Hanna Stotland’s Biography

Hanna Stotland has been an admission trendsetter since 1997, when she was admitted to Harvard College with a G.E.D.

Hanna flunked out of high school and began working full time on her 18th birthday. After two years working as a museum guide, a freelance caterer, and an Omnimax projectionist, she decided to return to the academic path. She entered Bryn Mawr College, excelled academically, and transferred to Harvard College. There, she joined the Harvard College Office of Admissions as a student guide and began to offer volunteer advice on admissions sites. Before long, families began to seek her professional counsel, and she opened her consulting business.

Following her graduation from Harvard College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Hanna received her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. She completed two federal judicial clerkships and spent several years in law firm practice. Hanna has also worked as an admissions advisor and LSAT instructor for Kaplan, Inc. and Brody Admissions.

Hanna’s unique experience as a former troubled teen who overcame her mistakes gives her unusual sensitivity to the challenges young people face.

Hanna left legal practice in 2008 to become a full-time career and educational counselor. She is based in Chicago, but works with client families nationwide. She enjoys supplementing her counseling work with pro bono work on behalf of underprivileged youth. She is a frequent speaker at high school career days and community events encouraging young people to reach for college.

Hanna is recognized as a leader in the admission counseling field. Her recent speaking engagements include presentations at meetings of the Higher Education Consultants Association, the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and Families Advocating for Campus Equality. In recent years, she has delivered programs to fellow counselors at regional conferences of the National Association for College Admission Counseling in New York, California, New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest.  Hanna also serves as an expert witness in lawsuits concerning college and graduate admission problems.

Hanna’s years of working with young people, as well as her love and enthusiasm for that work, enable her to create a fun and relaxed counseling atmosphere. Her line-by-line critique of application essays helps the student to grow as a writer, expressing a natural, honest point of view.

Hanna views the entire family as the client. She works with each family individually to determine the best way to serve its needs. Some parents want regular updates and direct contact with the counselor; others prefer to place the student in charge of the relationship. Hanna’s goal is always to minimize stress and bring about the best outcome for all members of the family.