The Ivey Consulting Team
As the former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, Anna Ivey decided the fates of thousands of applicants. She saw over and over again what people had done right... and where they had gone off course. Inspired to help applicants navigate the application process better, she founded Ivey Consulting and assembled a first-rate team of experts to coach college and graduate school applicants one-on-one.
We take a holistic approach, because we can't give meaningful advice without understanding where you've been, where you're headed, and how you can best get from here to there. We dig in to discover what your stand-out talents are, and also what your weaknesses are, so that we can help you maximize your potential in your education and beyond. We're never satisfied just to help you get into the school of your choice; we want to make sure you have set yourself up for success once you get there.
The Ivey Consulting Team
- Anna Ivey (founder)
- Rose Aluotto (law school client relations)
- Jill Brewer (college)
- Alison Cooper Chisolm (head of college admissions)
- Ann Christoffersen (college)
- Benjamin Esparza (college)
- Gregory Henning (law school)
- David Jewett (college)
- Shannon Kennedy (college)
- Charanya Krishnaswami (law school)
- Janeille Zorina Matthews (law school, masters)
- Joyce Vining Morgan (college)
- Shawn Rae Passalacqua (college)
- Jennifer Sacon (college)
- Ada Sheng (law school)
- Jenny Weil (college)
- Andrea Werly (college)
As the former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, Anna Ivey decided the fates of thousands of applicants. She saw over and over again what people had done right... and where they had gone off course. Inspired to help applicants navigate the application process and make smart choices in the run-up to college and graduate school, she founded Ivey Consulting and assembled a world-class team of experts to coach college and graduate school applicants one-on-one.
Born and raised in Germany, Anna attended the Lessing Gymnasium in Frankfurt, before moving to the United States and finishing secondary school at Boston Latin School and Phillips Academy Andover. She went on to earn her B.A. in History from Columbia University in New York, spent her Junior year at Cambridge University in the U.K., and earned her law degree at the University of Chicago. While at Cambridge, she won the Newnham Prize for exceptional undergraduate work in History. In law school, she served on the editorial board of The University of Chicago Law Review, worked as a research assistant to Larry Lessig with a focus on constitutional and cyberspace law, and took several classes at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Natively bilingual in German and English, her language studies have also included French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Aramaic, and Mandarin Chinese.
Upon graduating from law school, she joined the Corporate Group at the Los Angeles law firm Irell & Manella, working on deals for Disney, AOL Time Warner, Williams-Sonoma, Hewlett-Packard, CSFB, and Mattel in mergers and acquisitions, securities law, and public and private financings. She later joined the Entertainment Finance Group at Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, also in Los Angeles, where she worked on the financing of small independent movies and major motion pictures before returning to the University of Chicago in her admissions role.
Anna has been featured as an expert on CNN and Fox News Channel, and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, and Smart Money. She is the author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, as well as How to Prepare a Standout College Application with colleague Alison Chisolm.
Outside of Ivey Consulting, Anna is the former president of AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate School Admissions Consultants, which was founded to define and promote ethics in graduate admissions consulting (view AIGAC's principles of good practice here). She is also on the leadership team of the all-volunteer Service to School, which offers free (pay-it-forward) application advice to veterans who are transitioning to college and graduate school.
Rose is our client relations associate. She is often the first point of contact for prospective clients, connects them with the appropriate educational consultants, and makes sure clients are well taken care of. Rose has bachelor's and master's degrees in diplomacy and international relations from Seton Hall University and has worked for the U.S. State Department in Rome as well as the United Nations.
Jill grew up outside of Boston and attended Milton Academy for thirteen years. She graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College where she was a member of the varsity field hockey team.
After teaching high school for a few years in Northwest Montana, Jill received her Master’s in Psychology and Counseling from Goddard College. Jill worked as a counselor in the Littleton, New Hampshire, school system before moving with her family to California to work at Deep Springs College, a school that the New York Times has called one of the most innovative and selective colleges in the world. A two-year program, its students typically transfer to the Ivy League and other elite four-year colleges. At Deep Springs College Jill served on the Applications Committee, allowing her to gain intimate knowledge of the college’s multi-stage and highly competitive admissions process, including what makes an applicant stand out among others when hundreds are vying for only 13 spots per year. While at Deep Springs Jill also assisted students in transferring from Deep Springs to four-year colleges to complete their bachelor's degrees. (You can learn more about Deep Springs in this profile in the Guardian.)
