feedback on students’ essays, regardless of their designated consultant. Our collaborative approach provides our students with the benefit of multiple perspectives and our collective years of experience.

Our Team

Beth Kraemer

Lead consultant and co-founder

Beth Kraemer has helped hundreds of students in the Chicago area and throughout the United States successfully navigate the college application process. Her college consulting practice organically expanded from ACT/SAT and academic writing tutoring to essay coaching to full-process college consulting. The joy of helping students achieve desired outcomes inspired Beth to fully dedicate her professional career to college consulting after spending more than a decade practicing law and teaching legal writing and appellate advocacy courses in Chicago.

Beth works individually with students to manage all aspects of the college admissions process efficiently and effectively. One of Beth’s goals is to empower students to develop confidence and independence as they prepare for the next stage of their lives. Beth strives to create a personal connection with each of her students in order to make the college application process both productive and enjoyable. She relishes seeing her students’ excitement when they successfully articulate their ideas in their writing and throughout their applications. To better advise her students, Beth regularly visits colleges and universities throughout the United States and leverages her professional network in order to stay apprised of the latest developments in college admissions.

In her work as a college consultant, Beth draws upon her educational background in a variety of fields. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in psychology from Northwestern University as well as a Master’s Degree in Labor and Human Resources from The Ohio State University. She later earned a Juris Doctorate degree from UCLA School of Law. While living in Los Angeles and attending law school, Beth served as an alumni interviewer for Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Michelle Chan

Independent college consultant

Michelle graduated from Pomona College (Claremont, CA) with her B.A. in Psychology. She worked in Pomona College’s Admissions Office all four years of her college career as a student ambassador, and later was hired as a full-time Admissions Interviewer, during which she interviewed applicants one-on-one and contributed evaluative reports to official applicant files. She also witnessed intimate decision-making committee meetings and thus offers exclusive, behind-the-scenes knowledge of college admissions. 

Michelle has enjoyed working with high school seniors as a College Admissions Consultant and Writing Coach for the past 8 years. She is passionate about guiding students and families through this momentous life transition with her warm, enthusiastic personality and finds particular strength in her ability to easily develop rapport with students. Moreover, her excellent creative writing and teaching skills help students develop compelling narratives that best highlight their strengths, accomplishments, and ambitions.

Michelle is also a professional photographer and enjoys capturing people’s most treasured events, travels, and life moments through her camera. She spends most of her free time outdoors, whether that be at a sandy beach or in the mountains. Otherwise, you can find her cuddling with her dog, Koa, or playing volleyball at the park.

Rachel Dugoff

Independent college consultant

Rachel Dugoff brings years of experience as a marketing professional to in College Consulting. Prior to becoming a college consultant, Rachel specialized in brand-building and new product and marketing strategy development. Rachel spent over ten years working at Kraft Foods on brands including Oreo Cookies, Post Cereal and Maxwell House Coffee. Rachel leverages her marketing and strategy skills to help students identify and develop branding for themselves.

Rachel began transitioning into the admissions world eight years ago when she began meeting with prospective applicants as an alumni interviewer for the University of Pennsylvania. Helping her own children navigate the admissions process deepened Rachel’s interest in pivoting to a full-time career in college consulting. Through her journey with her children, Rachel acquired a breadth of knowledge about the ins and outs of writing personal and meaningful essays and identifying and applying to “right fit” schools.

Rachel enjoys helping students identify, pursue, and write about their inherent interests and endeavors. She is passionate about mentoring and counseling students throughout the complex college admissions process – including high school course selection, college identification, essay development, and application submission.

Rachel earned a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University. In her free time, Rachel volunteers with several non-profit organizations and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children (ages 20 and 22), playing tennis, and being outdoors when the weather permits.

Amy Howat

Independent college consultant

Amy Howat graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a concentration in print journalism and a minor in psychology. She worked for 22 years in the newspaper industry, including 15 years with Gannett Co., Inc., the nation’s largest newspaper group. Amy served in various reporting and editing roles before moving into marketing and advertising management. She received the President’s Ring award, which recognizes Gannett’s top executives, for market development.

In addition to her work with the in College Consulting team, Amy now provides a variety of freelance writing and editing services for individual and corporate clients. She became interested in college consulting while steering her oldest child through the admissions process. Amy enjoys using her writing background to help students express themselves in their essays as well as assisting them with selecting schools where they will thrive. Outside of work, Amy spends time with her two teen-aged children, rides horses and volunteers with an equine rescue group.

Jesse Oler

Independent college consultant

Jesse Oler is a 2021 graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he majored in Neuroscience and minored in Philosophy. After graduating from college, Jesse worked as a researcher studying neurological disorders at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He is now a medical student at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and he hopes to eventually pursue a residency in neurology.

Jesse has a passion for writing and editing, and he published many journal articles and abstracts during his time at Vanderbilt and the NIH. He aims to cultivate a strong understanding of each student’s unique strengths and enable them to express themselves effectively to admissions committees. Jesse has volunteered his time as an ACT tutor in the Waukegan/Zion (Illinois) area, and he has experience working with test-takers to elevate their scores on various sections.

As a recent college graduate and successful medical school applicant, Jesse brings a current perspective to the in team around what it takes to be admitted in today’s college admissions climate. He understands the contemporary strategies necessary to be successful, and he enjoys helping students navigate the process. He finds joy and meaning in working with applicants to maximize their potential and earn acceptances that evoke excitement for their future.

