Contact us at 805.618.2340

We know college admissions.

College Specific is the premier college consultation firm in Santa Barbara, California. We are a team of expert college admissions counselors who provide private guidance to students and families from all over the world.

In addition to private meetings with students and families, College Specific counselors conduct live college admissions workshops and presentations.

Director Cassie Nichols

A native of Santa Barbara, Cassie Nichols earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Princeton University. At Princeton, she was an NCAA All-American and Academic All-American athlete, as well as captain of the Princeton women’s water polo team.

After graduating from Princeton, Cassie settled in New Haven, Connecticut and conducted educational research at Yale University. At Yale, Cassie researched leadership in the college environment and helped coordinate educational studies on college campuses throughout the country.

Cassie later accepted a faculty position at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, where she taught American and World Literature to high school juniors and seniors. It was at Choate that Cassie began teaching workshops on the college application essay.

Cassie returned to Santa Barbara to earn a Master of Arts degree in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, Cassie taught college freshman composition courses for UCSB’s Writing Program and conducted extensive research on the teaching of writing and literature. She also supervised and facilitated UCSB’s student teachers as they prepared their Masters of Education theses.

In 2010, Cassie founded College Specific in response to the need for guidance and reassurance on the college admissions process, and to help students create a clear and sustainable path to the college of their choice. In addition to providing individual guidance to families, Cassie publishes articles, hosts The College Specific Podcast, and conducts college admissions workshops and presentations. She is the author of the popular book, The College Essay Trap, which helps students avoid the most common pitfalls of the college application essay.

To read a statement from Cassie, click here.


Head Counselor Stacey Milton

Stacey recently landed in California from Boston, MA. She grew up in a sleepy town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she was a competitive gymnast and aspiring writer. Inspired by her love of feature writing (and in small part by the movie Almost Famous), Stacey attended Boston University, where she studied print journalism and English literature, earning her bachelor’s degree from BU’s College of Communication in 2005. While at BU, Stacey wrote for the university’s independent newspaper, The Daily Free Press and was an editorial assistant for BU’s alumni magazine.

Soon after graduating, Stacey joined the Board of Admissions as an Assistant Director.  She evaluated applications for first-year and transfer students to BU’s nine undergraduate colleges, including candidates for scholarship and honors programs. For several years, Stacey coordinated the evaluation of all homeschooled applicants. In 2008, she became a Senior Assistant Director and joined the marketing and communications team.

As the admissions rep for PA, she worked closely with college counselors and high schools, and was invited to present at several school-sponsored college fairs and presentations. She has led workshops on topics like assembling a college list, the role of legacy in college admissions, essay writing and understanding enrollment strategies.

Stacey shares College Specific’s philosophy of the college counseling process: minimize stress and provide educated guidance.  After nearly a decade reading in the admissions process, Stacey is eager to help parents and students approach the application process in a thoughtful and well-prepared manner.