Jill works with college applicants.
Alison Cooper Chisolm heads our college admissions counseling practice. She has been an admissions insider at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with experience ranging from front-line admissions reader to dean of admissions. She started at Southern Methodist University, then went to the University of Chicago, and most recently, she was at Dartmouth College.
Alison has determined the fate of thousands of hopeful applicants and she knows what it takes to get in. She knows what makes a student go from a "like many others" applicant to a "clear stand out" applicant. She's seen and evaluated every kind of applicant from home schooler to top of the class prep schooler. She knows how students with disabilities are handled. She knows what "flags" move students into the center of attention. She knows what will make an applicant a "fast track deny." She even knows why and how an applicant with a criminal record might gain admission because she's read their files, interviewed them, and helped make admissions decisions on their applications.
There is probably no story that she and our colleage admissions team haven't encountered, and they can help you - no matter what your circumstance - present yourself in the most convincing way possible. She can also help you find the schools that are right for you - where you have the best chance of admission, where you'll prosper, where you will put yourself on the road to a bright future. Working with one of our college admissions counselors early in your high school career can help you get the most of that experience while at the same time shaping your experience to put you in the best possible position when it comes time to apply.
Alison attended Heritage Hall (in Oklahoma) for high school, where she was a nationally ranked extemporaneous speaker and debater. She earned her B.A. at Yale University, and then earned her law degree at the University of Virginia. After only a short, but intense, time practicing law as a commercial litigator (and being named as a finalist for the Outstanding Young Lawyer in Texas award after only 3 years of law practice), Alison determined that her true vocational passion was counseling, and so she shifted career tracks and became an admissions and career services professional at universities and now in private practice.
Alison is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and has served on their Ethics Committee. She heads our college admissions coaching practice and is co-author, with colleague Anna Ivey, of the book How to Prepare a Standout College Application.
Ann comes to the field of coaching college applicants after a variety of careers. She holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from Clarkson University and a MS degree in Instructional and Performance Technology from Boise State University. She has developed and delivered written and oral communication skills courses in both the United States and Canada. In addition, she worked for Booz Allen Hamilton as a Certified Human Performance Analyst. She has also an been an instructor for South Western Oregon Community College and the University of Southern Alabama teaching business writing and editing. Since then, she has pursued her more recent passion, coaching those with ADHD and EFD.
Ann is retired from the US Army, with over 20 years combined service from Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve components. In the military, she was a qualified aviator (helicopters) and classroom instructor, and completed Airborne and Air Assault schools.
The thread that ties all of her various roles together is her lifelong dedication to helping others perform to the best of their abilities, no matter the goal. As part of the Ivey team, she works with college applicants.
The most important thing Ben will teach you is how to think like a college admissions officer and understand the kinds of things that make one’s application stand out from hundreds of others.
Prior to joining the Ivey team, Ben worked as an admissions officer at the University of Chicago, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Tufts University. Ben’s experience in admissions included working with students and school counselors from Boston Public Schools, the American Southwest, New Jersey, and Latin America. His experiences in admissions at the University of Chicago and Tufts provided great insight into schools that ask students more “unconventional” essay questions and take a more “holistic” approach to the admissions process. Ben’s experience and background can help students better understand the context in which their applications will be read and help them better prepare and emphasize the aspects about themselves that are unique.
Ben graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago and speaks fluent Spanish. He works with college applicants.
A native Bostonian, Greg attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols for high school and later graduated from Harvard College, cum laude, with a degree in Government. He next attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review and won the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Trial Advocacy Award. After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge R. Lanier Anderson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and then became an Assistant District Attorney in Boston, where he was a member of the Major Felony Bureau and served as the Chief of the Gun Prosecution Task Force. Greg has also taught writing and constitutional law at a charter school and continues to volunteer for educational non-profits.
As Anna's first hire (10+ years and counting), Greg has been a foundational part of the Ivey Consulting team. He works with law school applicants.
David's passion for college admissions and counseling comes from his belief that all students deserve opportunity and options. From his role as Assistant Director of Admissions at Tufts University he has a deep familiarity with the admissions process from a college's perspective, and also has experience working directly with students from his time as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. He has an understanding of how diverse backgrounds, talents, and interests all have a place in selective colleges, and encourages applicants to find their voice as they tell their story, no matter what it is.
