Ms profile 2016 (1)

Mary Spiegel, Owner

Spiegel College Planning

Mary is a twenty-year professional in the college admissions field, providing students and parents with savvy and sensible college planning guidance.

Mary’s career began in arts management and development, with a local symphony and a regional arts festival, but very early in her career she was drawn toward the world of higher education.  She then worked in alumni and development for a number of years, and in 1996, was appointed Director of Admission at Fairfield University.  In that post, she gained invaluable “inside the college admission’s office” perspective, developing an understanding and familiarity with the world of selective college admissions.

During her time at Fairfield, she developed a genuine interest in the student side of the process: how students were going about their college searches, and how exciting but stressful this time of life is. In meeting with applicants and their families, she noticed, as well, that students often approached their college search and applications with a lack of perspective that led to missed opportunities. She decided to take her skills, knowledge and awareness of the college admission process to “the other side of the desk” as a college admission counselor.  In 2000, Mary became an Independent Educational Consultant, first joining an established firm, and then setting up her own consulting practice, Spiegel College Planning.

Since that time, Mary has been offering personalized college search and admissions coaching for families, both locally and via Skype with students across the country. She has helped hundreds of students to find the right match for their college choices, supporting them throughout the process.

Mary’s education and professional credentials

Mary graduated Cum Laude with a Fine Arts degree (music concentration) and earned a Master’s Degree in American Studies, both at Fairfield University in CT.

Mary is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consulting Association (IECA) (2001), and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) (2006).  CEPs have achieved the profession’s most rigorous standards; they must be re-certified every five years, validating their ongoing education and professional development. This assures families that they are hiring a vetted and trusted admissions expert. Mary is also a long-standing member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the New England regional ACAC.  All of these memberships require adherence to strict ethical standards and “good practice” codes.

She is committed to maintaining a broad knowledge of the higher education landscape to assure her clients that her counseling adds significant value to their college exploration. This includes attending College Board, NACAC, IECA and other professional conferences and workshops regularly to maintain her expertise in all areas of college counseling.  Examples of recent seminars attended include: how colleges review transcripts; effective essays;  learning disabilities workshops;  the redesigned SAT;  updates on The Common Application; financial aid and changes in the FAFSA; co-operative education and experiential education; the performing arts in the college search; assessing a student’s fit for engineering; guiding the underperforming student; athletic recruiting; and more.

Most importantly, Mary regularly visits and assesses college campuses throughout the US each year. She endeavors to meet with admissions staff, faculty, and students on these visits, to help her guide students to the right match in their college search.

Each year Mary presents college planning classes at libraries, corporations, and community organizations, on topics that include college admissions, athletic recruiting, and the application and essay process.  Many of these workshops are free and open to the public as she is committed to helping all high school students understand their options for higher education.


“Mary, (my son)  loved working with you…thank you.  He thought the whole experience was so relaxing and motivating at the same time…

Your warm home and your warm approach were terrific! 

Thank you! “