Julia Surtshin, MS, CEP
Certified Educational Planner / Independent College Counselor / Founder
Formerly at UCLA, I now provide students and families with individualized college search, application, and college affordability services.
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Julia has devoted her entire career to supporting students pursuing higher education. Her professional experience includes counseling, teaching and university administration at both two- and four-year institutions, including five years as Assistant Director of Student Affairs at UCLA’s Samueli School of Engineering. Her newspaper column, College Corner, was published for 12 years.
In 1995 Julia founded Surtshin College Counseling, now College Ahead, with the goal of helping students and their parents navigate the college search and admission transition with confidence and optimism. In 2010 Julia was awarded the Certified Educational Planner designation. She now sits on the Board of Commissioners of the American Institue of Certified Educational Planners.
As one of only three Certified Educational Planners in the Oregon, Julia provides comprehensive college search and admission services including student assessment, college identification and research, application management, and final decision-making. Her holistic approach engages students as maturing young adults and focuses on having them gain admission to colleges that fit their academic, personal and financial needs and preferences.
College Ahead (formerly Surtshin College Counseling)
December 1995 - present
College Ahead (formerly Surtshin College Counseling) was founded with the mission of helping students and families navigate the college search and admission process with both confidence and optimism. This is done by providing individualized and comprehensive services which:
Organize the process, making it more transparent, less intimidating, and less stressful for both students and parents.
Encourage students to explore a wide range of college options and identify institutions that meet their academic, personal, and financial parameters.
Support students in using college applications as opportunities to highlight their qualifications and fit, thus maximizing their changes of gaining admission.
Utilizing a proven four-step method, all students have gained admission to one of their top three school choices.
Assistant Director of Student Affairs
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering
July 1985 - October 1990
Provided Co-supervised staff providing academic advising and counseling services to 2,000 students: educational planning, graduation certification, academic assistance and some personal counseling. Prepared and managed non-salary expense budget. Assisted with publications development, recruitment, accreditation, and commencement.
Barnard College, Columbia University
1972 - 1975
University of Southern California, School of Education
1976 - 1978
MSEd in College Student Personnel Services. This interdisciplinary program combined counseling and student affairs coursework resulting in a broad understanding of adolescent and young adult development and post-secondary education.