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Meet The Academic Match Team

Paula Friedman new headshot.jpeg

Paula Friedman

Founder & President

Paula Friedman founded The Academic Match in 2011 and serves as the practice's managing director and principal college and career advisor. She is the co-creator of BIG Essay Ideas Cards, a unique tool that provides inspiration for thoughtful personal statements and essays for college, graduate school, internships and scholarships.

Paula earned her UCLA Extension College Counseling Certificate With Distinction, attended the IECA Summer Training Institute, and interned in the Newbury Park High School College & Career Center. Paula was the official Substitute College & Career Guidance Specialist at Newbury Park High School in 2017-2018 & at Thousand Oaks High School in 2018-2019. She served as the College & Career Center Technician at Oak Park High School from 2019-2021.


Paula enjoys conducting college essay and application workshops and has been a guest speaker at Conejo Valley Unified School District College Information Nights and at College Knowledge Nights at Synergy Academics in West Hills.

Paula is an active member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC), Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA), and CWICC (Consortium of Women in College Counseling).

Paula is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Duke University, where she double-majored in Psychology and French. While at Duke, Paula worked in the Duke University Admissions Office for all four years, reviewing student applications and portfolios. She received her MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross Graduate School of Business, where she concentrated in Marketing and worked in the Career Placement Office for two years. Paula was a Duke Alumni Admissions Interviewer for over 20 years and conducts mock interviews with her students.

Prior to becoming a college and career advisor in 2011, Paula’s professional experience was focused on marketing research and consumer insights. She worked on numerous internationally recognized brands for a wide range of consumer product companies, including Gatorade at The Quaker Oats Company (PepsiCo), Capri Sun, Crystal Light, and Kool-Aid at Kraft, Nesquik at Nestle, as well as most products in the portfolios for Newman’s Own and for Dole Foods.

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