Mark Cruver

Certified Educational Planner / Independent College Counselor / Founder

Capstone Educational Consultants

Mark Cruver is a former college Admissions Director turned college counselor, helping students and families navigate the college journey.

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Latest Knowledge Board posts

Dream School vs. Best Fit
Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Mark Cruver

Mark Cruver, M.Ed. CSA, CEP

With over 20 years of combined service in higher education admissions and private practice, providing individualized career coaching, college financial aid forecasting, academic mapping and student athletic advising, Mark has had the honor of personally consulting with more than 1,000 students and families about their college admissions decisions.

As one of only six Certified Educational Planners in Georgia, Mark also holds a certificate of educational consulting from the University of California, Irvine as well as a master of education in college student affairs from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor of arts from Bryan College. He has since leveraged this unique background to build his private practice,
Capstone Educational Consultants, serving students and their families in their journey to college.

Mark takes students on a journey of both responsibility and reward toward the goal of gaining college admission. Over the years, gaining admission to college has become ever-so complicated. Capstone Educational Consultants helps students and families explore, prepare for and apply to colleges that fit them best academically, socially, athletically and emotionally. Our college counseling services takes the mystery out of the equation, simplifying the process, organizing the many components, resulting in more confidence and more acceptances.

Here Is What Others Are Saying About Mark

Mark provides excellent service as a college consultant. He is very professional in his approach, and related excellent with my son. Based on the good relationship that he developed, he was able to provide good directions based on the analysis that he did upfront. Mark is an excellent choice when your loved ones are facing the important college decision. -Peter

Mark has a natural gift for making others feel comfortable with his areas of expertise. He provided my son with valuable insights as he navigated college options which are the best fit for his academic aspirations, career goals and personal interests. Mark is an excellent communicator by going the second mile to understand his client’s, needs, hopes and dreams. His honesty, solid work ethic, humility, compassion and respect for others are key contributors to his success. -Brian


Founder / Independent Educational Consultant / Certified Educational Planner

Capstone Educational Consultants
December 2012 - present

Capstone Educational Consultants became an American dream for me and my love for assisting students in capturing a vision for their own dreams and making them come true!  After my extensive work in college admissions where I was able to meet personally with thousands of students, it was an easy step into becoming an independent college counselor.  Capstone has grown since it's inception and remains the only certified college counseling practice located on the southern half of Atlanta.


University of California, Irvine

2012 - 2014

Independent Educational Consultant Certificate

Azusa Pacific University

Master's Degree
1997 - 2000

Masters of Education in College Student Affairs

Bryan College

Bachelor's Degree
1988 - 1992

Bachelor of Arts



Certified Educational Planner

American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (539)
November 2016 - November 2021

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certified Practitioner

CPP, Inc.
November 2014 - present

Strong Interest Inventory Certified Practitioner

CPP, Inc.
October 2013 - present


Advising the College-Bound Student Athlete

College Recruiting Group (091817)
10/4/2018 9:31:51 PM,
Mark Cruver replied:

As a former Admissions Director, I can say the request for the submission of a graded paper has less to do with the grade itself and more to do with the validation of an authentic work by the student.  It would confirm a genuine sample of written work.  As a result, the need to discuss the grading between admissions and the teacher is irrelevant and unnecessary. 

Mark Cruver

4/18/2018 11:19:00 AM,
Mark Cruver replied:

According to the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners, CEP’s “represent the highest in professional standards, demonstrate extensive knowledge and experience in the field of educational planning and provide the broadest and most informed educational choices to students.”

To better understand the degree of professional significance of the CEP designation, I often explain the designation of Certified Educational Consultant as being much like that of a CPA as it relates to the world of accountants.

I am one of only seven (7) Certified Educational Planners in the state of Georgia serving college-bound students.  

To learn more about what to expect from hiring a Certified Educational Planner, go to the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners website.  There you will have the opportunity to find one nearest to your location and learn more about the services they offer.  

In my college resume, should I include links to any video clips?

Will the college admissions officers click on links on my resume?    

10/5/2017 2:05:53 PM,
Mark Cruver replied:

There was a period of time in recent years where the notion of developing an actual resume for college was considered overkill.  In response, many students were detailing their involvement and achievements through a more simplified "brag-sheet" of sorts.  But, like everything great in the 70's and 80's, the resume is coming back!

With over 9 million hits on the term "college resume" when searching Google, it is apparent something is happening in customizing and detailing your 1-2 page personal profile sheet.

The college resume is uniquely you!  From the name in the header to the final entry, it is many parts of your life that demonstrate the whole of you in experience and accomplishment.  It's key and critical in assisting in telling your story and maximizing opportunities to do so is equally critical.

As little as ten years ago, resumes, moreso for the workplace, were pretty standard.  Very little graphics, if any at all, with organized lines of information delivered in a typically one-page fashion so as not to bore the viewer, offering you better success in being recognized and considered.  But with today's technology and need for visual spice, the resume is taking a turn.  It's need for being catchy is almost a requirement, but having it strike a pleasant balance between catchy and professional is one with which many students wrestle.

As a minimum, many new resumes include a single photo to allow the reader to connect -- put a face with a name so-to-speak.  Further, in the world of creating PDF documents, the resume can now hold LIVE links allowing the reader to go places now, beyond the scope of the one-page presentation and discover more flavor about your life, your world, your passion.  My only word of caution here is to make sure if you are linking to videos, to make certain they are short and to the point.

Remember, the resume is all about YOU -- not organizations, foundations or programs -- so be sure if the reader clicks a link, they are learning more about what makes you uniquely YOU!

7/20/2017 6:06:39 PM,
Mark Cruver replied:
Taking a year off from school can seem like a great idea for the most part.  But before you decide to wait another year to apply to college, there are several critical questions to ask yourself first. 

  1. Do I have a plan during this "gap year?"  --  Without a plan for this year between high school and college, it is likely going to go against you in the long run! 
  2. Will this gap year have purpose and contribute to my future? -- The gap year can include a prescribed experience, an immersion, or even a job or internship.  It should be a year with a purpose!
  3. Am I able to articulate my intentions for taking a gap year?  --  Clear intent is important!  Do you intend on participating in a residential internship, experience wilderness education, immerse yourself into the world of music or take on local work to support your family?  These and many more are excellent choices, so long as you are able to articulate your intention.
  4. When do I need to decide on what I'm doing for a gap year and who needs to know?  --  It's important to begin thinking as early in your high school years as possible about whether or not a gap year is right for you.  In most, if not all cases, students will apply for admissions at the beginning of their senior year, clearly communicating with the admissions office, through their application, of their intent to have a gap year experience.  Communicating your plan, purpose and intent will provide the insight necessary in the office of admissions to move forward.  In the event you are accepted, your decision day remains the same as everyone else's (May 1) and will likely include an enrollment deposit too.  The only difference between you and your fellow classmates is your first day on the college campus will be the following year after successfully completing the gap year experience.