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

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.

Beth Kraemer

Independent college consultant

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.

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. 


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