about Us

Steve Burleigh consults with families across the country as they confront the challenges facing the college bound student.  His services offer confidential one-on-one counseling in the area of college preparation and application with comprehensive follow through. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and the Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA.  He is also an instructor in the  UCLA Extension College Counseling Certificate Program.   He is owner of the Los Angeles independent college counseling firm College Pathways and is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Western Association of College Admission Counselors (WACAC). As an frequent participant in the WACAC California Legislative Conference in Sacramento he works with fellow counselors and college admission officers to affect positive changes in local and statewide educational issues including policies and funding. 

He is committed to helping expand access to higher education and is a frequent volunteer at such programs as College Summit, StepUp Women’s Network, and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Summer College Boot Camp. Prior to founding College Pathways he was an award winning film and television producer. He is the recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award for Outstanding Television Programming, the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie, and producer of a Humanitas Award winning film. His films have been official selections at several prestigious film festivals including Sundance (Official Opening Night Film), Tribeca, Chicago, Seattle, Nantucket, Hamptons, San Francisco, and Montreal First People’s Film Festival. He recently combined his counseling and film backgrounds to create a series of informational videos on college transition issues, the first of which is Admission Zen: The Stress Free Path to Getting Into College.

Financial Aid Expert – Bill Smith worked with colleges starting in 2007 to build online financial aid calculators. His original customers were selective colleges with large endowments who wanted to show families that need-based aid could reduce the sticker price of college. Later colleges who award merit aid based on academic achievement began asking for calculators to show prospective students that they too could be affordable. As Bill worked with more colleges he became an expert at calculating need: determining the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) using both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile methodologies. He also became an expert in “packaging,” the process colleges use to determine how much merit and need based aid to award, and the mix of gift aid, loans, and work-study. Bill’s early work made him the “go-to” resource when the federal government mandated that all colleges post online financial aid calculators in 2011, which are now called Net Price Calculators. 

He authored and co-authored two definitive white papers on NPCs, and has spoken on financial aid issues at forums sponsored by the College Board, admissions and financial aid professional associations, and high schools.  Now Bill brings his financial aid expertise to help prospective college students and their families.  He helps them estimate how much colleges are likely to charge them based on their unique academic and economic profile, how to select colleges where they may qualify for aid, and how to understand and manage the cost of college.  Bill’s BA is from Williams College and he has an MBA from Northwestern University.  

Career & Assessment Expert – Emily Pennington received her M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. She has worked as a Career Counselor at Azusa Pacific University, the University of La Verne, and Loyola Marymount University, focusing on faculty collaboration, experiential learning, and developing student employees. She has recently grown her passion for teaching as an instructor of an undergraduate Career Development course, and now works with high school students to challenge and support them in their search for the right college, major, and career. Her specialties include career counseling, assessment interpretation, assessment evaluation, and major selection. She is an expert in career assessments, including MBTI, Strong Interest Inventory, and StrengthsQuest. “I believe that career counseling is holistic in nature and therefore take a long-term and thorough approach in helping students.”