What Parents Say About

The Academic Match

"Paula has been the best college counselor anyone can ask for. She helped guide our son with decisions, essays, and applications. Her diligence, enlightenment on colleges, and perfectionist style in editing helped to position him so that he was able to get into his first-choice school."

- Gail G.

"College applications can be a daunting task. Paula Friedman has been an invaluable resource in making the process less intimidating. In editing my daughter's essays, Paula was at her best. She was careful to ensure that my daughter's voice continued to come through and she was mindful not to change words where it would be apparent that an adult had taken part in the writing. Most importantly, Paula was a pleasure to deal with and extremely timely in her responses."

- Sherrie F.

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College Student
College Student

"Dear Paula,

We cannot thank you both enough for all of your knowledge and guidance this past year. Under your thorough and patient oversight, Audrey learned much about the college application process including the many frustrations of college essay writing and rewriting! Not only are you both extremely knowledgeable and professional, but the sincere devotion to your students is rare and truly appreciated. Thank you again for helping to Audrey get into her dream school!"

- Jane and Chris S.

"Paula, thanks so much for all your help. You have made a significant difference in our lives."

- Helen P.

"We hired Paula Friedman to help edit our daughter's college essays and scholarship applications. She didn't change our daughter's thoughts or ideas - she just made her language a lot more clear and effective. Paula is an awesome editor and counselor, with a wealth of information. I highly recommend Paula and didn't hesitate to hire her for my other two children!"

- Diana T.

"Our family has worked with both Paula and Jodi, and their guidance was invaluable in our sons’ college application process. They have uniquely different styles of collaboration, each a perfect fit for our uniquely different sons. Paula and Jodi took the time to get to know our boys as individuals, adeptly guiding them towards schools that would fulfill them not only as students, but as whole beings. Paula and Jodi are extremely knowledgeable, managing to streamline the daunting application process. They provide their students with a system of organization, keep them on track, and encourage them to be detail oriented in representing themselves. These are tools that will serve them throughout their lives. They are thoughtful and encouraging, and genuinely care. I am forever grateful to them both, for helping us navigate this stressful aspect of our parenting journey!"

- Laurie F.

College Student

“We confidently and enthusiastically recommend Paula to any family who is seeking help with the college application process. She has exceeded our expectations, while working with our twins for several months. Paula’s knowledge and experience are very strong, but we would highlight other attributes that make her a tremendous partner. Paula truly gets to know each student as an individual; our twins are working with her in very different ways. She has great ideas and is confidently decisive. While helping students plan realistically, Paula is extremely positive and empowers students to feel good about themselves and their plans. Paula is an excellent and tactful communicator. She is exceedingly prompt and responsive, so that everything gets done quickly. Lastly, we believe that Paula offers high value for our investment, being very generous with her time and because her expertise is broad. Our girls feel so in control and confident about the college application process having worked with Paula.”

- Ellen M.

Jodi was the gift that keeps on giving! She understands the process, was very upfront and honest and set my daughter up for success the minute she walked in her front door. I am happy to say my daughter has received acceptances to each and every college she applied to. Jodi is no longer the college advisor, she is part of our family!  

- Andrea R.



Jodi worked with both our son and daughter, each with very different paths. With our older son, we had no idea where to start, but from our first meeting with Jodi we both felt such relief. She was quickly able to alleviate our anxiety about the process by breaking it down into manageable steps. We all understand that there are reaches and there are safety schools, but it’s not easy explaining that to your own child. Through natural conversations with our children, she was able to pull out topics for essays that we would never have considered. Our children were just as excited to tell Jodi when they received acceptances as they were to tell us.

- Debbie C.



The college admission process was not scary or stressful once we started working with Jodi Sears. She provides great communication and support to the parents, but most importantly she figures out who your student is and the best way to bring out their strengths.  She is very knowledgeable and has the right balance of being kind but also persistent to keep the student moving along the application process.  She really understands teenagers and takes great joy in finding the right college fit. I recommend her highly.

- Ann C.



As parents who had never gone through the college application process, my husband and I were quite overwhelmed. We have a high achieving child and the idea of navigating this process and potentially missing crucial details and insights terrified us. Jodi relieved us of the responsibility of "nagging" him to meet deadlines allowing all of us to more thoroughly enjoy this precious time in our lives. Best of all, her guidance helped our son discover the truth within himself to create some really amazing essays.  

- Vanessa R.



"Some of our preconceived ideas about the process were misguided, having listened to other parents who really only knew their own experience. Jodi was able to paint a very clear picture of our daughter's prospects and she was able to apply to colleges feeling confident in her choices. We had the added challenge of trying to obtain a spot on an NCAA team. Jodi helped us secure amazing scholarship funds for our daughter, and we had a few schools that ended up offering almost 100% tuition and housing coverage through grants and scholarships. From getting the essay out of her head and on to the application to scaling down 4,000 college choices to a handful of well-chosen options, Jodi guided our daughter easily through the process and I can't imagine going through this process without her."

- Elizabeth C.