David knows that the best applicants and happiest students are those who discover new things about themselves through their college applications and he works with students in this process of self-reflection. He is also well-versed in the emotions and preconceptions that go into the college search and application processes and works to make the process transparent and joyous for all involved.
David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard College and a Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. He works with college applicants.
Shannon Kennedy joined the Ivey team after more than ten years of working at universities, including seven years in undergraduate admissions at Northwestern University where she read and evaluated more than ten thousand applications. She also spent time at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Shannon’s approach to coaching grows out of her commitment to helping students chart their own plans for success. She is particularly good at asking questions that help college-bound students identify their interests and ambitions and then translate those into a set of goals with a supporting plan of action.
Raised in rural western Pennsylvania (Go Steelers!), Shannon now lives as a city-dweller in Chicago with her high school sweetheart/architect husband and two elementary-school-aged daughters. Their life resembles an HGTV reality show as they always have a home improvement project underway. Enjoying festivals, parks, and museums in Chicago is how they unwind when they need a break from the renovations.
Shannon has a B.S. from Penn State University and an M.S. from Northwestern University. She works with college applicants.
Charanya is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she participated in multiple immigration and human rights clinics, served on the board of Yale Law Women, and edited the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law. She also engaged her longtime passion for working with students as a Coker Fellow (providing legal research and writing instruction to first-year law students) and as a teaching fellow in the Yale Department of Political Science. After graduating, she served as a federal appellate law clerk and won multiple fellowships funding innovative projects to advocate on behalf of vulnerable immigrant populations.
Charanya earned her undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) at Southern Methodist University, where she majored in Finance, Political Science, and French. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing, and (thinking about) running, and her work has appeared in Slate and the Washington Post.
Charanya works with JD applicants.
Janeille is a New York qualified attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School and Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Currently, she is completing her PhD in Criminal Justice Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she is the recipient of a Post-Graduate Research Scholarship. Janeille has had a varied career, which includes time spent as an associate in the London office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, a legal intern at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an international strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Janeille received her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Villanova University where she graduated magna cum laude and competed on the varsity Track & Field team. Throughout her academic career she has taken opportunities to study abroad in locales as disparate as Cuba, Ghana and Barbados and was selected to take part in the inaugural class of Harvard Law School's study abroad program. Janeille has traveled to all seven continents and 62 countries and enjoys dividing her time between the Caribbean, New York, and London.
Janeille works with JD applicants as well as masters degree applicants (LLM, MPP, MPA).
Joyce comes to independent college admissions consulting after a distinguished career as a college counselor and teacher. She knows students, colleges, and the world of college admissions inside out. She spent the last 15 years as a college counselor at two top boarding schools in the U.S. — The Putney School and The White Mountain School. Not only has she worked with hundreds of students in her career, she has also visited over 400 colleges and universities, mostly in the United States but also in Canada, Britain, and Australia, as well as English language universities in various non-English speaking countries. She has complemented her school experience with service on national committees dealing with high profile issues related to college admissions. Most recently, she was a member of the Ad-hoc Committee on Standardized Testing (National Association for College Admission Counseling) from 2006 to 2008.
After earning her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, Joyce taught at both the college and secondary school levels and has been on faculty at Vassar College, the University of New Hampshire, the Governor’s Academy (MA), Phillips Exeter Academy, and Exeter Junior and Senior High Schools. Known for her innovative and ground-breaking work establishing programs in Russian with the Exeter Junior and Senior High Schools, she was New Hampshire Teacher of the Year in 1994 and subsequently participated in President Clinton’s Goals 2020 education conferences. She has led student exchange trips to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and France, and has traveled broadly in Europe and Asia.
Joyce is a member of the Independent Educational Consultant Association and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. She is also an associate member of the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling and a Certified Educational Planner. Joyce is a co-author of the 3rd Edition of Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know about Getting into College.
Joyce works with college applicants.
Shawn Rae is a seasoned admissions professional with more than twelve years of experience. Prior to joining the Ivey team, Shawn Rae served as an admissions officer at Middlebury College (his alma mater), Naropa University, and the American University of Paris, and also as a high school college counselor at the Chadwick School in California and at the KIPP Denver Collegiate High School in Colorado.
