Services for Students and Parents/Caregivers
College Admissions & Applications
Finding and getting into the right college can be overwhelming for students and their families/caregivers. Pacific Wayfinder focuses not only on grades and test scores, but also on students’ interests, personal strengths, personalities, and learning styles.
And we remain mindful of the financial philosophy and constraints that each client keeps.
We match each student’s specific needs by:
- Thoroughly studying a student’s records and interviewing their teachers to understand their unique learning profile
- Helping a student explore best-fit college or school options that work within the family’s budget
- Monitoring and supporting their school application process, essays, interviews, and test preparation
"My child’s experience with Thomas truly changed the course of her life. She came to the school needing so much and Thomas was fully present to listen and provide pathways to her success; for that I am eternally grateful."
- Jennifer Ross, parent of a high school sophomore
"Thomas is also attentive to those who may struggle – whether due to neurodiversity and learning challenges, family disruption, or external events such as the current pandemic. We know this firsthand, as he provided us with invaluable support and counsel during a difficult time for our son, then 14, for which we will be forever grateful."
-Amie Bishop, parent, Seattle WA
"Thomas is a big man with a big heart and an unconventional way of seeing things. He appreciates risk-takers and knows how to support them. He is centered in a deep commitment to peace. We will always be grateful to him for taking a chance on our daughter when others would not."
- Charles and Amy Thomas Elder, parents, Chicago
Our goal is to help you navigate the college search and application process based on more than just your grades. We help to pinpoint the kinds of schools that will best support what’s most important to you.
Building your list: Fit and Match
Read the blog by Thomas Weber
Paying for a College Education
Paying for college has gotten a lot harder--and a lot easier. But it is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Someone said shopping for college these days is like shopping for airfares. Don't be scared. A college's sticker price is usually not what you have to pay. I advise you about how to position yourself to get the best deals and share tools to help you be on top of your financial situation. I've also partnered with a financial planner familiar with families' support for their student's education. Click the "Can I afford college?" button to learn more.
Gap Experience Planning and Coordination
Going to college immediately following high school, or continuous study during the college years isn’t for everyone. For many students, a gap experience can provide many lessons in ways that open doors to new interests. Taking time off can be a valuable way to deepen connections to learning by allowing students to build on their interests and find career and academic opportunities outside of a regular curriculum track. And they make for great stories in a future application or interview!
We support experiential learning that takes place during a student’s gap time by:
- Negotiating constructive, financially sound, and personally relevant plans with students and their parents/caregivers
- Helping students find mentors and experiences in pursuit of their learning experience for the year
- Monitoring and supporting students’ progress in their learning experiences
- Counseling on the next steps after a gap experience
"Thomas cares deeply about providing opportunities for a full-spectrum education that help young people become more fully themselves. He embraces new ideas and his ability to notice the humor in life made it a joy to work with him."
-Ruth Hampton, Trustee, Scattergood Friends School
Helping you find meaningful gap experience opportunities that lead to new and practical ways to learn is an important focus of our mission.
Paying for Gap Experiences
You have more options for financing a gap experience than you may realize. I help you review the options so that you can make the best choices for making a gap year financially sound, enhance your chances for admission to a preferred college, and put you on a stronger footing for your eventual career. Click the "How do I pay for my gap experience?" button to learn how a 529 account can fund your gap experiences.
Support and Guidance for Young Artists
As a middle or high school student who loves their creative work, be it a musical instrument, theatrical performance, studio art or graphic storytelling, balancing academics, parents and friends and other extracurriculars can be an ongoing challenge. Working with Rainey Weber, a young professional artist, and her dad Thomas, who walked with her on that journey, is the perfect opportunity to successfully navigate the terrain.
We support creatively-inclined students. We
- Help clarify if the student wants to specialize in a creative discipline or continue dedicated practice while still getting a non-creative college degree
- Tap an extensive knowledge base of summer opportunities, high school and college options,
- Provide plans of support for preparation of a strong portfolio for subsequent creative opportunities
- Be ready listeners to both student and parent(s) on their journeys
Rainey is a professional independent musician and business owner based in Houston, Texas. She has coached students ages 5-20 from around the world as they develop their independent and collaborative musical skills.
Her current career balances performing, private teaching of young violinists and violists, and participating in creating equitable and accessible art and music education for students and adults. Rainey has been a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music School, and the Interlochen Center for Arts Summer Program.
Thomas has provided supportive guidance to his daughter for over 20 years since she began viola studies at 9 years old and has helped her assess school and college options, summer festivals, and graduate programs.