What Students Say About

The Academic Match

After using a few different college advisors, I was delighted that my family chose Paula Friedman for the final choice. With her beaming personality and compassion for each of her clients, Paula is the perfect go-to person during this stressful time. I found her extremely accommodating to my schedule, which mitigated the pressure of finding time to go over my essays. She also helped discuss my final college application decisions and made me think about where I applied with a more open mind. She completely alleviated my anxiety during this process and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great college advisor!"

- Shayna T., USC

"Paula, thank you so much for all your help and support during the college application process. Your help was invaluable!"

- Joel G., UCLA

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College Student
College Student

"Paula, I want to thank you for helping me with my essays and let you know that I was accepted to my dream school! Thank you so much for everything. I really can't say it enough."

- Ali L., Emerson College

"Paula, you're like the MasterCard commercial — priceless!"

- Danielle F., University of Richmond

"Paula, thank you so much for helping me grasp what is necessary for me to convey in my essay. I immensely appreciate your help and telling me to rework my essay, even when I thought I was right. I don't know where I'd be in this process without you and I cannot thank you enough."

- Zach G., University of Maryland

"Paula, thank you so much for all your help through the college admissions process. I would have been so lost without your help."

- Brigitte P., University of Colorado-Boulder

“Applying to anything is stressful; let alone college or graduate school. Paula has been a tremendous help for me throughout my applications and truly helps ease this process for her students. I have been fortunate enough to work with her on two separate occasions: applying to college and now applying to law school. Undoubtedly, she is the most thorough person I have ever worked with. Not only did she aid me in my application process, but she also left a lasting impression I will surely utilize in future applications. Paula works 24/7 and always responded promptly. Never have I seen someone respond to emails so quickly, yet have a substantial number of effective suggestions. She is like a hawk with her attention to detail and always provides constructive feedback. Whether it is the application form, addenda, personal statements, or who to choose for your letter of recommendations, Paula is more than capable of helping you reach your goals. With her past experience and expertise, I highly recommend Paula to anyone seeking university or graduate school admissions. She has helped me tremendously and I know she will do the same for you. Feel free to contact me if you’re serious about working with an advisor who makes a difference.”

– Andy T. UC Berkeley’16/USC Law School

“Paula Friedman is an amazing college counselor because she is always on top of everything no matter what is going on in her own life, brings creative ideas to the table, and genuinely cares about the students she works with. Paula is excellent at working with twins because she does not interchange anything between us, and treats us as individuals. I am grateful for Paula's help and I do not know how I would have survived this stressful college process without her!”

- Camryn M., Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

College Student
College Student

“The entire college application process is difficult, and I could not imagine working with anybody better than Paula. Paula is kind, caring, and extremely hardworking. She was always available to assist me along the way during my college application process, and stopped at nothing to make sure that my essays and applications were perfect! Paula is the ideal college counselor, for she not only worked extremely hard during the entire process, but she made sure to get to know me to ensure that my essays were that much better and represented me. I am forever grateful for her help!”

– Natalie M., Cornell University

“Hey Paula. I just wanted to share this college acceptance letter with you. I’m really excited and I can’t thank you enough for all your help!”

- Josh A., University of Arizona

“Paula, Thank you SO much for all the help. It really wouldn’t be possible without the help you gave me. You will be the first person I notify when I get an answer!”

- Raffi A., USC Transfer Student

“Hi Paula! Just wanted to let you know I got into UC-Davis! So excited for school and I wanted to thank you for all your help. Couldn’t have done it without you!”

- Morgan G., UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

"I was lucky enough to work with Paula for undergraduate applications as well as grad school applications. Both times I worked with Paula, I was admitted to a majority of the schools I applied to. Paula is extremely professional, organized, and encouraging. Paula is very on top of her work and always puts her students first. She is extremely thoughtful and takes the time to get to know you and your story, so you can have the best essays possible. She also knows how to keep you on track and motivated during a very difficult and stressful time. Paula is the best!"

- Talia T., USC Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

College Student

"Paula is Super Woman! Law school applications have been overwhelming for me, but with Paula’s help, the task has seemed achievable. Paula is an excellent counselor, mentor, and editor—she is truly skilled in her field. Paula helped me break down both my personal statement and my diversity statement for law school. Not only is she an expert at college applications, but she also consults with an incredible team of colleagues, including her business partner Jodi, to ensure I created the best possible versions of my essays. Paula is meticulous, thorough, and has been a true advocate for me. She helped me create strong application essays, while keeping my voice and personality alive in my essays. I would highly recommend Paula and The Academic Match to anyone applying to college or graduate school. I believe my applications are exponentially stronger thanks to her guidance, mentorship, and support!"
- Laura P., UCLA Law School


"Paula was such a pleasure to work with. She provides constructive feedback with the utmost attention to detail as she works with each client. She helped me craft a beautiful resume that accurately reflected my professional life and provided me with valuable interview tips. Without Paula’s help, I was not receiving many responses to my job applications. After working with her, two-thirds of the jobs I applied for called me for an interview. Paula’s help was instrumental in my job search process. I truly believe her expertise and guidance helped me land my first job out of college, 3 months before graduation. I highly recommend Paula and The Academic Match for all of your college and career guidance needs!"
- Marissa L., ASU