Shawn Rae grew up in Southern California, where he completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at a large public high school. With the encouragement of some excellent college coaches, Shawn Rae found his way to Middlebury College, where he majored in French and graduated cum laude. He went on to complete three years of graduate studies in Paris, receiving his Masters degree in Francophone Literature and Civilization from Middlebury via the Université de Paris X-Nanterre.
Shawn Rae now makes his home in the mountains of Colorado and in his free time, Shawn Rae practices yoga, explores hiking trails, volunteers for human rights causes, abstractly photographs friends and strangers, and collects music to add to his ever-expanding collection.
As a coach, his particular gifts are encouraging students to be the best and most authentic representation of themselves and helping students identify the particular qualities that distinguish them from others.
Shawn Rae works with college applicants.
Jen Sacon became an independent college counselor after a professional path that included practicing law, working in admissions and student services at the University of Chicago, editing college textbooks, and being a mom to three children. Jen is also an active volunteer, serving as an Executive Board member for the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, a member of the school council for the local public elementary school, and a board member for a private pre-K-5 academy. The constant in Jen’s professional and volunteer experiences is her passion for helping students and families navigate life’s big events.
Jen is a natural when it comes to facilitating the college admissions process for students and families. Thanks to her warm personality, insider knowledge, and one-on-one counseling experience, she works well with every kind of student, from superstars to those who have struggled along the way, and from the kid next door to the kid halfway around the world. The students Jen has assisted say that her mentoring skills as a writer and editor helped them produce college applications that they are proud of and that get them in! The parents she works with also rave about the caring and sound advice she gives them.
Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Brandeis University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a certificate in college counseling from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jen works with college applicants.
Ada is a former Assistant Director of Admissions at Harvard Law School. Prior to her admissions office experience, she clerked for the Hon. Morris E. Lasker, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and worked as an attorney in the Boston office of a large international law firm. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and she is licensed in both New York and Massachusetts. She has also worked as a cooperating attorney on human rights projects with the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic.
Ada has a Bachelor of Science from Yale University with honors in History and Biology. She joined the Peace Corps after college and spent two years in a rural mountain village in Nicaragua working on community health issues. During law school, she was a Senior Editor of the International Law Journal and spent her summers working with the National Prosecuting Authority in Pretoria, South Africa, as a law clerk in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and with two large international law firms in New York and London. Ada also worked as a pre-law advisor at Harvard College's Leverett House for five years, helping students with their law school applications.
Ada is an avid traveler (she speaks Spanish and Mandarin) and owns a large Bernese Mountain Dog that is often mistaken for a pony. She works with law school applicants.
Jenny is a seasoned insider in the world of higher education and college admissions. She’s been on the front lines as an admissions officer at Yale College and served in multiple roles from advisor to program director to lecturer at Southern Methodist University. Perhaps most significantly, she’s just accompanied her only child through the process of college admissions, which convinced her that every applicant and every parent would benefit from having an independent college consultant on the team!
Jenny’s coaching combines this insider knowledge with her formidable skills as a coach and advisor. She has an uncanny knack for posing the right questions and then listening thoughtfully and creatively to the answers. Through this process, Jenny can help any student identify his or her best-fit colleges and then determine the best strategy for getting into those colleges.
Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Yale College and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University. She works with college applicants.
A native Floridian, Andrea's passion for college counseling comes from a well-developed and sincere interest in connecting young people with great opportunities. After a career in digital advertising and branding for companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, and Groupon, Andrea has most recently worked as an Admissions Counselor and Assistant Director of Admission at Northwestern University. While in Northwestern Admissions, Andrea maintained relationships with prospective students and high school counselors, while also managing a team of undergraduate and graduate student admissions colleagues. Additionally, Andrea is connected to scholarship at Northwestern by serving as a Research Coach to graduate students in the School of Education and Social Policy.
Andrea unites her business acumen with her understanding of highly selective college admissions to guide students through a process of self-discovery and personal branding that will help a candidate stand out in a competitive applicant pool. Andrea was also a first-generation college student and understands that patience and understanding are key for facilitating the college application journey for all kinds of students and their families.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from Harvard College and a Master of Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern University. She works with college applicants.