Our Philosophy

At NorthStar Advisors, we believe in creating opportunities by supporting, engaging and empowering students and their families in the college search.

Because success does not just happen, we encourage students to begin early. With our support and guidance this allows our students time to plan ahead, develop interests, and engage in self-reflection.

The college application process begins long before students sit down to complete their applications. As private consultants, NorthStar Advisors is dedicated to helping students fully engage in their education. We will consider students' curricular and extracurricular choices as a part of our work together, empowering students to realize their potential and make informed decisions in the years leading up to and throughout the college admission process. Every step of the way, NorthStar Advisors stands beside our students, providing expert guidance and encouragement.

As independent educational consultants, in addition to our work with families, NorthStar Advisors has assisted new and emerging schools in building robust college counseling programs.

About Jacqueline Pravda, Founder

Recognizing that every child is unique, Jacqueline provides a highly personalized service by forging a partnership with students and their families. Working together to identify and reach students' higher education goals, Jacqueline advises a wide range of students, finding college choices that match their interests and abilities. As Jacqueline explains, "I work to place students in schools they are excited to call home. The crux of our work centers on self-exploration: Understand yourself and you will find success."

Prior to her work as an Independent Consultant, Jacqueline served as a Director of College Counseling, Dean of Students, and School Counselor at top schools in the Los Angeles and New York City metro areas. She also worked in the admissions office at Barnard College and presently serves as a reader, evaluating applications for the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Recognized for service to the profession on the local, state and national levels, Jacqueline was elected by high school and college admission counselors to the governing body of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and as a member of the Executive Boards of the New York State Association of College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) and Westchester, Rockland, Putnam Counseling Association (WRPCA).

Committed to professional development, Jacqueline has led presentations at national and regional conferences sponsored by The College Board, New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) and Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC). Jacqueline was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence in School Guidance Counseling by the California Student Aid Commission.

Continuing to enhance her expertise, Jacqueline regularly tours colleges and universities, nationwide and abroad, and attends professional conferences.

Complementing her vast knowledge of the college admissions process, Jacqueline holds two Masters' degrees in Counseling Psychology, making her a perfect choice to support the complex needs of families throughout high school.

Professional Experience

Director of College Counseling, New Roads High School
Director of College Counseling, Solomon Schechter High School
Dean of Students, Scarsdale High School
School Counselor, Great Neck South High School
School Counselor, Hastings-on-Hudson High School
Admissions Staff, Barnard College

MUSE LA, Consultant
New Visions Collaborative/East Bronx Academy, Consultant
Global Learning Collaborative, Consultant

Volunteer, College Counselor for Underserved Students

Credentials, Training & Education

Harvard University Institute on College Admissions
Columbia University, EdM, MA - Counseling Psychology
Brandeis University, BA - American Studies

NY State Certified School Counselor, K-12

Awarded the Certificate of Excellence in School Guidance Counseling, California Student Aid Commission


Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC)

Presenter/Session Facilitator

Academic Achievers (2016)
Western Association of College Admission Counseling (2016)
Destination Equity: The College Board (2014)

Jacqueline Pravda, Founder, NorthStar Advisors

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Workshop Co-Facilitator

Shauna Greene, M.A.