Our Approach

In the Chicago high school entrance process, oftentimes an “admissions rubric” based on grades and test scores will determine acceptance to the most competitive schools. Many well known colleges, however, require a “holistic” process that can deny a “perfect scoring” student entrance. Instead, students need to show what they will bring to a campus community and what they will leave behind.

We at College Search Guidance understand that going to college is a huge investment, financially and emotionally. We are also awed by how much introspection and growth can be gained from a deliberate and thoughtful college search.

With their incredibly busy schedules, most high schoolers have yet to pause and think about WHAT they want to get out of college and WHY they want to go. However, the most successful applicants are able to convey to their prospective universities their reasons for choosing that campus. We at College Search Guidance take pride in helping our students both discover themselves and channel their interests into successful college searches. Instead of “box checking” to get into XYZ school, we help students focus on what they enjoy and clearly conveying that passion to prospective schools that will be a great fit.

Meet the Team

Grace Lee Sawin

As a self-described “Tiger Mom Lite”, Grace has always felt that the most important role of a parent is to provide the best possible education for her children by putting in the time and research required to successfully make that happen. Little did she know HOW MUCH time and research she would have to do in order to get her daughters into a sought-after private Montessori for preschool, then into a well-regarded public gifted elementary program followed by a top selective enrollment high school and an Ivy League university.  

Throughout the years, Grace has seen the school choice landscape change in Chicago with more options for all types of students.  She thrives on uncovering these nuggets of wisdom and “hidden” info that others simply don’t have time to uncover.  She is excited to share that info with you as she firmly believes that there is a great school fit for every student, but it takes time to “know what you don’t know”.

Grace grew up attending public schools in suburban Washington, DC. She studied architecture at Cornell University and moved to Chicago in the mid-90’s. As she and her husband have raised their two daughters in the city, she still finds herself delving deeper and enjoying her quest to uncover hidden gems and enrichment opportunities for Chicago families. Grace is an associate member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) and a volunteer ScholarMatch and Matchlighters College Coach.

Ginger Hecht

After moving from Europe back to Chicago with her first child in tow, Ginger did not realize how difficult it was to navigate the pathways of the Chicago school system.  The hours it took to settle in from an international move and also start to look for schools was a bit overwhelming.  After much research, her sons were accepted into a wonderful private school on the North Side and continued to both private and selective enrollment high schools. Her older son graduated from an east coast college and her younger son attends one in the midwest.

Growing up in suburban Chicago and attending a small private college, she knows what a good education should look like and has strived to find the same for her boys.   With a background in marketing, fundraising and sales, and a wide network contacts, Ginger brings her breadth of experiences to understanding the complex world of school admissions.

College Search Guidance is a subsidiary of Chicago School GPS, a school search company originally started by 3 Chicago moms. Read more about Chicago School GPS here.