"Working with Paula took so much of the stress out of college applications. She helped me not only to craft a strong application, but to manage the whole process of applying to college. She thoroughly reviewed my essays and was always available when I needed help, no matter the time of day or how many essays I was working on. Throughout all this, she was kind and supportive. Her vast knowledge of colleges was very helpful, and I would definitely recommend working with Paula."
- Lindsay F., Stanford University

"I got the Regents and Chancellor's Scholarship from UC-Berkeley and could not have ended up in a better position. Thank you for all your guidance!"
- Matthew W., UC-Berkeley Regents and Chancellor's Scholarship Recipient

"I am so grateful for all the help that I received from Jodi. Not only did she help me with my applications, but she also helped me stay confident and calm during the stressful application process. I wouldn’t have been able to get into USC, UCLA, LMU, UCI, UCSB, and Pepperdine without the help of Jodi!"
- Raffi A., community college transfer student

"The college application process was a gnarly beast which I could not have battled without Jodi by my side. She guided me through what seemed like such a daunting, never-ending process and helped me turn it into a series of successful (and totally manageable) endeavors. From narrowing the list to editing my Common App, I am forever thankful for Jodi’s help and I’m thrilled to be attending my dream school in the fall."
- Jesse F., Emerson College

"I had the best possible college application experience with Jodi. She consistently kept me on track and updated me with admission information, essay ideas, and college feedback. She responded to my texts, emails, and essays immediately, while treating each of her students as a top priority. She was also very realistic with me, but constantly encourages me to consider new colleges and open my options for success. I do not know how I could have gotten through the application process without her. Jodi is thoughtful and intellectual and I am indescribably appreciative!"
- Melanie L., University of Southern California

"Jodi's expansive knowledge of colleges all over the country brought to light so many options and programs that I never would have thought to consider. When it came to editing essays, she was meticulous—she caught everything, from the most insignificant typos to the most fundamental parts of my essays, while still allowing me to retain my individual voice. I am so grateful for her thoughtful guidance."
- Kian R., UCLA

"With her sincere dedication and valuable wisdom, Jodi has made the daunting and seemingly insurmountable task of applying to college an absolute breeze.  Jodi’s personal touch and commitment add so much to the overall experience and instill a genuine sense of confidence in what can often be an anxious period of time.  On top of this, her utter knowledge and insight were beyond helpful in almost every aspect of the college application journey.  Anybody working with Jodi will find that her accessibility and deep understanding are the foundations of her practice and are what make her students so grateful and successful moving forward!"
- Nick M., UC Davis

"I am very appreciative that I was lucky enough to have Jodi helping me with my essays. She is excellent at editing essays and making suggestions in a way that makes the essay concise and full of depth without sacrificing the essence of your writing and story. Jodi provides constructive advice and helps you complete your applications in a timely manner. Not only is she helpful, but she is caring and a pleasure to be around."
- Amanda R., UC Berkeley, Cal Alumni Leadership Scholarship recipient

"The most overwhelming part of this process was choosing to which colleges to apply. Jodi Sears made this much more manageable. Before, I had no idea which schools would fit my wants and needs. Now I know I am going to be at a great school with a great program for me."
- Cassidy W., University of Southern California and Leadership scholarship recipient

"Jodi Sears helped me so much during the college process. The essay she helped me to write brought tears to my mother's eyes when she read it. She helped me to achieve my goals and receive a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am so very thankful for all she has done to help me make this process as smooth as possible."
- Alina B., Posse Scholar (University of WI-Madison)

"Jodi is an angel! The college process can be overwhelming, especially when you are the oldest child and it is a new process for everyone in the family. But with the guidance, support, and dedication that Jodi brings, along with her insight, experience, and deep understanding, the seemingly overwhelming college process became a pleasant and exciting one! I could always count on Jodi for her wealth of knowledge on every aspect of applications and colleges, and furthermore for the sense of comfort she provided. Above all, Jodi is always personal and thoughtful, and for that important touch, I will always be so grateful."
- Jacqueline M., UC Berkeley

"Jodi Sears is the reason my college search has been a success. She introduced me to every school I applied to, and guided me through the college application process. Because of her dedication and care to truly understand me as a student and what my strengths are, I have already been accepted to six dream schools that I can easily see myself attending next year. Jodi Sears not only helped me elevate my writing so that it will stand out to various colleges, but she has helped me learn how to highlight my strengths and showcase my achievements in my applications. Before Jodi started working with me, I had no idea where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to study, and how I could fill out a college application. Now I have an answer to all three of those questions."
- Shelby B., SF State BECA Program

"The application process can be terrifying, but with Jodi's help I was able to maintain all my applications in a timely matter. She helped me become educated about the colleges I was looking at, the courses I would be taking, and the majors I would be joining. With her help, I was able to call my dream schools a new reality."
- Isabelle O., Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

"Jodi was amazing! She would always respond to texts or emails very promptly and made sure I was communicating with colleges properly. She made it her goal to get to know me really well, so she could always give me ideas with my essays.  Jodi was genuinely really happy whenever I was admitted to a university, and with her help I was able to get into my top choice!"

- Kayvon S., UCLA