Heather Shulkin

Independent college consultant

Heather brings more than 15 years of experience coaching and advising high school students to the in College Consulting team. She graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, but after a year of working as a financial analyst, she decided to return to academia to round out her education. She earned a Masters in Humanities from the University of Chicago and completed her teaching certificate at DePaul University before becoming a high school Spanish teacher. Heather found the most rewarding part of teaching, though, was not the foreign language content, but rather the connections she formed with her students. She loved watching her students respond to her genuine interest in their achievement, so she left the classroom to start a private tutoring business. In this role, Heather drew upon the breadth of her educational background to support dozens of students on the North Shore of Chicago as they made their way through the rigorous curricula of area high schools. She tutored math, history, English, Spanish and science and coached students on organizational and test-taking strategies. Heather prides herself on her ability to establish a positive rapport and connect with her students. The close relationships Heather forms with her students enables her to help identify best fit colleges and removes the stress from the process.

Heather is a seasoned yoga practitioner and a dedicated home chef. She enjoys cooking heart-healthy food for her family in her spare time. Recently, Heather has started to investigate the art of living mindfully and hopes to bring these strategies to her personal and professional endeavors.

Ilyse Steiner

Independent college consultant

Ilyse Steiner is a writer from the Chicago area and has published articles and essays in the Chicago Tribune, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Boulder Weekly, Forward,,, and others. Her first published piece was an Op-Ed in The Chicago Sun-Times lamenting the difficulty in finding a job after graduating from The University of Wisconsin, Madison. She returned to freelance writing in 2015 after 25 years as a graphic designer and greeting card illustrator.

After helping her sons write their college essays, Ilyse found immense joy helping other students find their voices within the college essay narrative. Everyone has a story, and Ilyse is passionate about helping each client discover and perfect stories that enable the reader to understand the student applicant in a way that transcends test scores and GPA’s.

As an avid cyclist, Ilyse has biked up and down the Rocky Mountains and through the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy. Currently, she is living out her childhood dream of playing guitar and singing in a rock band called Secondhand Tunes. When she’s not rocking out or riding bikes, you can find her picking vegetables in her garden, running with her dogs or hanging out with her husband and two sons.

Ashley Strom

Independent college consultant

Ashley Strom is a freelance writer and PR professional with years of writing expertise and experience. Ashley attended UW-Madison and graduated with a degree in journalism, focusing on reporting and strategic communication. During her time as a Badger, Ashley worked at the student paper as the state political news editor, and later had her own popular comedy column.

After graduating from college, Ashley began blogging for Barnes and Noble’s, a website for high and college students, with an average of 13 million visitors per month. She specialized in creating comedic content for teenage girls focusing on crushes, friendship, beauty, entertainment, and more.

Ashley also brings a wealth of PR experience to the table. She worked for a decade in celebrity and influencer procurement, partnering brands with exclusive talent for major media events, TV commercials  and other PR activities. Her expertise in this space makes her a master communicator with top notch marketing skills, helping students represent and showcase their best selves.

Growing up and attending school at Regina Dominican in the Northshore was a formative time in Ashley’s life, full of wonderful memories. Ashley loves working with teenagers at that same juncture. During the admissions process, she likes to help students express their creativity, and share their passions and capabilities in their own unique voices. She enjoys helping students identify their numerous potential possibilities and succeed in moving to the next chapter in their lives.

Outside of work, Ashley is a voracious reader, and budding chef. She loves baking with her daughter and spending time with her family.

Khrista Harris

Operations coordinator

Khrista Harris earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Upon graduating, Khrista moved to Colorado Springs to work for the United States Olympic Committee. Her internship for the USOC turned into a full-time role in Sports Administration. In that capacity, she curated athlete media kits and newsletters, managed portions of the USOC’s website and social media accounts, and assisted with planning several U.S.-based tournaments.

Khrista returned to Chicago to pursue a career path with Groupon before the company went public. She has spent over eight years there working in various editorial roles, including fact checking, copywriting, and web content management. If you purchased a Groupon in the past, there is a chance Khrista authored the fine print, business bio, deal copy, or all three. She also contributed to the creation of some of the technology still present on Groupon’s website today. Her range of experience allowed her to move into a position on the Legal team as a Project Manager. Khrista takes a detail-oriented and analytical approach to problem solving and process management.

Outside of work, Khrista loves traveling, going out to eat, being outdoors, and spending time with friends – human or canine.

David King

Independent college consultant

David graduated with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where he majored in English and Psychology. He is an experienced college essay consultant and writer with a passion for helping students find their writing voices and successfully navigate the college application process.

David taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. His educational background enables him to connect with students from all academic disciplines and help them articulate their strengths and aspirations in their college essays.

Throughout his career, David has worked at various startups and tech companies, including Spotify. As a college consultant (his favorite job to date), he approaches his work with empathy and a sunny disposition. He excels at instilling confidence and guiding students to create their best and most authentic writing.

David is a former camp counselor and a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200), which informs his approach to mindfully managing the college admissions process. He encourages students to express their passions, sidestep stress, and embrace their individuality through writing. With his wealth of experience and creativity, David is dedicated to helping students find and communicate their unique stories and present their best selves to college admissions committees.

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